From the satisfying crunch of autumn leaves underfoot to dark, wintry evenings spent cosied up on the sofa with a good book or a box set, there's plenty to love about this time of year. However, none of us will relish the discovery of signs of damp or mould in our homes, which are more likely to make an appearance in the colder months.
When the temperature drops, condensation leads to moisture on windows which can, in turn, cause damp and mould. Not only is this unattractive to look at, but it can also cause respiratory problems, especially if you have allergies or asthma.
If you suspect that you might have damp or mould in your home, don't put off dealing with it. Here's what you can do.
How to spot signs of damp and mould
It's important to know the early signs so that you can tackle the issue head-on. Look out for moisture on your windows, peeling wallpaper and damp patches. Wiping it away or simply turning up the heating won’t rid you of the problem.
Chris Michael from Meaco, a leading UK supplier of dehumidifiers and air purifiers, explains: "A damp house means damp air, so you’d simply be heating up the wet air molecules, rather than raising the room temperature. A room will feel warmer if you are heating dry air."
Dehumidifiers work by reducing the level of humidity in the air – sucking in air from the room at one end, removing the moisture, then blowing it back out into the room again, adding warmth in the process.
Portable dehumidifiers are ideal in the home as they can be moved around your house, be it to a damp basement, a musty loft or in the laundry room after you’ve put a wash on. Many of the models we tested had castors and handles for ease of portability. They’re not the best-looking products, and you can’t tuck them away out of sight when in use, but the job they do outweighs this.
There are two main types of dehumidifiers: desiccant and refrigerant. Desiccants are designed to work primarily in colder conditions, such as a conservatory or garage. These tend to use more energy than refrigerant models. Refrigerant models work better in warmer conditions, so are best for use inside the home.
Tips for preventing damp and mould
Each morning, pull back bed covers to allow moisture to escape rather than trapping it by making your bed straight away. At the same time, open windows to allow an escape route for the moisture.
Open your curtains and blinds during the day to warm rooms up naturally and prevent moisture being trapped around the windows.
Ensure your bathroom/kitchen extractor fans are on when bathing/cooking. Give your bathroom extractor fan a clean by dampening a cloth and clearing fluff from the filter that could cause it to be less efficient. For your kitchen extractor, remove the outer cover and wash in a warm solution of washing-up liquid, or place in your dishwasher, and dry before replacing.
When boiling or steaming on your hob, ensure lids are fitted onto pans and open the window slightly to let the water vapour escape.
If you’ve no choice but to dry clothes indoors, place them on a clothes horse (not a radiator) near an open window or in a room with an extractor fan.
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