How-to-treat-condensation

How to Keep Condensation and Damp Out This Winter

With winter fast approaching, it’s time to start shoring up your defences against the oncoming tide of condensation and damp, which can severely affect homes during the colder months of the year.

Condensation is the most common problem for homeowners in winter, with poor ventilation leading to lots of potential for hot and cold air to collide. While condensation is easily avoided, if it’s left for too long it can start to cause mould or even damage to walls and ceilings.

Condensation is a mild form of damp, but homeowners also need to be on the lookout for more serious damp problems during winter. Rising damp and penetrating damp are much more serious issues, leading to mould and potential structural problems.

It’s important to know the difference between damp and condensation and to know how to keep condensation and damp out of your home during winter.

Condensation During Winter

Condensation is the most common form of damp, and during winter it can be a real pain for homeowners. Thankfully, it’s usually more annoying than it is dangerous, and there are plenty of quick fixes to keep your home condensation-free during winter.

Condensation happens when hot, moisture-heavy air collides with colder, drier air. As the air mixes, condensation (water droplets) forms on windows, doors, and ceilings.

If you’re having a hot shower in winter, your windows and mirrors will steam up as condensation forms. In the kitchen, switch on the kettle or start simmering a hearty winter soup and you have the same problem.

Condensation forms on colder surfaces, which are more prevalent in winter than in summer. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that we keep our doors and windows closed during winter, to keep in the heat and to keep out the cold.

Poor ventilation is the biggest cause of condensation in winter, but also the easiest fix: just open the window. However, condensation can form in less obvious places, where it can become more of an issue. Check out this article on how to treat condensation in your homes.

Condensation often forms on the ceiling and can get into the attic during winter. This is when it could start to cause damage to your painting and plastering or, if left long enough, to the structure itself. As a form of damp, excessive levels of condensation lead to mould, which can cause respiratory problems. In the depths of winter, respiratory illness is the last thing you need.

Damp During Winter

While condensation is a form of damp, there are more serious types of damp that you need to be aware of. Damp can occur at any time of the year, but in winter the problems are worsened by colder weather and lack of ventilation.

Rising damp occurs when moisture starts moving up from the ground and into the structure of your home. It’s common in older houses, but rare in newer homes that have been adequately damp-proofed.

Penetrating damp is more common, and occurs when water starts moving down or horizontally through structures. It’s often the result of cracks in the walls, loose tiles and leaks. Due to temperature differences and bad weather, cracks and leaks are more common in winter than other times of the year. If you own a listed building, then check out this article on how to treat damp in listed buildings.

Both rising and penetrating damp can lead to mould as well as structural problems, so it’s crucial that you lookout for early signs (and musty smells). If you think you have a rising or penetrating damp problem during winter, contact the professionals immediately.

Tips to Reduce Condensation and Damp

While condensation and damp can be serious, in most cases there are a few simple fixes that can help you to avoid any serious problems.

Here are our best tips to help you avoid condensation and damp this winter.

  • Open the Windows

Our biggest tip isn’t exactly a secret: open your windows!

Condensation thrives in a closed environment, especially in bathrooms and kitchens where there’s lots of moist air hanging around. Yes it might be cold outside, but try to open the window, even if it’s just for a few minutes while you’re boiling the kettle or in the shower.

  • Check Your Extractor Fans

If your bathroom and kitchen are fitted with extractor fans, this should take care of excess moisture. You need to make sure that the extractor fan is actually switched on, though.

It’s good practice to check your fans are ventilating properly and extracting efficiently. Give them a check before winter arrives.

  • Set Up a Dehumidifier

For serious cases of condensation that could lead to worsening damp, you might want to set up a dehumidifier to get rid of the excess moisture in the air.

Dehumidifiers aren’t ideal, but they are cheaper than dealing with structural problems if damp gets into the walls.

  • Fix Cracks and Broken Tiles

Cracks and broken roof tiles are the easiest way for water to get into your home, and for penetrating damp to become a serious problem.

Before winter, have your house checked over and fill in any obvious cracks or sort any issues with the roof. During winter, look for any new damage after severe storms or extremely cold temperatures.

Act Fast to Keep Condensation and Damp Out

The most important thing you can do if you have excess condensation or visible damp problems is to act quickly.

Leaving damp, even in its mildest form, can lead to damage to your property, structural issues with your floors, walls, or ceilings, and respiratory illness. Damp can be an issue any time of the year, but it’s more likely to occur in winter.

Act fast, start ventilating your home, and call in the professionals if you aren’t sure how severe the problem is or what fix you need.

Contact Danford Brewer & Ives today, to learn more about keeping out condensation and damp this winter.

We’re experts in damp-proofing services and have been advising homeowners in Yorkshire, Teesside and North East England for decades. We’re happy to discuss your issues and confident that our professional staff can provide the best solutions to keep your home damp and condensation free this winter.

Please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form. Our technical team will be on hand with expert advice tailored to resolve your problem.

 


woodworm infestation

How to spot a woodworm infestation

A woodworm infestation isn’t something you want to deal with inside your home, but it’s vital that you act fast with an appropriate woodworm treatment.

Woodworms love to infest timber and they can quickly cause structural damage if left to burrow around through your walls and supports. But it’s not always easy to know when you have an active woodworm infestation in your home.

Luckily, there are several tell-tale woodworm signs that anyone can look out for. If you think you have seen any of these woodworm calling cards, then the best course of action is to call in the woodworm treatment professionals!

The Five Signs of Woodworm Infestation

There are a variety of different species of insect that we collectively call woodworm. While they all look slightly different, have a range of sizes and slightly different habitat preferences, they all affect timbers in the same way.

Woodworm larvae, regardless of their exact species, love to burrow through the wood in search of cellulose, their source of nourishment. As they grow into full-sized beetles, they burrow their way back out of the wood and make their exit.

This burrowing is not good for wood. Over time, increased woodworm activity can lead to structural damage. However, woodworm leaves a trail behind them, and with a keen eye and some investigation, you can pick up on woodworm signs and establish whether you have an active woodworm infestation and if you need woodworm treatment.

These are the five major woodworm signs you may notice in your property.

1. Exit Holes

One of the easiest ways to identify a potential woodworm infestation is through the presence of exit holes in your timber. As they burrow through timbers, woodworm will eventually break out of the wood, leaving behind a small exit hole.

Exit holes can be as small as 2mm in width (depending on the species) but are often no larger than 5mm. You might find only one or two holes, or you might notice hundreds covering a beam or plank of wood. The extent of the holes depends on the extent of the woodworm infestation.

While exit holes are one of the easiest woodworm signs to notice, they might not indicate the presence of an active infestation if they aren’t fresh. Either way, it’s good practice to get a professional to have a closer inspection.

2. Frass

Another of the more visible woodworm signs you could find is frass. When woodworms burrow through timbers they leave behind a thin layer of powdery dust that often lines exit holes or drops through cracks onto the floor.

Knowing that this dust could be frass can help you identify an infestation early on. Frass also contains woodworm waste (delightful!), but this waste can help a professional identify which species they are dealing with – and that can help them to implement a more effective woodworm treatment.

3. Tunnels

If woodworms have been burrowing away inside timbers, they will leave behind long tunnels within the wood. Unfortunately, if there are no exit holes yet you might not be able to readily spot these.

However, these tunnels are the real danger behind a woodworm infestation. Tunnels weaken timber and can eventually cause it to collapse. If you notice any other woodworm signs, it’s important to get a professional in quickly to check for a more complex system of tunnels within your wood.

4. Damaged Wood

If you find damaged or crumbling wood, this can be a serious sign that you have a woodworm problem in an advanced stage.

You might see cracks, weakened supports or frayed edges on skirting boards. If these look like they could be woodworm related, then you’ll need to think about a woodworm treatment ASAP.

However, damaged wood might also be a sign that you have dry rot or wet rot within your home, so contact a professional for further advice.

5. Beetles: Dead or Alive

If you see beetles in your home, that’s it’s a big giveaway that you have a woodworm infestation. Woodworm larvae grow into full-sized beetles so if you have large numbers of beetles within your home, you could have had a problem for a while already.

Beetles often remain hidden out of sight but will be drawn towards windows and light sources. They are at their most active in mating season, between May and October when you can often spot them flying around. For most people, beetle activity is the first sign they might notice of a woodworm infestation, especially if there’s no visible damage to timbers.

While the other signs are incredibly important, exit holes and frass can often be difficult to spot in comparison to a large beetle flying through your house!

Read this article on how to prevent and treat woodworm.

Why Is It Important to Identify Woodworm Infestation Early?

If you notice any of the five major signs above, you should first check to see if there are any other major warnings you might have missed. Check your timbers and supports, particularly in areas such as the attic where you might not often visit.

If you’re worried that you have signs of a woodworm infestation, then call in a professional to conduct a survey.

In some cases, woodworm infestations might have died out before you even noticed, but often, you will need an effective woodworm treatment to avoid any further damage. A professional will be able to tell quickly if you need to take further action. Leaving a woodworm infestation can eventually lead to major structural damage, which is why it’s important to act on the warning signs.

Danford Brewer & Ives has been providing woodworm treatment services for decades to homeowners in Yorkshire, Teesside and North East England. We’re happy to discuss your issues and provide the best treatment to resolve your woodworm infestation.

Please contact our friendly team on 01765 804050 or fill in our online contact form. Our technical team will be on hand with expert advice tailored to resolve your problem.