When a property is suffering with some form of damp and condensation, the homeowner may wonder if there is a link between the two. For example, if the main problem is rising damp, can this add to the problems with condensation?
Firstly, it is important to understand, that condensation is the most common cause of damp and mould in UK homes. According to market research, a survey carried out in 2014, suggested that 39% of people claimed to have condensation in at least one room of their home.
The UK English housing survey, which covers an estimated 23 million households in Britain, suggested that 4% of properties were affected by rising damp, or other types of penetrating damp.
As you can see, condensation is far more common. It is caused by high levels of humidity in a property. This is moisture that is held in the air and condenses on colder surfaces. This type of humidity is caused by everyday activities, such as:
- Taking a bath or a shower
- Drying clothes indoors
- Bodily functions such as breathing
On the other hand, rising and penetrating damp are less common, because they are usually caused by structural defects. However, when they do happen, they are bringing extra moisture into the property.
Due to this, something like rising damp can cause condensation to get worse. The water is entering your home and can be evaporated from the surface. When this happens, it will add to relative humidity.
The higher the humidity levels become, the easier it is for moisture to condense on surfaces. This is more common on colder surfaces, such as windows throughout your property.
Will condensation stop if you get rid of rising damp?
If you do have rising damp in your home, it is an issue that needs dealing with. Not only can it have a small impact on humidity in the property, but more importantly, it can cause serious damage to many areas of your property. Some affected areas could include:
- Internal Décor
- Woodwork such as skirtings and architrave
- Damage to flooring and carpets
- Problems in structural timber, including, rot, mould, and even woodworm infestation.
- Damage to masonry and pointing.
In truth, a small amount of extra condensation is the least of your problems and rising damp issues should be rectified quickly.
The reason rising damp happens, is usually due to an issue with your existing damp proof course (DPC). It is either damaged or the water is finding another way to get around the DPC.
In most situations the DPC will have failed, this means that overtime it has deteriorated. As a result, this has started to let water travel up further in your wall. This happens via capillary action and is possible due to the porous nature of masonry and mortar.
What is the DPC and how do you find it
The DPC in modern properties usually consist of a continuous plastic sheet that runs through the mortar joint. This can be found roughly 150mm above external ground level. And will usually be just slightly below internal floor level.
In the past, before plastic was used, other materials such as lead, or slate were quite common.
Obviously, over time any of these materials can fail or become damaged. There is also the possibility, that they were not installed properly, this could lead to problems in the future.
If the DPC is in good shape, there is still a chance that rising damp could be the result of something else. For example, bridging, this can happen due to several reasons including:
- Debris in the cavity creating a way for moisture to travel across
- Water traveling around the DPC via an external render
- External ground levels that are higher than the DPC
These would all be classed as forms of bridging. Essentially, there is no issue with the DPC, but other issues are allowing moisture to get above this and enter the home.
In theory, for some of these examples (particularly high external ground levels) you could argue that this is really penetrating damp. Afterall there is no actual damage to the DPC, so normal rising damp treatments would not be a good solution.
How to fix the issue
If the problem is obviously rising damp due to a defective DPC, then one of the most popular solutions is Injecting a chemical DPC. This can be done as a DIY project, or you can hire a professional.
If the problem is less obvious it is highly recommended that you have an expert look at it. Most damp experts will carry out an inspection and provide a quote for the solution.
To get the best possible price we highly recommend that you use a comparison site. This way you can compare prices and reviews from local companies and make sure you hire the best person, at the best price.
Most companies will offer some kind of free survey, so at the very least you get an accurate diagnosis of the problem and then you can decide how you proceed to fix it.
Fixing rising damp won’t fix condensation
It is very unlikely that condensation will magically disappear once your rising damp issue is repaired. Whilst, the extra moisture will have contributed to the overall humidity, it was simply adding to an existing problem. That problem is poor air circulation.
As we already know, condensation is caused by high relative humidity. Therefore, the solution is to lower humidity. This can be as simple as opening windows, to allow moist air to leave and fresh air to circulate in.
Some other ways you can reduce humidity include:
- Using extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens
- Buying a decent dehumidifier. You can see our favourite dehumidifier here.
- Avoiding hot long showers
- Try not to dry clothes indoors where possible. If you do make sure to use a dehumidifier.
Rising damp and condensation can both cause problems in your home. Rising damp can even contribute to moisture in the air. As a result, this can increase condensation, but it is not the sole cause. There are many activities that increase condensation in the home.
The good news is they can both be fixed with a little work. Rising damp is more serious, so we do recommend, you don’t leave this any longer than necessary. As for condensation, you just need to make a few simple changes and you can reduce this significantly.