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Triassic

Friends Damp Flat

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Visited a friend last night in her new flat. All the walls have a slight hint of mildew. It appears fairly airtight, could it be cured by improving ventilation!?

 

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usually at least Improved, yes.

 

But also interrogate lifestyle, humidity etc ... how is washing dried etc.

 

And before that do the usual watertight visual checks on the structure (binoculars). Roof, gutters, drainpipes, running Down outside walls etc.

 

F

 

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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She had a small amount of cloths airing in the flat, I think the main problem is the fact it’s an open plan studio style flat, kitchen and living room all one space. The damp appears as a light dusting all over the cathedral ceiling, not associated with a gutter or a slipped slate. 

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When installing Radbots for trials we have a "damp risks" assessment with such questions as "do you open the window or use a ducted-to-outside extractor" when cooking and bathing/showering, do you dry clothes inside, do you air rooms at all, etc.

 

I'll note that MOST people that I survey (and me too, BTW) are doing at least one problematic thing, eg leaving the bathroom door open after showering/bathing and the kitchen door open while cooking, and other ventilation issues.

 

I think it is fair to say that social landlords report that "damp" complaints from tenants are often ventilation and condensation issues, many of which could be mitigated by behaviour changes.

 

Maybe a quick fix/test would be to rent/borrow a dehumidifier for a few weeks and see how much that improved things, and how much moisture it captures.

 

Rgds

 

Damon

Edited by DamonHD

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21 minutes ago, Triassic said:

She had a small amount of cloths airing in the flat, I think the main problem is the fact it’s an open plan studio style flat, kitchen and living room all one space. The damp appears as a light dusting all over the cathedral ceiling, not associated with a gutter or a slipped slate. 

 

Would something to just improve the circulation make a difference?

 

Not sure what such a device would be.

 

Tempted to say get a £10 min/max humidity + temp meter and get her to see what the levels are at various points.

 

https://www.i-sells.co.uk/healthy-living-hygromoter-dial-with-comfort-level-indication-and-thermometer?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIz8_Q5PW85wIVirHtCh0VOwsVEAQYBiABEgJj_PD_BwE

Edited by Ferdinand

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52 minutes ago, Triassic said:

She had a small amount of cloths airing in the flat, I think the main problem is the fact it’s an open plan studio style flat, kitchen and living room all one space. The damp appears as a light dusting all over the cathedral ceiling, not associated with a gutter or a slipped slate. 

How well is she heating the place? Does she open windows? Even in the winter I have always liked to freshen up the air in the house and I think it pays dividends.

 

We dry a lot on a clothes horse but our house is warm due to the near 24/7 wood burner. The RH in our house is about 34% at the moment and we dried 2 full loads of washing last night. I do however see this in our loft sometimes, it is fully insulated and lined, carpeted and what not but it is still just used like a typical loft, i.e. to chuck stuff into to "clear it away" so it has not been heated for about 5 years, result is small areas of mildew and a slightly damp feeling to the walls. Goes away in the summer certainly and it can be brushed off easily enough. I do plan to bring the room into use this year so heating it up will help. 


So if she dries a lot of clothes and cooks a fair bit generating steam from pots etc. then I think she needs to apply more heat, ventilate better (even open a window when cooking etc. dry clothes near an open window) or possibly think about drying clothes slightly differently - laundry room etc if available? 

 

Ask her if she sees much condensation on the windows, particularly if they are double glazed - that would possibly indicate she is not heating the place quite enough to deal with the moisture. 

 

I once read somewhere someone commenting that damp tends to be more prevalent in properties of the less wealthy and I think that is very true because generally when you hear of damp issues it is usually in lower quality housing stock that is not heated as well obviously due to cost. However, the same can also be said of those who do their bit for the environment and turn the heating down and wear a nice jumper, even a house with a water ingress problem can be perfectly fine (except directly at the damp source) if adequate heat is applied.

 

Students can have bad habits that cause damp, we had new student accommodation we were involved in, brand new build and the heating was metered hot water, so students were not heating their rooms well to save money and they were hanging clothes to dry over everything in their rooms instead of paying to use the tumbers in the laundry room. Result in some areas was a damp problem which was initially thought to be a building defect, transpired it was money saving practises or rather cash strapped students dictating necessity - the pub was busy though!

 

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1 hour ago, DamonHD said:

I think it is fair to say that social landlords report that "damp" complaints from tenants are often ventilation and condensation issues, many of which could be mitigated by behaviour changes.

Indeed, or having enough money to heat their properties!

 

There is also the issue with people thinking, "I am paying good money to heat my home so why would I open a window?" It is just mad in their opinion, but often heat and ventilation can, as you will know, create an healthier, nicer environment within a building. 

 

I think if people were more aware of their habits and behaviour they could save a lot of issues in their house. I am very aware of damp creators, we don't have any damp issues (as far as I know!) and I adopt good practises in my daily life to keep it this way, we are very fortunate to be able to afford to heat our house well but cooking (old kitchen about to be demolished) doesn't extract externally and I love to cook, so in the kitchen I always open the window and the difference is windows with condensation all over them, or hardly any when open. I also tend to open the bathroom window all year round before a shower or immediately after and close the doors to the rest of the house. However, I will have little 1 room MVHRs going in this summer to deal with the bathrooms.

 

 

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I would suggest not heating and ventilating at the same time, but temporarily ventilating to air a room (but not to suck excessive heat out of its thermal capacity, eg plasterboard) with the heating off while generating humidity, is reasonably acheiveable.

 

Rgds

 

Damon

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