If you’ve ever suffered from damp in your home, you’ll know what a nuisance it can be – and how tough it can be to get rid of it. Surveys have revealed that 6% of housing in the UK is blighted with damp problems.
A study by the charity Shelter discovered an estimated 23 million households in Britain had experienced mould due to damp in at least one room. Tenants appeared to have the biggest problems, with 33% of respondents reporting their home was damp and 41% having mould as a result.
Damp homes are not only cold and uncomfortable, they can also be bad for your health. Children who live in damp, mouldy conditions are up to three times more prone to the symptoms of asthma than children who live in dry homes. Living in a damp property can affect your mood and have a negative impact on both your emotional and physical wellbeing.
There are various methods used to remove damp in the home, the most common of which is damp proofing – a process carried out by professionals. Damp proofing products can include damp proof course or cream to treat your property for rising damp, membrane, paint, internal waterproofing and external water repellents.
If the mould is caused by contaminated water or sewage, don’t try to remove it yourself. Call in the professionals instead. If the mould isn’t severe and it’s created by condensation, it is possible to remove it yourself, as long as you take safety precautions. The NHS advises wearing rubber gloves, safety goggles and a mask over your nose and mouth to prevent the inhalation of spores.
Open the windows in the room containing the mould, but leave the door shut to stop spores from floating into other areas of your home. Bag up any soft furnishings, soft toys or clothes that are mouldy. Have the clothes dry-cleaned and the soft furnishings professionally cleaned. Pop the soft toys in the washing machine on a hot wash.
Clean away the mould using a bucket of warm water containing a mild detergent. Dip a cloth in the soapy water and wipe the mould off carefully. When you’ve finished, dry the wall as much as possible with a different cloth. Put the cloths in a plastic bag and throw them away afterwards. Then take steps to stop more mould from forming in future.
The best way to deal with damp in your home is to take preventative measures, such as using an air conditioning system. Research shows that air conditioning can help clean the air and prevent damp from building up. The AC system works by reducing moisture, as it converts warm air into cool air.
The warmer the air, the more moisture it holds. For example, at -0.40ºC, the air can hold up to 0.2% water vapour, while at 30ºC, the same volume of air holds up to 4% water vapour. The amount of water vapour in the air in relation to its temperature is called relative humidity. We start to feel uncomfortable in warm and sticky air, when the humidity level reaches around 80%.
The air can become saturated when water vapour evaporates and its capacity to hold moisture is reduced. When the air has cooled beyond the maximum saturation point, the air expels water in the form of minute droplets. This is known as the dew point.
This effect is visible each morning when warm air touches the cold grass, forming dew. In your home, the effect is seen when the warm air cools by touching a colder surface like the window pane.
How air con works
Most AC systems use a vapour compression cycle to cool buildings. A liquid refrigerant absorbs the heat as it circulates around the building. The liquid refrigerant is passed through an evaporator coil and turns into a gas. Any moisture condenses on the surface of the coil and is collected in the condensate pan. It is removed from the atmosphere, creating a more comfortable environment.
The AC system can get rid of damp and stop it from returning if it’s caused by condensation forming on the windows and outside walls. Although removing water from the air isn’t the primary purpose of air conditioning, by reducing humidity levels it can prevent condensation from forming – and thus help to prevent damp.
Gree UK has more than 25 years’ experience in manufacturing quality air conditioning products for residential properties and the industrial sector. Contact us on 020 3376 3533 for further details of our products and services.