If it’s not raining then damp problems can’t occur, right? Wrong. We often hear at this time of the year that you can’t have problems with damp when it’s not raining. While damp problems tend to be more common in winter, this does not mean they can’t occur in summer as well. Problems such as mould, damp patches, leaks and rot can all occur all year round. They just tend to be more common when the weather worsens.
Why is damp more common in winter?
Condensation is a common damp issue in winter. It is caused by excess moisture that condenses around your home. It is often linked with black mould and a smell of dampness. Condensation can be made worse from everyday activities such as drying clothes inside, cooking and washing. This is because these activities create significant amounts of moisture. This is less of a problem in summer, as people are more likely to dry clothes outside and keep their windows open. In other words, condensation is less likely to occur when there is adequate ventilation for moisture in your home.
Having your windows open means that moisture in your home can be ventilated before it condenses on internal walls. This decreases the likelihood of condensation symptoms such as mould. During the wet colder months, people are more likely to dry clothes inside and keep windows closed. Spores of mould will spread on internal walls if it has no means of exiting the property. This means condensation is more likely to occur because the moisture cannot escape and this will eventually lead to mould.
Rising damp is a damp issue that can be worsened after heavy periods of rain. It occurs when water below ground level travels up through the pores in brickwork. This occurs through capillary action. It is more likely to rain in the colder months, which means there is more water below ground level trying to enter your property. If a damp proof course is not in place, then capillary action will be able to occur. That’s why we would recommend you do not hesitate to damp proof your property at this time of year. This is to ensure when the wet weather does return, your property won’t be at risk.
Penetrating damp occurs when water makes its way from the outside of a building, through external walls to the inside of your property. It is caused by property defects allowing water to seep through gaps and cracks, which is why it is often seen in old buildings that have not been maintained. Therefore it is more common in wet weather because the higher amount of rainfall, the more likely it is for water ingress to occur.
What damp problems can occur in summer?
The signs of condensation, rising damp and penetrating damp can all occur all year round. Dampness is prevalent in the rainy and colder months. However, it is still possible to have issues with damp when the weather is nice. Although heavy amounts of rainfall can make damp issues worse, rainfall is not needed for your property to suffer from some of the damp types above.
Condensation and mould growth is not determined by rainfall. It is determined by poor ventilation in properties with excessive amounts of moisture in the air. This means that even during dry weather, your property can suffer from condensation if moisture is not adequately ventilated. Regardless of the weather, you should always ensure that high levels of humid or moist air can escape your home. Failure to do so will see issues with mould and condensation continue.
The signs of rising damp can occur even when it’s not raining. This is because the water in the ground contains natural chemicals and salts that are left behind when the moisture evaporates. These chemicals and salts can continue to cause unsightly marks and damage to plaster even when the brickwork is not wet. So, if you notice the signs of rising damp, don’t ignore them no matter the time of year.
Penetrating damp is often associated with high rainfall. This is because rain can seep through outer walls through gaps and cracks. However it can also occur when the weather is dry. Burst pipes can lead to penetrating damp and cause associated symptoms such as damp patches, damaged plasterwork and mould. This could also lead to problems with dry rot or wet rot, if moisture is allowed to come in contact with timber in your home.
Damp proofing in summer
It is important not to ignore any signs of dampness. Mould spores will grow and spread if left untreated and you will likely begin to notice other condensation signs. Condensation can often be prevented from just simple everyday changes. Don’t ignore any problems with your damp proof course as this may lead to rising damp. Regular property maintenance can help prevent problems with leaks and mould. We would advise homeowners to review the damp proofing in your home at this time of the year. That will give you peace of mind that your property is protected later in the year. Visit our damp proofing page for professional advice on how to protect your home.