Ironically, condensation and dampness is getting worse as homes become better insulated. One specialist company has said they are dealing with 4000 damp and condensation related incidents every year in Scotland.
When people used to open fires and sash windows, houses were readily ventilated. Now double glazing, central heating, lagged lofts and blocked up fireplaces, particularly in older premises, mean that air does not circulate around the home, creating the ideal conditions for condensation and other causes of damp.
Les Meikle, managing director of Wise Property Care, said: "When the average temperature inside your house rises, whilst it plummets outside, you are unwittingly creating the ideal conditions for condensation."
The good news for homeowners however, is that relatively simple steps can help stop condensation from becoming a major problem.
To prevent condensation, the homeowner should first improve air ventilation, which can be achieved by fixing vents in single and double glazed window units; installing fixed vents in bricked up fireplaces; installing extractor hoods over cooking areas and extractor fans in internal bath and shower rooms.
The bathroom is particularly prone to damp, as cold air in a toilet cistern will create condensation. This can be prevented by wiping down the cistern with a dry cloth or using a moisture-absorbing strip which can be placed around the cistern, which collects any dripping condensation and allows it to run safely into the toilet bowl, preventing it from reaching the floor or wall.
You should regularly check all areas such as windowsills, and those behind large free standing furniture such as wardrobes. Fitted wardrobes and kitchens should be examined regularly. If you detect a smell that is at all musty then this could be a sign of the onset of damp caused by condensation. The solution is to improve ventilation by fitting small vents to the top and bottom of cupboards and wardrobes, allowing warm air to circulate and dry out problem areas.
Dehumidifiers aid ventilation
Consider purchasing a dehumidifier which will remove excess moisture from the air in your property.
"It is a lot less costly to nip any problems in the bud at an early stage", said Mr Meikle.
If the house is already showing signs of condensation then humidistat-controlled heat return extractor fans should be installed on the external walls of the affected rooms.
Prevent damp problems
Fungicides can prevent damp problems by killing off mould. Follow the instructions very carefully. Bleach cannot be used as a substitute, it will wipe the current mould away but the mould will just re-grow.
Fungicide cannot be used over wallpaper - strip the infected paper off and treat the wall properly. It will save you time and money in the long run.
Using wallpaper paste which contains a fungicide is also recommended for houses that are prone to condensation. This will help stop black mould in its tracks.
For more information on damp related issues and condensation
For more information on damp related issues and condensation problems then visit the following web pages: