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14 Property

Monthly property column from Chartered Surveyor Chris Ennis FRICS

The nights draw in and the temperature drops.

This is the time of the year when I receive many calls complaining of ‘dampness’ causing mould. Whilst some properties are affected by rising or penetrating dampness; the symptoms described above are usually caused by condensation. Condensation is the product of warm moisture laden air condensing on a colder surface. When air is carrying all the moisture it is

capable of at a certain temperature, it is said to be ‘saturated’ and the temperature when this occurs is known as the ‘dew point’. If this saturated air meets a surface which is at a lower temperature it will condense into water droplets upon the cooler surface thus forming condensation. The effects of condensation may be minimised

using consistent heating, proper ventilation and good insulation. Ideally heating should be on at a low level all day, but since heating systems are now so efficient and heat can be provided on demand, the tendency is to time the system ‘on’ and ‘off’ which can result in fluctuating temperatures and

may add to problems. So far as ventilation is concerned, extractor

fans connected to time or light switches should be used in kitchens and bathrooms. It is good practice to allow window ventilation in all rooms, and to make some provision for the ventilation of wardrobe cupboards at low level. Furniture in north facing rooms might be moved away slightly from the walls to improve ventilation. Insulation within roof spaces should be

upgraded to provide 250mm fibreglass quilting between the ceiling joists. The insulation should be spread over the whole roof void floor, but take care not to block any eaves vents (often seen in the soffit boards at the lower external levels of the roof). In the event that mould has occurred, it may

be removed using a mild bleach solution. If you still believe there is a continuing damp

problem, do phone me to discuss the various remedies.

Chris Ennis FRICS telephone 01903 261217 or send an email to Chris at:

SUSSEX LOCAL It’s that time of year again...

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