Homeowners in Ireland who live in older properties or poorly ventilated homes often suffer from damp. When you think of damp, do you see images of unsightly peeling wallpaper or crumbling plaster, and expensive repairs that you could do without? It’s time to do something about it. Do you recognise any of these signs of damp at home? If so, take action now and nip it in the bud before it gets any worse.
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t treat damp easily in a cold and unheated home. Always make sure that you heat your house adequately to keep warm air circulating around the rooms – it is vital that you keep the radiators on in rooms where you suspect damp, even if these are not used regularly. Depending on how much natural light these rooms get during the day, you may also have to heat them during the summer – so be prepared for this and make sure you have adequate home heating oil.
Signs of Damp
One of the biggest tell-tale signs of damp is the smell – it can smell musty even when you have the windows open, and unless you find the source and deal with it, it will always return. This can also be the first sign of mould – also a common sign when you have damp. Check behind furniture and in the corners of your room for growth and deal with it straight away as it can contribute to health issues like asthma.
Check around your skirting boards for any cracking or buckling, as this can often be a sign of rising damp, which is when moisture from the ground seeps into the masonry of your building. This needs to be treated right away by a professional, as it is likely to only get worse.
Inside your home, check for signs of condensation that could include peeling wallpaper, mould, crumbling plaster around the walls or damp spots on the ceiling. Sometimes, your plaster will have a hollow sound if you knock it, which could be a sign of damp, when the plaster has come away from the wall.
How Damp Can Ruin Your Home
Now that you know what signs of damp to look for, here’s a few compelling reasons why you should treat it, or risk ruining your home. Condensation can rust fixtures in your home, rot away furniture, cause mildew to grow on all your clothes, and make them smell damp when you take them out of a drawer. If left untreated, you might have to repair plaster and then redecorate. It’s also extremely off-putting for any visitors coming to your home to be met with an overpowering damp and musty smell.
How to Prevent Damp
Prevention is better than cure, so when it comes to treating the signs of damp, do it as soon as you notice them, otherwise the problem is likely to just get worse. Find the source and treat it. If the excess condensation is caused by drying clothes indoors, always have a window open to let the condensation escape. You could also invest in a dehumidifier to draw excess moisture from the air without harming your home.
When you are cooking or bathing, try to keep the condensation to a minimum by opening the bathroom window, and keeping the lids on pots when cooking (this also has the benefit of allowing you to cook quicker!) Check if you need a damp proofing course for your home, which is carried out by a professional and will ensure that any hidden issues are addressed before they become major problems.