Public Enemy Number 1 – Rising Damp…. Or is it?

 Dampness in you home is not always due to rising damp.

Got dampness in your home? There are a few issues that cause damp to your property.

Did you know that 75% of houses that have had a chemical dampness proof course did not actually need one?

Why have people had work done to their property if they did not actually need it, i hear you ask.

Well unfortunately, the answer is YOU, in two parts:

Dampness Part 1

We know that you may not have ever encountered this problem, so you have no idea what it is – so why are you to blame?

Around 80% of the calls and enquiries that we receive are clients that have already diagnosed the problem.

For example, below are typical calls from clients contacting our company.

Hello, I was wanting a survey on my property as I have rising damp”… “Hi, I have a dampness problem and I think it is rising damp”…

When calling the company, you have already ‘diagnosed’ the problem.

You believe that you have rising damp, so when someone from a company that you have contacted tells you that you have rising damp, you are already a believer.

To stop this from happening, it would probably be better to say something like this:

Hello, I would like a surveyor to carry out a survey on our property as we have a damp issue that we need investigating”…

This brings us onto the second part of the answer.

Dampness Part 2

So why are you potentially to blame here?

Well, it depends on who you get to carry out the survey.

Treatment for rising damp is generally the top of the Christmas tree (a larger job for a remedial company), due to the treatments involved being expensive and the potential area that the work involves.

Therefore, if you are telling someone that you have rising damp then they do not have to convince you, they just have to work out the cost!

Within the damp proofing industry, it is not regulated like the industry for electricians or gas engineers, and there are many damp proof course companies out there.

Often damp proof companies are sole traders, the surveyor becomes the dampness technician, plasterer and then onto the person who sends the invoice.

They are trying to cover ‘all bases’. We are not saying that most of these companies you should never use, as many are experts and are good companies to use.  It is the companies that may have actually decided to move into lucrative damp treatments after being a plasterer for many years – They buy a dampness meter and then they have become a dampness surveyor!

It’s not just about buying a meter or saying you are now a dampness surveyor, it is about knowledge, training, the various types of damp and how to accurately perform a dampness survey.

This means that selecting the correct company to carry out the initial dampness survey is essential.

So how do you select a damp proof course company?

Do not base your decision on just the size of their advert in the phone directory or if they use an internet marketing campaign.

Ensure to research the company that you have chosen to get a survey from and ask these questions.

Are they in any trade organisations?

Such as Property Care Association or Federation of Master Builders.

Organisations like these will assist in any disputes and also membership is obtained when they reach specific goals. Furthermore, they may be connected to the governments Trustmark Scheme, this was set up to reduce the amount of unnecessary work and to protect the homeowner.

Does the company that you are potentially using provide insured warranties for the work?

This is important in two parts:

Part 1 – an external body has based the standard of work that the company conducts and therefore are willing to insure it.

Part 2 – should the company cease trading whilst you have a warranty, then you can contact the insurance company who will appoint another verified contractor to honour the work under the warranty.

Does the company have any recommendations?

Always check if they have any recommendations, as you want to know what other customers are saying about their experience with this company. There are companies like Checkatrade and Which? that can help you find reviews and recommended companies – Although this market is starting to have wide selection now.

When you have selected the company, ask them to provide you with local people who will pass you recommendations.

By researching the company and using the questions above it could help you avoid unnecessary work or work that may not properly solve the problem!

We hope that this post helps you on the right path to choose who to contact when you have a damp problem.

If you have a dampness problem and would like to know more about it then simply get in touch.

Ways to reduce condensation

Reduce Condensation – Free Advice from Cannon Contractors

Here are our tips to reduce condensation in your home …

Well we have finally turned the clocks back and turned the corner in to the winter period. The dark nights are upon us and the weather starts to change as it gets colder and colder. Therefore, as the temperature drops outside, the temperature increases inside. No longer are the bedroom windows open through the night, they are often firmly shut. This creates an issue to many properties throughout the United Kingdom. In fact reduction in ventilation increases the internal Relative Humidity within the property.

As the temperature difference increases significantly between the outside and the inside, there is a greater risk of the warm air being attracted to the external surfaces and windows, allowing the warm air to condense on them. Condensation is probably the most common form of dampness to effect your property and can cause damp patches, wallpaper to peel and moisture to collect on your windows.  If left untreated, the condensation can create mould growth which can be potentially harmful and lead to serious health issues and breathing difficulties.

So what can you do to reduce condensation in your property?

If you constantly have to wipe condensation off of your windows and have a dehumidifier running for lengthy periods of time then you may want to think about whole house ventilation as a permanent solution to reduce condensation and to improve the air quality indoors for your tenants or family.

If you are looking for a short term fix rather than a permanent solution, then here are our suggestions to reduce condensation levels in your property:

  • When cooking, ensure that you cover your pans with a lid to reduce moisture. If you have a canopy extractor fan, ensure that you have clean filters (charcoal filters should be replaced every 3-4 months).  If needed, also ensure that you have opened a window. Don’t turn off the extractor fan or close the window as soon as you finish cooking – leave it open for 15-20 minutes afterwards to clear the air.

 

  • Similar to when cooking in the kitchen, when having a bath or shower turn on an extractor fan or open a window to get rid of the steam. This will help to reduce condensation that appears on your bathroom windows, but won’t eliminate the problem.

 

  • Where possible, try not to dry clothes on your radiators. If you have no choice but to dry clothes inside we would always advise that you ventilate these rooms.

 

  • If you have a washing machine or tumble dryer in your property, ensure that it is vented correctly.

 

  • Double glazing, loft insulation and draft proofing will help to reduce the amount of heat that is lost from a property. Installing insulation will help to keep the temperature of the surfaces inside your property high.

 

  • Do not use Portable gas bottles and paraffin heaters as they  produce a lot of moisture, along with a lot of toxic fumes. Not only is this form of heat causing excess condensation in your property, it is also a health and safety hazard.

 

  • When cooking, having a bath or a shower or boiling a kettle, keep the doors to those areas closed. This will stop moisture escaping to other rooms.

 

  • Many families have house pets and plants that produce moisture. Cover fish tanks and if you are suffering from excess condensation look to move your plants outdoors.

 

  • Try not to jam pack bedroom wardrobes or kitchen cupboards. Doing this will reduce the ventilation and trap warm air which will allow mould to develop.

 

  • Make sure that your furniture is at least 50mm away from the surrounding walls so that air can move around the property. Try and position furniture onto internal wall instead of the colder external walls.

 

  • We all have a room that we spend a lot of time in. Why not open the window slightly to improve the ventilation in the room? Breathing is a major cause of condensation, so this will help to improve the ventilation in your property.

 

  • Have a constant amount of heating in your property rather than nothing will improve the internal temperature. This will avoid major peak or troughs. Try to couple this with turning the heating on full when you walk into your home.

 

  • If you don’t have an extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen then condensation can occur. Make sure that you wipe down the surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen after you’ve bathed or cooked.  The moisture that is on the tiles or surfaces will quickly turn to mould which is difficult to completely remove.

 

  • Adequate ventilation is essential to allow the moisture to escape from a property before it turns into condensation. Installing a humidistat fan to the kitchen and bathroom can improve the humidity levels and reduce condensation.

Not sure what type of damp problem you have? Could it be rising damp, condensation or penetrating damp? Why not contact us to carry out a free, no obligation home survey?  Let one of our fully trained surveyors will undertake a survey. This will give you all the help and advice that you need.

Cannon – offering a Professional and Polite service