Why You Shouldn’t Ignore The First Signs Of Damp
An unpleasant smell in your home can be the first sign of a more serious damp problem that needs your immediate attention.
Musty smells in your home are more than just an unpleasant odour that you can cover up with a bit of air freshener or a scented candle. They’re a sign that damp may be taking hold in at least one area of your property. Find out why this is something you need to take seriously and what you can do about it.
Why Damp Is A Problem?
Damp is an issue that affects many different types of properties – although it’s typically associated with older, period homes, it can still be prevalent in new-builds when the owners don’t allow for adequate ventilation.
Occupants who live in accommodation where there is damp are at risk of various respiratory illnesses or other allergic conditions including asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema. Particles from the damp area of your home become airborne and act as an irritant when they come into contact with a person. This is especially dangerous when there are young children or elderly people living in the property.
However, damp doesn’t just pose a threat to people, it can also destroy the structure of your accommodation. If the rot spreads to the foundations and timberwork of the property, then it becomes extremely costly to remove.
Identifying Where The Odour Is Coming From
If you detect a musty smell in your home, the first thing to do is to first locate its source. Mould and mildew thrives in damp conditions, so you’re best looking for areas where excess moisture may have built up. Look behind the backs of furniture where air may not be circulating against a cold outer wall. Check also around your windowsills to ensure that there are no cracks that are letting rain water in. If you’re in a room such as the kitchen or bathroom, then you should also check behind appliances to see if there are any leaks in the piping.
Sometimes the dampness comes from below the floor or in the roof space. Sagging ceilings or floorboards are a sign that joists have rotten, so investigate any structural defects.
Preventing The Problem
Once you recognise the source of the damp smell, it’s time to get to work. The first step is usually to fix any issues such as resealing a window, or tightening any pipes to stop further leaks. You’ll then need to look at the ventilation of both the room, and the entire property. It’s important to use fans in the kitchen and bathroom to remove the excess moisture that gathers there routinely; a de-humidifier is useful for this. You should also get into the habit of opening windows regularly to allow a throughflow of air current which prevents moist air from finding a surface to settle on.
Removing The Mould
If you need to remove mould from any unsightly areas, then you should create a bleach solution using a quarter of home detergent mixed with three quarters of water. Simply scrub with a stiff-bristled brush and repeat as necessary. If the area is particularly stubborn to clean or covers a particularly large surface then it would be wise to consult with a damp specialist who will also be able to provide advice on preventing further bouts.
If you happen to encounter a musty smell in your home, unfortunately it’s not going to go away unless you do something about it. So, set to work locating the source of the problem and take immediate action to eradicate damp from your property.