What Causes Damp And Mould?

Wednesday 1st November 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Someone wiping condensation off a window CONTENTS

Damp and mould are not just foul-smelling, unattractive additions to a home. They are signs of deeper issues with your property, and could pose risks to both health and home if not treated immediately. 

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer mould removal services that can make your home a safe place to live again. We are a corporate member of Dewpoint Professional and have technicians stationed across the UK. In an emergency, they can be on site in several hours. 

Keep reading to find out what is causing damp and mould in your home. 

What is mould?

Mould is a form of fungus that thrives in damp environments. Mould can not only be unsightly but is also detrimental to be exposed to. When conditions are right, it multiplies by releasing tiny spores into the air. These spores land on surfaces, and if damp conditions are present, they start to grow and reproduce.

Mould plays an important role in nature by breaking down dead plants and trees. But indoors this means mould can feed off possessions and surfaces made of organic material like wooden furniture, fabric, and some building materials. Over time, this can cause them to deteriorate which might result in expensive repairs and even structural damage.

What is damp?

Damp is the presence of excess moisture in a property. There are several different types of dampness, each with its own specific causes including condensation, rising damp, and penetrating damp. 

The causes of damp and mould

Dampness and mould are closely linked as the former is the main cause of the latter. The different kinds of damp are caused by the following reasons:

  • Condensation: this happens when warm air, heavy with moisture, hits a cold surface like windows or walls, causing water droplets to form. This makes the surrounding surfaces damp. 
  • Rising damp: this is the upward movement of groundwater through masonry via capillary action. It can ruin wallpaper, paint, and building materials and increase heat loss if not addressed promptly. You can find out more about rising damp and what causes it here
  • Penetrating damp: this kind of damp originates from structural problems that let water seep inside buildings from the outside, such as leaky roofs or pipes, spalled bricks, and porous walls. You can find out more about penetrating damp here

Aside from damp, there are several other factors that can contribute to mould growth including poor ventilation which enables humid air to build up, and bad cleaning habits which provides mould with dirt and dust to feed on. 

The effects of mould and damp in a house

Mould can be harmful to people's health. It produces allergens, irritants, and occasionally toxic chemicals which could trigger health problems including an allergic reaction and respiratory infections. Mould can even trigger asthma attacks in asthmatics. 

Some kinds of mould, like Stachybotrys chartarum, can cause more serious issues such as sick building syndrome as well as fatal asthma attacks.

Certain groups can suffer from more serious reactions to mould exposure, too, like people with pre-existing respiratory and skin conditions, people with a weakened immune system, elderly people, and young children. 

How to prevent damp and mould

Dampness and mould can be kept at bay with a few preventive measures. First, keep your property well-ventilated. Open windows regularly and use extractor fans during and after cooking or showering to let out steam and humid air, and bring in fresh air. 

Avoid overfilling wardrobes, closets, and cupboards as it restricts air circulation, enabling pockets of humid air to get trapped. Make sure there is enough space between the furniture and walls for air to freely move.

Utilise dehumidifiers to keep the humidity level below 50% all day, particularly in bathrooms and basements, rooms that are prone to high humidity and condensation.

Regularly check for leaks in pipes, roofs, or window seals, as well. If a leak does occur, have the area dried out and the problem fixed by professionals as soon as possible as mould can start growing within 24-48 hours.

Insulating your home properly also helps maintain temperature balance, thus preventing cold spots where condensation could form leading to mould growth. It is recommended you keep your home heated throughout the day to stop surfaces too getting cold.

If you spot signs of mould, seek professional help immediately rather than trying to clean it yourself. Specialist mould cleaners will have the professional tools and experience needed not only remove existing infestations, but to diagnose the specific cause of the mould in your home and advise on how to prevent it returning, too

As soon as you notice damp in your house, you must bring in professionals to fix the issue and dry out your home to minimise the chances of mould growth.

Get in touch

Our technicians can remove all traces of the mould from your home, including airborne mould. We also offer a lifetime guarantee* with every mould remediation so if the mould returns, our technicians will return to site to get rid of it for free. 

Contact our team today on 0208 066 0360 or via email at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to find out more about our mould removal services. We can provide you with a free site survey and no-obligation quote. 

*subject to advisories

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Reilly Peters

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