Damp in your home can lead to many problems.
The embarrassment of dark patches on walls and furnishings.
That ever present musky smell of mildew.
The bitterly cold feeling we always associate with mould.
Unpleasant as all those are the real dangers of damp are frequently misunderstood or overlooked.
Most people are unaware just how serious the problems associated with a damp home can actually become.
In this short article, we will explain exactly what occurs when damp invades your house.
Damage To Property-Damp and Rot
Structural damp is best described as moisture that has got in to the very fabric of a building.
The causes can be many and varied but we will discuss that further in an additional post. The outcome can be really serious. The longer it is left untreated , the more difficult and expensive it becomes to fix.
Damp can cause timbers , supports and flooring to rot. This could easily result in a house becoming unsafe to occupy.
Electrical issues, whilst causing inconvenience can lead to both electrocution and fire.
Mortar and plaster may become completely unfit for purpose, leaving supporting walls weak and vulnerable to cracks and collapse.
Whilst all these problems could end in disastrous consequences, the most common results are expense, inconvenience and loss of value of their home.
Damage To Health-Damp and Illness
Mould in your home can be a major health issue. Infestations of toxic black mould are dangerous and life threatening.
The health damage after prolonged exposure to black mould includes a wide range of different problems.
Toxic black mould, or Stachybotrys chartarum given its scientific name, produces spores as it feeds on organic material. Typical breeding grounds are carpets, wood, soft furnishings and dry wall.
The toxicity of these spores is constant, but some people are more susceptible to an allergic reaction than others.
The most common symptoms associated with exposure to black mould are those relating to respiratory problems.
The spores can greatly reduce the air quality in a house and these in turn are inhaled.
Chronic coughing ( a persistent cough that won’t go away), sneezing, irritation both in and around the eyes, inflamed mucus membranes of the nose and throat, rashes, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches are all known to be the most common and likely symptoms of exposure to black mould spores.
For those people who have an allergic episode after inhaling mould spores, the resulting complications can be more severe.
The symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and bleeding in both the lungs and nose. Exposure to the spores over a prolonged period of time, can cause damage to the fine capillaries contained within the lungs. This may cause an internal hemorrhage. Bleeds of this nature can be potentially fatal.
In addition, the mould produced as a result of damp is frequently associated with asthma and eczema.
Research in France produced results that showed that exposure to black mould spores, was more likely than dust mites and cat hair to trigger life threatening, severe asthma attacks.
Damage to Pets Health-Damp and Despair
Black mould toxicity in pets can often be quite slow to develop and difficult to spot.
It affects pets that live in homes where there is a substantial amount of black mould.
Exposure over a mid to long term, results in your pet inhaling large quantities of the mould spores .
As with humans, this can lead to can lead to a range of respiratory and allergic reactions. This includes a persistent cough, noisy or laboured breathing, red and itchy eyes and a general reduction in enthusiasm for exercise.
Over longer term exposure, the mould will actually start to weaken your pets immune system. This will leave them much more susceptible to other illnesses and problems. It will also make it considerably more difficult for them to recover.
As with humans, long term exposure could allow the spores to actually weaken the capillaries within the lungs of your pet. The results are the same. Eventual hemorrhage and internal bleeding. Ultimately this could prove fatal, leading to the pets lungs filling with blood.
What is certain is that mould growing on damp, can dramatically reduce the quality of your pets life.
They become lethargic, go off their food, stop enjoying walks and exercise, get ill more often and recover slower.
As discussed, in the worst cases it can ultimately lead to their death.
Damage to Your Pocket-Damp and Fuel Bills
Many families dread the onset of Autumn and Winter and rising costs of their heating bills.
Damp on internal walls is frequently the result of cold spots or areas where the integrity of the cavity has been bridged.
These cold and damp patches cant always be detected in their early stages without the assistance of specialist equipment such as moisture detectors and thermal imagery cameras.
As a result, homes could have been losing heat for years leading to increased fuel bills stretching back decades.
The management of internal temperatures often becomes more and more tricky.
Central heating may have to be left on all day, even if nobody is home.
Additional heaters may have to be placed in the dampest rooms, just to ensure that they are habitable.
In some cases, people may also need to purchase and run dehumidifiers to help control the levels of moisture.
All of the above lead to one common factor…..escalating fuel bills.
The elderly can be particularly susceptible to the effects of damp as they worry about how they will be able to pay their bills, so are reluctant to take the measures necessary to control the temperatures in their home.
The people who are the most vulnerable to the health damage of damp and mould are ironically, those people in our society who are frequently the least likely to be able to afford to do anything to prevent it.
What To Do About Damp
If you suspect that any of the issues in this article are affecting you and your home then there are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce the risks.
Identify the Cause of Damp
Unless the cause is blatantly obvious, such as leaking gutters, obstructed ventilation blocks or missing/damaged damp course,then it may be necessary to call upon the services of an expert.
Many companies and surveyors offer specialist services relating to these problems. Rentokil offer a full range of damp related treatments and advice can be found on the link provided.
In addition, we at CRISAS will happily find and negotiate a sensible price with a competent surveyor, on your behalf.
The following link provides some simple advice regarding the removal of mould and mildew.
Please remember to cover your mouth and nose with a safety mask, wear protective gloves and keep the affected room ventilated.
When controlling damp, remember that you are only really treating the symptoms thus not addressing the real issue. Find and solve the cause or the damp will return!
In the past, it has been quite popular for people to buy dehumidifiers to help control moisture levels in their homes.
Whilst effective, this equipment can be bulky, noisy and expensive to run.
Recent technology has introduced to us the more modern FAR infrared panel heaters.
Whilst being healthier, greener and less costly to live with,they also come in a range of unobtrusive designs. They operate silently and also provide an additional source of warmth.
Further information can be found at the following link How FAR infrared works
As we have learned from this brief article, the dangers of damp and mould affect our homes, our pockets, our families and even our pets in many ways.
Ignoring damp is a mistake.
It is essential to act quickly and effectively if you suspect that you are affected by any of the problems mentioned above.
With the escalating number of homes suffering from damp due to badly installed or damaged cavity wall insulation, the number of houses subjected to the dangers of damp could grow rapidly.
If you feel your home is suffering because of the damage caused by faulty CWI then please use the contact options on this site for free and impartial advice.