Water is one of the best electricity conductors and a damp problem in your home can damage your electrical installation, whether it affects a single socket or all the wiring. This problem demands urgent attention, particularly in the cold and winter months.
Homes need a certain level of humidity in the air. The recommended optimum level is between 40-50%. Anything higher may cause problems with damp and mould, most of which are caused by condensation. The solution is to prevent damp from stagnating, which you can do by installing electric dehumidifiers or ventilating your house for ten minutes a day.
Damp also causes you to use more electricity. The higher the humidity, the more difficult it is to heat or cool a home, causing you to set the air conditioning at a lower temperature in summer to get rid of that muggy feeling or turn up the heat in winter.
Why do homes get damp and humid?
There are several types of damp, humidity and moisture capable of causing damage.
Damp caused by leaks from the outside, mainly in the rainy months because of defective insulation, buildings that are not watertight and walls in very poor condition. In this case, the water trickles in through the building materials, and drips, black marks and mould appear. This is the worse type of damp, because it is invisible until it is too late to prevent the damage.
Condensation occurs when there is too much humidity in the air. When moisture-laden air comes into contact with cold surfaces such as windows or walls, the vapour in the air condenses and turns into water. This forms misting, which we often see when the weather is cold. It can also leave stains on walls and damage paintwork, cause bad odours, lead to the growth of mould and even make household textiles feel damp. Homes with this problem have higher electricity bills because of the cost of running heating or dehumidifiers.
Another problem is rising damp (capillary rise), which is caused by the type of land on which the home is built or the materials used in its construction. Water goes into the subsoil and rises through walls, causing serious structural damage. This is often a problem in old and poorly insulated houses, built with permeable or porous materials in damp areas. Mould can appear on the floor and the walls always feel damp.