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Damp or Condensation

Mon 16 September 2013

A regular query we receive from our large rented property portfolio tenants and where we act as long leasehold and managers are issues concerning damp.


In my experience in the majority of instances, modern lifestyle and living has vastly increased the amount of humidity in the atmosphere within the ordinary domestic dwelling, to the point where condensation is the most common cause of visible damp within property.

The amount of moisture that the air can hold doubles with every five degrees increase in temperature (Celsius), so well heated properties virtually hermetically sealed rooms with double glazing, lack of draughts. The average property has become less well ventilated than it used to be ensuring that the conditions for condensation taking place on inner surfaces of the coldest parts of properties i.e. windows and walls, can give the impression of a house suffering terribly from damp.

The key areas that are normally affected with the presence of black spot mould, which is commonly associated with damp/condensation are still areas of air in rooms i.e. behind wardrobes, bed head boards, where the external wall surfaces predominantly being cooler than the internal wall surfaces, and also the corners of first floor bedrooms at the junction of the external walls and the ceiling enabling condensation to happen.

So, where I am requested to investigate damp or condensation, typically the visit will start perhaps with what might be considered to be more of a lifestyle questionnaire than use of a damp meter.  How many adults occupy the space? How often is the washing machine being used? How many showers per day? And above all, are the windows being left open, are there appropriate mechanical extraction vents and, in the majority of cases, some information as to how the conditions arise. Where the parties living at the property are prepared to change there lifestyle i.e. leaving windows on the ventilator setting, using low constant background heating to stop the peaks and troughs of warm room temperatures followed by cooler room temperatures and then, obviously, the condensation taking place at the due point on the cold surface, the cycle creating the issue can be altered and the damp miraculously disappear.

Real damp, however, will result from either leakages above ground level or from ingress of damp from below.  Regular cleaning of gutters, checking of flashings, inspection of roof voids for sight of daylight indicating damage to roof, just a visible looking over of the external surface of a building can quite often easily identify the cause of genuine damp on the inside i.e. overflow pipes from leaky ball-cocks, quite often un-noticed but easily sorted problems when we are considering damp from either above or below ground.

Here, at both Phipps & Pritchard and McCartneys, we have a wealth of experience and experts available to help with the diagnosis of such issues.

So, as with so many things in life, quite often a simple lifestyle change will sort out the average ordinary ailment!

Chris Rees MRICS DEA
Phipps & Pritchard with McCartneys LLP
Office Telephone Number 01562 822244
Mobile Number 07970 747433 

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