No Damp in your house? Are you sure?

Home, new or old, is always the sweet and prized possession of the owner. You are additionally proud of it as you claim your home to be free from damp. You chose the builder yourself, did the best of the furnishing and took time in setting up your home. You proudly announce that there is no single damp mark in your house. Hold it there! Are you sure there is no damp? Possibility is you are not looking at the right places.

Here is a list of 5 such secret places from where damp can play peek-a-boo with you. Read on to know more.

1. All clear behind the furniture?

You have furnished your interior with heavy and large-sized furniture. All OK till then. But do you know what is happening behind them? There is a whole new “behind the scenes” story awaiting you. Poor ventilation between the furniture and wall causes condensation to intensify and the place in between is cold enough for the moisture to be retained. This gradually leads to a damp patch with flaky paint. You will find this phenomenon most commonly in your bedroom. Know why?-Because you produce moisture when you breathe and it accumulates overnight.

You should not set heavy furniture like cupboard, wardrobe, etc right against the wall as moisture accumulation is highly possible.Also, setting heavy furniture against the wall increases the possibility of termite infestation from damp. Leave some space for air circulation. But the moment you discover a damp mark, do not leave it to grow. Call for home inspection services or contractors immediately.

You can take small measures on your own also to control the moisture content of the indoor air. Use a dehumidifier, cover your cooking utensils while cooking, and if it is rainy season and you cannot hang your clothes outside, choose a well-ventilated area indoor to dry them. Always keep your entire house well ventilated.

2. The ‘Intermediate’ Wall

The wall common between the bathroom/ kitchen in your house and the adjacent rooms are more prone to moisture seepage leading to damp. Bathroom is such a place where the surrounding is wet most of the time. During showering or washing daily wear clothes, water vapour rises and settles on the walls and then seeps through to the other side due to deteriorated wall tile joints or joints between the floor and walls. This may often skip your sight for these damp marks appear very low down where the shower or other water units are in the bathroom.

Never ever neglect the fresh signs of damp or try to do a quick fix by putting some new paint on the damp patch. This will only bring more trouble as the water will be sealed within the wall and gradually completely rot the wall. Call for experts in damp assessment and identify the root cause.

First check visually, if you think there is a need, change the sealant around the shower unit. This will stop the leakage. While building the house, the builder and you – both should be extra cautious to make bathroom walls damp-proof. Additionally, you must be careful about cracks which may damage the common wall by acting as gateways to the leaking water. Make sure to put an exhaust fan in the bathroom. This will exhaust the vapour. Once the sources of moisture intrusion are repaired and the damp is dried out properly, use new paint with primer and emulsion to repair the dampened wall.

3. Wall behind WC

Who checks now and then behind the WC? Right, almost none. This makes the wall behind WCs a perfect secret place for damp occurrence. Wall-mounted WCs are most convenient. But this may also cause damp in the way similar to how furniture brings damp to the wall.The space between the WC and the wall is narrow. This allows the moisture and vapour to settle in perfectly and stay there uninterrupted. If the wall is an outside one, there are higher chances of rain water seepage through it.

A loose faucet, a leakage in the flush tank pipe, or conceal leakage in the WC outlet can also, cause damp.

Proper ventilation is one solution to make your bathroom damp-free, but definitely not the only one. You have to address it seriously. Again, call for experts in damp assessment or home inspection to understand what is causing it and what can be done to remove it for good.

4. Wall on which the geyser is mounted

When you installed the geyser in your bathroom you chose a spot well away from the water sources like showers etc so that the moisture does not cause any problem to it, right? Little did you know that the installation itself will bring forth moisture accumulation leading to damp in the bathroom. The vapour from shower and bathing will rise upwards and when it reaches a cold spot, it tends to settle there. That is how you get the damp on the wall where you mounted the geyser. This is more of a problem if the wall is common to other room or it is an outside wall. These would mean more damage.

If you detect any musty smell of damp in your bathroom, investigate where it is coming from. Delaying the same would cost you heavily.

There could be other reasons of damp on the wall behind geyser. Check the appliance carefully. Is water dripping from it? That indicates more than one diagnosis ranging from a high pressure build-up inside the tank to loosened drain valves to a salt-corroded water tank. It is normal for water to drip from the temperature-pressure relief valve, which is supposed to release water upon sensing excess pressure build-up inside the tank. But if the dripping continues, you must call an expert and fix it. Geyser problems1 are not to be kept unaddressed to avoid damp and unnecessary electrical hazards.

But off course, if you feel that you are unable to visually understand the issue, Call experts for advice for any type of dampness, as it is important to detect the source first and then solution can be done.

5. Floor tiles

Floor tiles are affected both ways when it comes to damp. A crack or worn-out grout, hollowness in the floor tiles, or some problem in the joint between the floor and walls can cause moisture problem, if not addressed in a timely manner. The ground underneath the floor can also bring up problem of dampness. If you overlook or it skips your scrutiny, someday you will find your floor tiles popping up from their places.

For this damp/ seepage issues, solution will differ depending upon the source of issues/ defects.

Now that you have read about the secret places invaded by damp, go check these places in your home and do the necessary with utmost urgency. With timely action and collaboration of home inspection experts, you can do away with the damp issues and continue living with zero worries. To get quick help, click here.

Five Seepage-Prone Areas That Can Get Worse During Monsoon

Mrs. Roy left their rented house after her husband’s transfer and moved to this flat two years back. It was a newly built first-hand property with all the modern facilities. But soon after she started living there, Mrs. Roy noticed wet patches appearing in some parts of the apartment. She ignored the patches initially thinking that they were just one-time effect of heavy rainfall that had occurred that year and would disappear once the monsoon was over, but she was not right. Next year, again, there were damp patches on the ceilings and bathroom walls during monsoon and this time, the patches looked more watery. She knew they were the signs of seepage but had no clue as to what was the source!

Rainwater damage in properties is not a rare phenomenon in India given the extended monsoon that we have here. Both the exterior as well as the interior of a house gets affected due to it. Having said that, it is not the rain itself that causes any structural damage; leakage from any gap or crack on the walls or roof or pipeline leads to damp that can become costly and troublesome to clean up. It is always advised that you make your home monsoon-ready so that the effect of the damage is minimal, but if you skip it you better be careful. Following are the five areas prone to seepage and/or leakage. Keep an eye on them and take the necessary action as soon as you notice water droplets/ dampness gathering around them.

1. Exterior Walls of the Building

The exterior walls of your home are always the first to face the raging weather. During the monsoon, they may fail to hold down the fort. Low-grade paint leads to fast wall surface deterioration. When this happens, rainwater seeps through the exterior coat into the concrete and gets collected in the inner pores, which further penetrate the wall causing damp patches on the inner walls and peeling paint. The best solution to avoid this problem is to get the exterior walls of your house painted with weather-resistant paint solutions1. Paint the walls prior to monsoon, that is, between February and April so that the paint gets enough time to dry and settle and your walls are thoroughly protected.

Most of the exterior wall problems worsen due to sheer neglect and ill-maintenance. Follow these rules to stop seepage during the rainy season:

  • Check your building walls for cracks and leakages from time to time. If you find the cracks upto 3 mm, repair it with asian paints SmartCare Crack Seal2. This will not only restore the aesthetics of the building but will also prevent the rainwater from spreading into the inner walls. However, if you find the cracks needs to be checked, call professionals for advice. Few cracks may still go unnoticed; in those cases, a home inspection is the best solution.
  • Take adequate waterproofing precautions, if required.
  • Replace damaged exterior wall tiles if any. We would suggest better to avoid the installation of wall tiles on exterior walls.

Water seepage during monsoon can also happen due to any of the following reasons:

  • Increased permeability of the construction materials
  • Loosened construction joints in the walls
  • Rising dampness due to capillary action
  • Honeycomb structures in the concrete or plaster formed due to faulty construction
  • Widened separation gaps

Get a home inspection done to know the exact cause of seepage and resolve it before damp plays havoc in your house.

2. Old Cast Iron Pipes

Sturdy water pipe installation on the exterior walls of a building is crucial to ensure zero leakage. If the building you are living in is old and there are still many cast iron pipes, get them checked well for cracks and rust which can lead to further deterioration. During monsoon, these cracks become difficult to repair leading to major leakage and dampness in the inner walls.

3. Roof and Terrace

An uncovered roof or terrace gets a lot of water during monsoon. This may turn out to be a cause of concern if –

  • there aren’t sufficient outlets in the roof
  • outlets are clogged with leaves and other waste particles
  • the roof slope is incorrect which leads to water stagnation
  • the roof waterproofing system is not provided or damaged
  • the concrete texture beneath the roof is worn and distressed
  • And most importantly, there is a crack in the ceiling beneath the roof!

In all these cases, seepage is almost a given outcome leading to prominent damp patches in the ceiling. In the worst situation, water may start leaking from the ceiling which then becomes a costly affair to deal with.

Leakage from the roof during monsoon can be avoided if the source(s) is identified beforehand. For example, if the house is old and you think the roof needs a repair or remedial waterproofing, you must get that done without delay. As precautions, you must check for cracks in the roof. If it is made of RCC, then it needs to inspected or checked by professionals and if it is made of screed concrete then it needs to chipped off and then repaired. Cleaning the roof surface and unclogging the outlets and drainage pipes should not be considered as occasional jobs. You must do it regularly to reduce roof damage from monsoon to a significant extent.

4. Windows

Windows needs to be properly maintained to avoid the entry of rain water in your home as they can be big contributor to seepage.

  • Check the condition of sealant for deterioration or any gaps. Usually sealant has shelf life of 10 to 15 years.
  • Check if gasket and weather strip are provided or not. If provided the condition of both can be checked as this can avoid further seepage problem.

To get idea about more window maintenance tips, click here.

5. The Bathroom: Faucets, Sinks, and Bath Slabs

No matter how often you clean your bathroom or take good care of the faucets, sinks, and bath slabs, leakage and damp problems tend to resurface during monsoon. You know the problems are back when you see cracks and undefined stains on the floor and walls. Discolouration or stains on ceiling can be indication of leakage or any other source of moisture.

Some of the plumbing failures like leaky faucets, sinks, and bath slabs are easy to spot while others could be misunderstood for water splashed during a shower. Keep a watch out for these minor leaks as they tend to worsen with time.

If heavy leakages are observed around the bath fixtures, chances are high that the concealed plumbing pipe joints are internally damaged. To be sure, call a plumber or a team of home inspectors. Once the reason is detected, implement the solution. A few things that you can do to save your bathroom from getting further damaged during monsoon are – sealing the tile joints with waterproof grouts, filling the cracks with mortar, and replacing the concealed plumbing pipes (if needed).

Conclusion

Water damage can be a sinister, creeping issue that you may not discover until it has grown into a big and expensive problem. Think worse- water seepage can damage your beloved home and also cause health effects such as damp-induced allergy and asthma. So, be alert. Keep an eye on the areas that are most prone to seepage and leakage during monsoon. Catch a problem early and stop it before it becomes a nightmare. If you still think you want to hire some professional for this work, click here for further information.

How to prevent moisture intrusion into your home?

Presence of moisture in the air is inevitable. Indoor air too will always contain some amount of moisture depending on the season and the climatic condition of a particular place but it is not this moisture that poses a threat to the health of a house; it is when extra moisture is added to indoor air (Read: How does moisture get into the house?), the humidity level of the house increases raising the alarm over a possible damp attack. So, the first thing you need to do to stop damp from taking control of your home and mental peace is to check the moisture intrusion into your home. You must identify the main points of entry of moisture in the building and seal those points immediately.

Having said that, on a regular course, we do not really realize when we breach the line of ‘acceptable humidity level’ until the first signs of damp start appearing in our house. By that time, in all probability, the damage is already done and we’re just a few steps away from spending a fortune on extensive repair and/or damp-proofing.

There are two ways to monitor the rising humidity of your home:

  • Visual monitoring: Constantly keep a tab on moisture intrusion. The moment one of the points of moisture intrusion becomes open or starts malfunctioning, you must close it for good. Repair, replace, seal it or go for remedial waterproofing or damp-proof depending on the part of the building/ apartment where the pathway has been created (or noticed).
  • By using a moisture meter: Keep a digital moisture meter handy to check the moisture content of your home from time to time. When you see the level has risen to the maximum or showing a red signal, seek the help of a home inspection team. They will perform a thorough damp assessment using more advanced tools like thermal imaging scanner and tell you exactly which areas have already become damp. They will also help you identify hidden pathways of moisture intrusion if any leading to its source and advice on the best repair method.

Where to look for moisture intrusion in your home?

In a house in India, where the average annual percentage of humidity1 is 49% (New Delhi), moisture is almost ubiquitous. Still, following are the prime areas which you must be doubly careful about for checking moisture intrusion at regular intervals.

Roofs

How moisture enters through the roof?

Household appliances, especially geyser, refrigerator, and kitchen chimney, generate a lot of hot air inside the house. This hot air, when rises up, comes in contact with the ceiling. During monsoon or winter, the rooftop becomes cold at a faster rate thereby cooling the ceiling surfaces below the normal room temperature. The hot air condenses against these cold surfaces and gets transformed into moisture. This moisture enters the roofing system through capillary action and remains trapped there. If the building is old and lacks proper ventilation this trapped moisture never gets to escape or dry up. Over time, it corrodes the building material from inside leading to severe damp.

Cracks in the roofing system can also let moisture/water into the house. Any of the following conditions is responsible for that kind of a leakage:

  • Faulty waterproofing
  • Poor maintenance
  • Improper roof slope resulting in water stagnation
  • Clogged outlets on the roof
  • Crack at parapet wall

A leaky roof is a common sight in old properties in India. Just one heavy shower on a random day and water starts dripping from the ceiling.

How to stop it?

Apart from DIY cleaning, you can also do the following things to stop water from entering your house from the roof.

  • Applying a waterproof coating on the roof.
  • By improving the ventilation of the house.
  • Repair the cracks at parapet wall.
  • Keep maintaining and cleaning the rainwater outlet to avoid blockage. Make sure there is no stagnant water at roof.

Any repair job of the roofing system is an elaborate and expensive proposition. So, you must get a proper damp/ moisture assessment of the done before deciding to go for it.

Moisture intrusion through Window frames and doorways

Poorly installed doors and windows2 manifest themselves in several ways but the most common and obvious of these is a visible gap between the frame and the sill. These gaps don’t just allow air into your home but also allow water to drip through. The water may be rainwater or water from a leaky pipe installed near the window. If you don’t seal the gaps or reinstall the frames properly, water will continue to drip damaging the adjoining walls. Gaps visible between two panes when the window is closed or due to weather-strip damage can also lead to water intrusion in home.

Walls

How does moisture get in?

Walls are very prone to moisture problems. There are many reasons why they are so. Defective roofing is one major cause of water entering the walls. Then, there are porous bricks, cavities left inside the concrete fabric of the building during construction, low-quality paint having poor block resistance, and improper grouting on the inner wall tiles. All these problems lead to a situation where water from multiple external sources enters through the walls causing widespread damp.

How to stop it?

Depending on the source of moisture and how it is getting inside the walls, any of the following solutions can be adopted.

  • Check for broken water pipes and pinhole cracks and repair them right away.
  • Apply paint with waterproofing solution.
  • Ensure proper air circulation around your home.
  • Check the condition of external wall paint. Usually, a good quality paint has a life of over 10 years for external surface.

Plumbing

Common plumbing problems that lead to moisture intrusion into a home are:

  • Clogged drains: Empty sachets of shampoo, soap scum, tangled accumulated hair, and other personal care products often clog the drainage outlets causing water to drain slowly. Such drain pipes also get damaged faster. Call your plumber and ask him to look into the matter or unclog the drains yourself using a drain-cleaning powder or homemade baking soda-vinegar solution.
    Additionally, check the condition of grouting around the drain, if deteriorated can affect the lower floor.
  • Bathrooms with multiple leaky fittings: Bathroom is a real breeding ground of moisture. A large amount of it is generated on a daily basis through washing, cleaning, and bathing. Besides, if there is a loose faucet, broken valve or malfunctioning float in the WC, the problem increases manifold. You must fix the problems of your running bathrooms immediately to stop it from affecting the rest of the house. Also, service your geyser at least once in a year and install an exhaust fan to get rid of the excess moisture.
  • Leakage in the water pipe: Leakage appears in old and corroded plumbing pipes. Left unnoticed these leakages can lead to large-scale damages.

Plumbing failures may appear in any pipe material and fixtures that have exceeded their serviceable lifespan or if a defective repair/installation has been done earlier somewhere in the system. Get the plumbing system inspected professionally to get an idea of where the damage exactly exists and how best to fix it.

Foundation

Moisture intrusion and its remedy

Rainwater and groundwater are the two outside sources of moisture that tries to make it through the foundation of a building. In the case of rising damp, the groundwater tends to rise up the masonry and causes damage to the walls. Such a damp problem is more common in older homes having a level of the ground floor and the outside road at nearly the same or less than 1 metre where the damp proof course has deteriorated. For these cases, advisable to contact professional home inspection services for the suggestion of solution.

One must also check for other issues like clogged drains and leakage in the underground water piping system to strike out any possibility of plumbing error.

Moisture intrusion through the foundation is no laughing matter. You must resolve it fast to avoid any damage to the structural integrity of your home. A proper home inspection with trained professionals can help you find the actual cause of moisture intrusion in your foundation. Only after knowing why and from where the moisture is entering your home you can find its actual remedy.

Conclusion

Excess moisture is a terrible thing to live with. It not only expedites the ageing process of your home but also silently harms your family’s health. If you notice any sign of moisture intrusion in your home, immediately try to find out its source. If you are unable to detect it yourself take the help of a home inspector; he will unravel the source for you. Once detected, seal the source if possible or resort to the next best solution to prevent any further moisture intrusion. Be a proactive homeowner. It pays in the long run.

How to Control Humidity in Your Home Using a Dehumidifier?

  • What is a dehumidifier?
  • Signs that you need a dehumidifier
  • Advantages of using a Dehumidifier
  • How do dehumidifiers work?
  • 10 Features to look for in a Dehumidifier
  • Tips to use a dehumidifier
  • Types of Dehumidifiers

Is your home consistently sultry & warm inside despite your best efforts to keep it cool? Are you finding a mushy smell from everywhere inside the house? Well, before you blame the air conditioning system of your home or the room freshener you are using, check for the indoor humidity once. India being a predominantly warm country reports an excessive amount of humidity every year. High humidity causes plenty of damages at the macro level (www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/why-excess-moisture-is-a-threat-to-your-home). In households, humidity or high indoor moisture content leads to multi-dimensional damages that may need costly fixes. So, preventing humidity at the very initial stage is necessary for your home as well as human health. And using a dehumidifier makes this job easier.

What is a dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier is an electrical appliance that reduces and controls the level of humidity in the air in a closed space. By doing so, it prevents the growth of dust mites and other similar moisture-feeding micro-organisms inside the space and eliminates any musty smell resulting from them.

Signs that you need a dehumidifier

Any visible sign of dampness is an indication that the humidity level of your home is high and requires immediate attention. Few such signs of dampness are:

  • Damp patches on the walls and ceilings
  • Seepage/ leakage
  • Peeling paint and wallpapers
  • Bulging wall/ floor tiles
  • A persistent musty smell
  • Frequent incidence of allergy and skin problems within the family

Advantages of using a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are effective units that come with several advantages for your space and most importantly, for your family. Following are some of the benefits:

1. Humidity reduction & improvement of indoor air quality

The quality of air inside a home is measured not only by the number and amount of toxins that one may or may not be breathing in but also by the humidity level of the air itself. A dehumidifier plays an important role in improving indoor air quality by reducing humidity (www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/indoor-air-pollution-one-of-the-top-10-disease-risk-factors-in-india). It makes a home less hospitable for allergens like dust mites. As a result, the home feels fresh and musty odour, if any, vanishes automatically. Allergens being a serious health threat, the incidence of allergy also becomes much less with time.

The aesthetics of the building is also protected and the property is able to retain its value for a longer period of time.

2. Prevention of structural deterioration of a building

High levels of humidity can harm the structural integrity of a home. It can affect the woodwork, walls, ceilings, and metal fittings. A dehumidifier prevents a home from slow deterioration by controlling humidity that may originate due to a number of causes (www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/damp-seepage-assessment-with-solutions-through-thermal-imaging-technology).

3. Time and energy saving

Designed to further cut down on energy costs, dehumidifiers with an auto shut-off feature use intelligent software to actively monitor the climate of the space where the dehumidifier is applied. It shuts down the moment the desired humidity level is reached.

A dehumidifier with a higher star rating operates in an energy-conscious manner. That way, it saves energy and helps you to cut down on your unwanted expenses significantly.

4. Easy and quick maintenance

Portable dehumidifiers can be easily moved from one place to another, and they allow quick maintenance. They do not disrupt daily life and run quietly in the background without causing any harm to anyone.

How do dehumidifiers work?

Dehumidifiers control humidity (www.explainthatstuff.com/dehumidifier.html) by removing excess moisture from the air creating inhospitable living conditions for dust mites and other allergens. A dehumidifier is much like a vacuum cleaner. It sucks in air from the room at one end, takes the moisture out of it, and then blows it back out into the room again. The moisture drips through a pipe into a collection tank that has to be emptied from time to time.

Dehumidifiers work in one of the two ways: by refrigeration or by absorption/ adsorption.

a. Refrigeration

In this process warm, moist air is sucked in through a grille on one side of the dehumidifier. An electric fan draws the air inward. The warm air passes over freezing cold pipes through which a coolant is circulated by a pump and compressor. As soon as the air cools, the contained moisture goes back in the form of liquid water and drips down off the pipes. Now, the moisture-free air passes over a heating element and warms back up to its original temperature.

Another grille blows back the dry and humid air into the room. There is a collecting tray or bucket at the bottom of the machine where the moisture that was there in the air originally drips down into. A ‘float’rises upward as the collecting tray fills up. When the tray is full, the float trips an electric switch that turns off the fan and switches on an indicator light telling you the machine needs emptying.

b. Absorption/ Adsorption

Some dehumidifiers work by mopping the water out of the air with a water-holding material and then “squeezing” the water away to remove it. The mopping action involves either absorption (where the water soaks right into something) or adsorption (where the water is picked upon the surface of something).

In this process, moist air is drawn in from the room through a duct. The air moves past a large rotating wheel made of water-absorbing material, which removes the humidity. The air is drawn by a fan operated by an electric motor. Dry air is blown back out into the room. An air duct underneath is kept hot by an electric heating element (yellow). The moisture-absorbing wheel rotates through the heated air space and has hot air blown past it to dry it out. The air is sucked past by a fan and electric motor once again. The hot, wet air is blown out through an exhaust duct.

As per content by Corroventa on Adsorption Dehumidifiers (www.corroventa.com/products/adsorption-dehumidifiers). The picture shows the functioning principle for an adsorption dehumidifier. The air to be processed is sucked in through the inlet with the help of air fan, the air passes through the rotor whereupon the dehumidified air exists through a dry air outlet. The moisture that is adsorbed in the rotor is driven out through a small part of the air that being heated up in a heater. whereupon it passes through a smaller part of the rotor which is regenerated in this way. The damp air is then removed via the outlet to the environment.

10 Features to look for in a Dehumidifier

Investing in a dehumidifier is obviously a wise decision if you are residing in one of the warmer cities in India. Here are a few simple considerations that you must heed to while buying a dehumidifier (www.dengarden.com/appliances/Choose-a-Domestic-Dehumidifier).

1. Tank size

Dehumidifiers have a tank to collect water. It ranges from a minimum of 2 litres to a maximum of 8 litres capacity. Make sure you opt for the bigger tank so that you do not have to empty it too frequently.

2. Drain tube

Some machines with drain tubes enable the water to drain away rather than collecting in a tank. Remember that with a portable device it will not always be possible for it to drain externally. For example, if you are placing your dehumidifier inside a room, temporarily, then the drain tube will be rendered useless. In that case, you can insert the drain tube into the waste pipe already made for washing machine.

3. Energy usage

The electrical power consumption of dehumidifier and the relative running cost of it can be high. Generally, the desiccant machines use more power than refrigeration machines. So, investing in refrigerant dehumidifiers would be a wise decision.

4. Weight & size

Factors such as weight and size of the appliance are worth considering while deciding to buy a dehumidifier. It is better if it comes with a decent carrying handle.

5. Extraction Rate

Find out how many litres of water a day the dehumidifier can extract. Consider models with more extraction capacity and less power consumption feature.

6. Laundry Mode

Wet clothes drying up indoors during monsoon are an obvious source of excess moisture in households. Dehumidifiers are great for drying clothes. Some dehumidifiers offer a ‘laundry mode’ designed specifically for drying clothes. Such machines repeatedly extract moisture from the air without measuring the relative humidity of the room.

7. Auto start/off

If you want to run your dehumidifier using a time switch then make sure the model you use has an ‘auto on’ and ‘auto off’ feature to ease out manual intervention. It ensures: Power on, moisture extraction on.

8. Slower speed

A dehumidifier typically has more than one fan speed. Slower-speed machines are more economical and quieter but obviously, higher speed will result in more rapid extraction of moisture.

9. Less noisy machine

It is also worth checking if the dehumidifier is generating too much noise. If you want to have it running at night in the bedroom then make sure it runs quietly.

10. Operating temperature

You must check the operating temperature required to extract moisture at the desired rate. If you want to extract moisture from an unheated area then the desiccant models will give lower operating temperatures.

Tips to use a dehumidifier

  • To get the best from a dehumidifier, vacuum it beforehand to make it sure the irritating dust particles are not spreading around or the air filter is not getting clogged up (if the dehumidifier has one).
  • Set the machines away from the walls, furniture, and curtains.
  • Keep the doors and windows closed while the dehumidifier is running.
  • Empty the collected water out of the dehumidifier after every use and before moving it to another room.
  • Instead of repeatedly turning your dehumidifier on and off, you can let the dehumidifier do it itself to maintain your desired humidity level. Try to keep a room’s humidity somewhere in between 50-60 percent.

Types of Dehumidifiers

Whole Home Dehumidifier

The whole-home humidification system is the easiest and the most convenient method for adding or removing humidity from home. It checks the home for proper moisture content and then turns on the humidifier or dehumidifier as needed to bring the entire home atmosphere to the ideal humidity level. However, these dehumidifiers are more expensive and require regular maintenance.

Desiccant Dehumidifier

These dehumidifiers operate by passing the air through a rotor which contains moisture adsorbing desiccant material. Once water is removed from the air, there is a huge chance of drying as the dry air can be blown back into the building. Water collected within the desiccant wheel is removed by adding heat so the vaporized moisture can then be ducted out of the building.

The desiccant material is actually silica gel, which is a porous form of granular silica. The internal structure of the gel comprises a network of microscopic interconnected pores. This gel can adsorb moisture by attracting it within each granule. Due to added heat, this moisture can then be released from the desiccant by evaporation. Finally, it is pushed out of the building, leaving the desiccant wheel ready again to collect further moisture.

Refrigerant Dehumidifier

Damp air from within the building is drawn into the dehumidifier and passed over a cold evaporator coil which cools the air below its dew point temperature. This results in condensation. The water droplets formed on the cold coils then collect in a pan which has to be removed manually. Some dehumidifiers have a hose attached to them that automatically purge the water. The dry air then passes over warm condensing coils, which heat it up again before releasing out to the room.

Heat Pump Dehumidifier

Heat pump dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air with the help of a fan, heat pump, and heat exchange coils. By using a fan, the air is sent past the heat exchange coils that are extremely cold. These dehumidifiers provide excellent energy savings and comfort. By installing a heat pump dehumidifier, one can expect to save around 10 to 30 percent of energy cost.

Conclusion

If you do not want to welcome and host excess humidity in your home and other recurring problems associated with it, get a dehumidifier as soon as possible. However, before that, to make your buy worthwhile, get a damp/seepage assessment (www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/damp-seepage-assessment-with-solutions-through-thermal-imaging-technology) of your home done. There are reliable home inspection service providers who scientifically assess the moisture content of your home using advanced technology like thermal imaging. Based on their report, try to find the source and a permanent remedy for the humidity and damp problem. Alongside, invest in a dehumidifier. It will keep your home dry, fresh, and healthy for years to come.

How to Remove Dampness from Wall & Revive Home Interiors

There are plenty of ways to give our apartment a ravishing makeover. But we prefer taking advantage of the largest open space we have-the walls. The wall almost serves as a blank canvas on which we let our imagination play. We paint it, wallpaper it, handprint it, hang murals, paintings, and photo frames on it, and even mount lights, furniture pieces, and air conditioners on it to make it look unique in every possible way. Again, the décor of the walls differ with the room type. Our living room wall looks completely different from our bedroom wall, and in each case, the wall décor reflects the person who we are- our taste, our preferences and even our mood we are mostly in. However, a statement wall loses its beauty when dampness attacks it. Soon ugly patches of moulds/ peeling/ paint popping/ deterioration begin to appear on it and it is no more capable of holding anything.

Have you ever cared to check the health of your walls? Don’t let dampness on a wall to spreading of moisture in the whole home.

You never know, the damp problems that you are encountering just on the walls have actually gotten deep inside the entire structure of your home! Until and unless you resolve the problem from its root you will not be able to remove dampness from the wall and decorate it once again. Seek the help of a home inspection service provider and get your home assessed for damp (www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/damp-seepage-assessment-with-solutions-through-thermal-imaging-technology). It is highly important to find the cause and resolve the main sources of damp /seepage before embarking on a treatment for repair and prevention.

Basically, Damp/ seepage can happen due to moisture intrusion in your home. This can occur due to following key reasons:

  • Seepage from the wet area
  • Leakage from plumbing lines
  • Seepage from cracks and gaps on external wall/ windows, etc
  • AC drain pipe & condensation
  • Others – Paint & finishing issue or entrapped moisture

Do you know, most of the time, you misinterpret clear signs of damp on your walls?

Yes, unfortunately, most of the time, you tend to misinterpret the signs of damp on your walls no matter how explicit they are. Here are some instances:

  • You notice popping off paint in one corner of the wall and you think it must be due to the poor quality of the paint.
  • A wet patch on the wall invariably makes you think it is due to a localized leakage/ seepage the origin of which lies at the immediate back side of it. You visually scan the other side of the wall. If it is luckily shared by another room of your own apartment, you feel sorted. If by chance it is shared by a neighbour’s apartment, tension begins to build up.
  • You even hold direct sunlight entering your home guilty for making your wall paint chip.
  • Peeling wallpaper and loose wall racks make you think that it is due to mounting or installation defect.

What do you do to repair your visually defective wall?

You look for a quick fix to remove dampness from the wall which you think is a localized problem and in most certainty, a temporary one.

  • You give a call to your home painting service provider and get a quick repaint job done on the wall showing popping paint. You may also consider getting a localized waterproofing done not knowing to what extent it is actually needed.
  • You re-fix the wallpaper or use a fresh one and re-mount all racks and appliances on the wall.
  • You wait for dry summer to come and make your wall’s watery marks disappear.

Do these attempts to remove dampness from walls give you desired results? No. Not Long Term.

You soon figure out that this was much ado about almost nothing. The watermark on the masonry remains as is, the damp patches do not seem to dry out ever or even if they fade, make a comeback after every monsoon; and a musty smell permanently fills the air inside your home. Before long, the more serious effects of dampness begin to make your life miserable.

Effects of severe damp on your wall

Aesthetics of your walls go for a toss when dampness becomes severe and you are unable to control the moisture content of your home.

  • The damp patches turn darker and more watery as there is seepage in the wall
  • The paint fades and starts to peel off at multiple places
  • The wallpaper, if any, refuses to stay on the wall
  • The tiles on the wall (in the bathroom and kitchen) start to bulge out
  • Woodwork mounted on the walls deteriorate
  • Termite tubes grow on the wall
  • Brown to black patches of moulds appear on the wall

Talking about moulds, they are quite a hazard to your home. They not only make your beautiful walls look ugly but also pose a serious threat to your family’s health. Moulds are proven allergens and breathing in mould spores can lead to severe respiratory problems and allergic reactions.

There are many other health risks of high indoor humidity which you should aware of. However, moulds being the most serious of them, you must take extra care to remove them as soon as you notice a small speck on the wall. Remember, even a small spot of mould on the wall can be a sign of a larger infestation.

How to fight damp?

Damp spreads over the inner layer of your wall silently but fast ruining your most precious physical asset. To check whether your home is in danger, you must consult a home inspection company. Their team of professionals will visit your home, scan every part and component of it using thermal imaging technology tools and generate image-based reports showing exact areas of damp. Based on the reports, you can take the necessary actions.

Following is how you can control damp in your home:

  • Ventilating your house more often. Ensuring ventilation at home will provide a route for moisture to escape from your home.
  • Checking for leaking pipes and getting all plumbing failures repaired as soon as possible.
  • Check grouting around floor drain outlet of wet areas. If they are not done properly, can be a pathway for moisture intrusion.
  • In Bathrooms and kitchens, check the tile joint filling. If they are deteriorated, get it repaired as soon as possible to avoid future moisture spreading in adjacent/ associated areas. To understand more, how gap at tile joints can create a path of moisture along with its solution read our knowledge series post – www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/do-you-know-from-where-the-moisture-monster-seepage-is-coming.
  • Check the gaps at the external wall and window frame are filled properly or not. If not, get it rectified as soon as possible to avoid entrance of external rain water through the gaps.

How to remove dampness from walls?

There are many remedial waterproofing methods by which water barrier in your walls can be successfully restored. This is only applicable to the positive side of water like bathroom/kitchen side; not in the bedroom or living room side. The leading waterproofing contractors/materials manufacturers in India are Dr Fixit, Fosroc, Dura, MasterSeal, Krytonite, BASF, Newcoat, Proofex, Sika, CICO Technologies, etc.

To know more about it. Read a blog of common floor – www.commonfloor.com/guide/how-to-remove-dampness-of-walls-in-your-apartment-1681.html

How to renovate a wall post-damp removal?

Once you have been able to remove damp problems successfully from your walls, your next job is to reconstruct it. Do the following to ensure further safety for your walls:

Apply waterproof coating on the walls

The exterior walls of your home face the brunt of the weather. So, it is not enough to just paint them with normal pigmented solutions. You must apply a waterproof coating on the walls to avoid seepage and/or leakage. For interior walls, waterproofing primers are available which prevent moisture from showing up on the painted surfaces. Check the product portfolios of renowned paint brands like Asian Paints, Nerolac, and Berger Paints for the right waterproofing paint solution for your home exterior and interior. To Know about what is waterproofing, you can read our blog – www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/what-is-waterproofing-a-raincoat-for-your-home.

Prevent grout corrosion and adhesion problems on tiles

Already mentioned above in brief about checking tile joints in how to control damp in your home. Let’s discuss it more, Tile joints should be filled with epoxy based products up to at least 10mm depth to check the corrosion of grout due to household cleaners. High-quality tile adhesive should also be used to prevent tile slippage or de-bonding. Tiling errors can lead to seepage; so, must be repaired without delay.

Use a dehumidifier inside home

A dehumidifier is like a vacuum cleaner which sucks in air from the interior of your home; takes the moisture out of it; and blows it back out into the room. The moisture collected drips through into a collection basin that is emptied from time to time. By investing in a dehumidifier you can reduce the humidity level of your home and prevent mould from affecting your walls in the future.

Once you have done the basics, proceed to beautify the walls as per your choice.

There is a strong connection between beauty and health. If you are not healthy, then your beauty is of no use. The same goes for your home. You must check its health regularly to maintain its good looks & life for years. Get a professional damp/ seepage assessment done and keep decorating your damp-free walls following the latest interior designing trends.

Why Excess Moisture is a Threat to Your Home

Your home may not be as healthy as it looks from outside. Just like the human body, it is a multi-layered structure and there are a number of factors that determine its health. According to Jeffrey Toh (www.irbnet.de/daten/iconda/CIB_DC24966.pdf), a building materials and construction research scholar, all buildings start to deteriorate right from the moment they are completed. The most damaging of all the elements that lead to this deterioration is dampness, moisture, and humidity.

Moisture when contacts a cold surface condenses into water droplets. We may not be very conscious about the fact but all types of household activity- cooking, dishwashing, bathing, mopping, or washing clothes and drying them add moisture to the air filling our home. Even breathing, exhalation to be specific, by every living entity of the house adds moisture to the air! Now, the quantity of moisture that air can hold depends on its temperature. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. During monsoon or winter, when the walls, doors, and windows become cold, the indoor moisture comes up against them and condenses into water droplets.

You may say, “How is it possible that such minuscule amount of moisture added into the air through our everyday activities cause our home to deteriorate?

Well, things wouldn’t have been this complicated had above elements been the only sources of moisture in our house. But there are many other sources which eventually increase the moisture content above its normal level. It is this excess moisture that leads to the dampness of the house.

The other sources of moisture in a house include:

  • External/ environmental:
    • Humid air from outside condensing into water droplets on coming in contact with cold surfaces in a building
    • Rainwater making its way through cracks and crevices on the walls and roofs of buildings
    • Groundwater
  • Infrastructural:
    • Mostly happens due to plumbing failure. For example, leakage in water pipes and drainage pipes, etc.

How does moisture lead to dampness?

As the moisture content inside the building structure rises, it accelerates the conditions for the chemical degradation of the concrete. Soon, the walls become porous and permeable to water, a condition known as damp.

Faulty construction practices and failed waterproofing are the main reasons behind moisture getting inside the fabric of a building and deteriorating it over the years.

While you can visibly check the external leakage and cracks, you cannot have an idea about the hidden construction faults. So, most of the time, your attempts to repair leakage or damp-affected areas either go in vain or leave the problem only half-solved. Therefore, going by the saying, “prevention is better than cure,” it is crucial to identify the main moisture generating places in your home. Once you have identified, you must try to reduce the amount of moisture generated there and check the condensation that happens thereafter.

Bathroom: The den of moisture in a house

The Bathroom is one of the most frequently used spaces of the house and undoubtedly, one of the most important ones too. Yet, humidity due to condensation makes it a villain of sort for causing dampness all over the house. Even a quick shower in the bathroom releases moisture into the air.

The problem becomes bigger whenever you take a hot shower because there is a lot of steam rising from the water. The steam mists up mirrors and glass panels or condenses on the walls. This keeps happening every day and that too, multiple times a day! If the place is not ventilated properly, or the wet surfaces are not wiped dry after each shower or wash, and/or there is no exhaust fan in the bathroom, this regular addition of moisture into the air can lead to severe dampness. The situation becomes worse if there is any of the below problems:

  • Loose bathroom faucet knob/handle
  • Dripping water tap
  • Leakage in the bathroom basin pipe
  • Poorly sealed joints between water taps and the walls
  • Internal leakage in the building water system
  • Damage geyser part/leaky pipe
  • Leaking hand-held shower hose/toilet jet spray
  • Damaged toilet flush valve
  • Water seepage

The continuous water loss from these damaged bathroom fittings adds to the moisture content of the house. Soon, signs of damp start showing up on the walls and ceilings in the form of dark, mouldy patches, flaky wall paint, and popped-up tiles. And this does not happen inside the bathroom only; the other parts of the building are affected too in varying intensity.

Why excess moisture is a threat?

It is not only the aesthetics of a building that is compromised due to damp. Left unresolved, it exposes us to bigger risks such as:

  • Extensive leakage & internal flooding leading to permanent dampness
  • Crumbling plaster & detachment from the lath
  • Compromised structural integrity of the building
  • Electrocution in the concealed electrical wiring system

Health risks of high indoor humidity

Experts opine that the optimal relative humidity level conducive to healthy living is between 35 and 60 percent. Beyond 60 percent, a place becomes excessively humid and a favourite breeding ground of harmful microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. Staying in such a place for long hours can expose you to potential health risks.

Growth of allergens

According to an Environmental Health Perspectives report, excess indoor moisture also leads to higher levels of dust mites, moulds, and fungi. Moulds begin to grow on wet surfaces in relative humidity levels above 75 percent, in as little as 24 hours. Once the moulds germinate, they begin to flourish rapidly producing spores and mycotoxins. Exposure to these mycotoxins causes allergies and respiratory inflammation in the inmates of the house. Ingesting certain mycotoxins can also lead to severe intestinal complications.

Mould spores are also potential allergens and are very difficult to eliminate. They lie dormant in a place for years and as soon as moisture content of that place rises, they start to flourish. Eliminating mould spores is virtually impossible unless their growing conditions are altered drastically.

Release of airborne chemical contaminants

Micro-organisms and allergens aren’t the only things that proliferate under excess humidity; airborne chemicals also increase as the indoor moisture level goes up.

Everyday indoor décor items like wood furniture pieces and carpets release noxious chemicals like formaldehyde, a process known as “off-gassing.” Exposure to even low levels of these chemicals can make you experience red, itchy skin, eye and throat irritation, and respiratory discomfort. The musty smell that fills the air in a damp house is mostly due to these airborne chemical contaminants.

How to eliminate excess moisture from home?

The first step to eliminating excess moisture is to ensure that the source of it is removed for good, and that is best done through waterproofing or damp-proofing.

By waterproofing or damp-proofing you can seal the unwanted water and prevent its further ingress. Then, with the onset of the dry season, the existing moisture content slowly decreases and your home springs back to life.

There are many advantages of waterproofing. Firstly, it enhances the value of your real estate property. And secondly, it sets the cornerstone on which you and your family can build a better quality of life.

However, detecting leakage or seepage that requires waterproofing isn’t an easy task. It is advisable to rely on professionals /home inspectors to do the job for you. They detect building-structure damps using advanced thermal imaging technology devices. Once detected with precision, you can proceed to do curing/waterproofing of only those areas. Otherwise, you may run the risk of making unnecessary expenses that may go up to as high as Rupees 50,000 to Rs. 100,000 approximately for a standard 1000 sq ft area space.

How to check condensation in the bathroom?

To reduce excess humidity in the house it is also crucial to check condensation in the bathroom because as explained earlier, it is the place where the maximum amount of moisture is generated.

The first step to check condensation in the bathroom is to address all plumbing-related issues. A timely repair of damaged bathroom fittings can save you big money on damp-proofing and/or waterproofing.

Besides, you must also ensure the below conditions to keep your bathroom dry and squeaky clean:

  • 1. Proper ventilation
  • 2. Wiping wet and fogged-up surfaces after each shower
  • 3. Using a dehumidifier
  • 4. Warming up the walls: Installing a bathroom heater can keep your bathroom warm without heating up the rest of your home wastefully.
  • 5. Using exhaust fan
  • 6. Incorporating design changes:
    • Surfaces that normally come in contact with water should be covered with tiles and/or glass so that water from splashing is prevented from being spread onto the adjacent surfaces.
    • The tiled surface on a wall should be high enough to block water from the shower.
    • Concrete walls made of porous material should be left un-tiled only in the upper parts and ceilings.
    • Provision should be kept for roof ventilators/windows to allow natural daylight in.
    • Non-slip tiles should be used to seal the surface below the floor from moisture.
    • The tiles must be grouted properly.
    • Bathroom walls should be coated with anti-condensation paint.

Moulds in the bathroom are difficult to remove. Don’t let this very important space in your home become a large petri dish for growing moulds. Get down to removing it at the very first sign of accumulation. You can use a baking soda-bleach-water solution or vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to clean the mould-affected areas. Regular use of the solution will give you better results.

Consult a home inspection expert for a long-term solution

Not all moisture related problems are DIY types. Some require complex solutions and hence, expert intervention.

Seek the help of a home inspection service provider like MACJ – A Buyers Choice. They will thoroughly diagnose your home using advanced, non-destructive testing methods and pinpoint the source of areas affected by excess moisture or damp. Based on their detailed report and suggestions, you can plan your next line of action.

Moisture is an important component of home atmosphere but when present in excess, it can severely hamper the quality of life. Don’t let the moisture take over your happiness. Get your home checked professionally the moment you smell it and live a healthy life in a damp-free house for the years to come.

Additional Notes for Information

Types of damp:

  • Construction damp: Happens due to poor construction practices. Sometimes, excess water that is added to the concrete mixture during construction bleeds out leaving behind capillary tracts in the wall. Water from the environment then makes its way through these tracts resulting in dampness.
  • Shrinkage is another commonly encountered problem in every cement-based construction. After completion, loss of moisture leads to the contraction in the total mass of a building leaving behind gaps. Later on, water from outside penetrates into these gaps resulting in (penetrating) damp.
  • Another form of penetration damp results when rain penetrates through the masonry due to poorly installed tiles or cracks on the wall.
  • Rising damp: Happens when moisture level rises up from the ground through the masonry to the height of about one metre of the building.
  • Condensation dampness: Results when a property is unable to deal with its normal moisture content due to the lack of proper insulation, ventilation or heating, or a combination of all of these things.

What is Waterproofing? | A Raincoat for your Home

Water infiltration into a home / building causes major problems to the structure. Water damages a building first cosmetically then structurally, results in building failure and most importantly the health of the residents. It is important to realize that by the time a stain shows up on the interior of your wall most likely irreversible damage is already caused to the exterior.

Before we get into the technicalities, allow us to explain you one simple thing. We wear a raincoat to protect ourselves from rain or water from wetting or drenching us, right? Waterproofing is the raincoat for a house.

Waterproofing is a system which prevents water (damp / water leakage / seepage / moisture) from penetrating into your house. As a raincoat keeps us dry, waterproofing / damp proofing is very important to keep our homes dry. It helps to reduce humidity inside the house and thereby protects things inside your house from damage caused due to humidity or water exposure. Waterproofing preserves the strength and the durability of concrete surfaces in a building.

Why is Waterproofing / Damp proof course (DPC) necessary?

Waterproofing increases your home’s value. It is one of the most critical, yet neglected concerns. Most of the time it is considered an inconvenience rather than a serious matter. Avoiding it will increase the problem & leave your wall damped.

1. Protects the Interiors from Water Damage

The inner part of your home is usually exposed to many unpredictable weather elements like sun rays and rains. This includes walls, floors, ceilings, etc. How much ever you try to get your walls sealed by using steel, concrete, etc., during the construction, they do crack and get rusted.

Water leakage / seepage or more categorically moisture intrusion in buildings results into damp, uncomfortable internal environments; deterioration of internal finishes (including mould growth); unsightly damp areas on wall and ceiling surfaces and increased concentrations of harmful pollutants affecting occupant’s health. The exclusion of moisture from buildings is therefore not only desirable, but an utmost concern to the residents of the buildings.

Waterproofing or damp proofing in buildings makes the structure water-resistant and helps in formation of a solid barrier over surfaces of foundations, roofs, walls and other structural members of building to prevent water penetrations through these surfaces. It helps in reducing the humidity inside the building, minimizing the damage done to structure, furniture, human health and alike.

2. Prevents Onset of Health Problems

Damp is a Silent Killer. Moisture and Humidity are the uninvited as well as unwanted guests which cause significant damage to your home and the ones living in it. When moisture finds its way to enter your walls and ceilings, it leads to the growth of mold and mildew. This creates spores, which leads to many health problems. Spores get projected into the air, and when you breathe in, they will straight away travel to your lungs that can cause health problems. Common health hazards include Upper respiratory (nasal and throat) symptoms, Asthma symptoms in sensitized persons with Asthma, Cough, Wheeze, Allergies, Skin Diseases, etc. It is always preferable to have waterproofing done to your home at the right time (usually at the time of construction / renovation / interior design), to keep you and your family away from such unexpected health problems.

3. Saves Your Money

Waterproofing your home might seem like a daunting task & a blow to your budget. But, prevention is always better than cure. It is best to think of it as a long term investment that will reap benefits in the building’s lifetime.

Few other Reasons why waterproofing is required for homeowners / property owners:

  • Prevents Frequent Leakages
  • Enhances the Durability of the Structure
  • Prevents hassles of repetitive Repairs
  • Minimizes Reoccurring Repairs & Maintenance Expenses
  • Puts an end to damaging of interiors
  • Avoids serious health issues arising out of dampness

Where should Waterproofing be done in a building?

Some homes include only basic waterproofing, which at times is only restricted to roofs, but it is imperative to have proper waterproofing done at all the water entry areas to make the home leak-free home.The home will be protected adequately only when all the possible water entry areas are waterproofed. The five key surfaces that are crucial for waterproofing are:

  1. Roof / Terrace
  2. Exterior Walls
  3. Internal Wet Areas (bathroom, kitchens, balconies)
  4. Concrete Water Tanks
  5. Structural components(Below and around ground structures)

Waterproofing Solutions & Materials

Water barrier of external walls is normally achieved by providing desired wall thickness, adequate designing at construction joints and surface rendering and finishes which serve as barrier against water seepage / moisture intrusion. But normally no attention is paid towards critical areas like separation gaps, honeycomb areas, damp proof courses and so on. This results in significant leakages through external walls and damages to expensive internal structure, furniture & equipment.

The leading waterproofing contractors / service providers / materials manufacturers in India include Dr Fixit, Fosroc, Dura, MasterSeal, Krytonite, BASF, Newcoat, Proofex, Sika, CICO Technologies, etc. There are some paint companies like Asian Paints, Berger Paints, Nerolac Paints, etc which also provide waterproofing solutions.

Conclusion

Water enters the building and can have immediate and long term undesired effects. Apart from damage to the building contents, structural damage is unavoidable if the problem persists. Further this can have serious adverse effect to human health.

The goal of building waterproofing is to prevent as much water as possible from penetrating into the house, and to provide outlets and drainage so that if water does get inside, it is not allowed to remain. Many designers while designing simply forget that there is going to be water.

”Sukanta Mallik, VP – R&D, CICO Technologies Ltd, says, “We do not suffer any lack of advanced system or materials, but mainly waterproofing problems plague us due to increasing complexity of construction, blatant disregard to most of the waterproofing principles, and also, inability to co-ordinate interfacing between the multitudes of construction systems involved in a single building.”

If you are still not convinced and you are a huge admirer of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan then kindly watch…… www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-2rKW1gRCQ

For more information on the subject and long term solutions, please also read our blog…… www.macj-abuyerschoice.com/damp-seepage-assessment-with-solutions-through-thermal-imaging-technology

Moisture / Damp / Seepage – The Invisible Silent Killer : Unsuspecting Criminal

Moisture is an important concern to building designers since it is the single most important agent of building deterioration. Moisture control is fundamental to the proper functioning of any building and hence it is important to protect occupants from adverse health effects and to protect the building and its contents from physical damage. Moisture is also the prime reason for electronics getting damaged. There are ways to combat this invisible demon from wreaking havoc on your home and health. We need to catch this unsuspecting criminal red handed before it carries out its dastardly acts.

Some Trigger Points /Warning Signs

  • Flaking of paint/wallpaper/wall
  • Presence of Termite
  • Woodwork deterioration
  • Dark patch in wall / ceiling
  • General odour, musty smell from clothes
  • Soggy paint/wallpaper/wall
  • Visual leak
  • Mold growth
  • Rust
  • Collapsed False ceiling
  • Damaged electronic devices
  • Allergenic or immunological illness, infections, skin irritation in humans

Potential Sources (initially hidden and then gradually spreads)

  • Ceiling, Walls, Floor
  • Doors & Window
  • Roof, Terrace, Basement
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Concealed leak (insulation on Air Conditioner gas pipe, drain pipes)

Potential Issues that may arise

Health Hazards – Too much moisture can negatively affect health

When mold or mildew grows in your home, its airborne spores can travel through your air ducts and be inhaled. These spores can cause allergies, infections, skin irritation, and more. Asthma is also triggered by the sensitization of dust mites accruing humid, wet regions of a structure. Common hazards include:

–    Upper respiratory (nasal and throat) symptoms & lower respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children
–    Cough, wheeze
–    Asthma symptoms in sensitized persons with asthma
–    Allergies, skin diseases
–    Dyspnoea (shortness of breath)

Mechanical Problems

When humidity settles on toilet tanks, water pipes, HVAC systems, and other mechanical objects, it can slowly cause rust or fungus and lead to failed parts & mechanisms. Failed parts can prevent proper operation & may mean costly fixes.

Electronic problems

Electronics are especially susceptible to damage by condensation. Moisture can corrode contacts inside and lower insulation resistance, which may cause short circuits.

Issues in the External surface

–    Major architectural deterioration like Cracks, popping of plaster, some parts of plaster.
–    Deterioration of structural elements like concrete / steel, reducing the self-life of the building.

Issues in the Internal surface

–    Termite infestation leading to deterioration of wood-works.
–    Molds growth.
–    Efflorescence of walls, tiles, stones.
–    Bleaching and flaking of paint.
–    Deterioration of carpet & furniture.
–    Popping and removal of plaster.
–    Collapsing of ceiling.

Solution

  • Once spotted, one must find the main source of moisture before embarking on a programme of treatment and prevention involving a combination of good ventilation, heat, damp-proof courses and good maintenance.
  • Before initiating any kind of repair, it’s highly important to understand what caused the issue.

Moisture Intrusion Assessment through Thermal Imaging Technology By MACJ – A Buyers Choice Home Inspections

Detecting moisture intrusion problems is an application for thermal imaging. Moisture intrusion may be identified through basic visual inspection if it has led to obvious defects, such as staining or mold growth.  By the time visible evidence has presented itself, however, significant damage may have already been done.  In many cases, moisture or water intrusion may have been developing for a while before obvious signs become apparent.  By employing thermal imaging technology, we can locate moisture / damp issues before they become large problems and lead to serious damage, as well as gather details in cases where moisture intrusion has already become obvious.

Scope of Work

We provide one stop solution in collaboration with a Global MNC using Thermal Imaging Infrared Technology having experienced team:

  • Moisture mapping assessment through inspection and thermal imaging technology.
  • Scanning of the walls, ceiling & floor with Thermal Imaging Technology.
  • Inspection of the related Plumbing systems / Shafts.
  • Identifying the source of seepage, moisture, damp.
  • Step wise solution recommendations.

Result

  • Long Term Solution
  • Mostly non-destructive solution
  • Cost of repair much lower
  • Life of property and humans increases or does not Deteriorate

Our Expertise & Direct relevant experience

  • Moisture/ damp/ seepage/ leakage assessment of Residential units / Offices / Bungalows.
  • Moisture/ damp/ seepage/ leakage assessment through thermal imaging of a premium commercial office of one the largest business groups in India.
  • Inspection of untraceable leak in a large banquet hall – water dripping into lower floors.
  • Inspection of Damp / Seepage of basements in buildings (old /new) with premium multiple units
  • Damp / Seepage assessment of roofs of buildings (residential / commercial).
  • Moisture/ damp/ seepage/ leakage assessment through thermal imaging of a premium office complex and of a premier shopping mall.

Moisture Intrusion

Moisture intrusion can be the cause of building defects, as well as health ailments for the building’s occupants. We should have at least a basic understanding of how moisture may enter a building, and where problem areas commonly occur.

Some common moisture-related problems include:

  • High indoor humidity and resulting condensation;
  • Expansive soil, which may crack the foundation through changes in volume, or softened soil, which may lose its ability to support an overlying structure;
  • Undermined foundations;
  • Metal corrosion;
  • Mold growth, mold can only grow in the presence of high levels of moisture. People who suffer from the following conditions can be seriously harmed (even fatally) if exposed to elevated levels of airborne mold spores:
    • asthma;
    • allergies;
    • lung disease; and/or
    • compromised immune systems.

Note:  People who do not suffer from these ailments may still be harmed by elevated levels of airborne mold spores.

How does moisture get into the house?

Moisture or water vapour moves into a house in the following ways:

  • Air infiltration, air movement accounts for more than 98% of all water vapour movement in building cavities. Air naturally moves from high-pressure areas to lower ones by the easiest path possible, such as a hole or crack in the building envelope. Moisture transfer by air currents is very fast (in the range of several hundred cubic feet of air per minute). Replacement air will infiltrate through the building envelope unless unintended air paths are carefully and permanently sealed;
  • By diffusion through building material, most building materials slow moisture diffusion, to a large degree, although they never stop it completely;
  • Leaks from roof;
  • Plumbing leaks;
  • Flooding, which can be caused by seepage from runoff or rising groundwater; it may be seasonal or catastrophic; and
  • Human activities, including bathing, cooking, dishwashing and washing clothes. Indoor plants, too, may be a significant source of high levels of humidity.

Climate Zones

Moisture vapour problems are driven primarily by high indoor relative humidity levels, combined with low outdoor temperatures during the winter. The problem is largely driven by high outdoor humidity and low indoor temperatures during summer months. Mixed climates are exposed to both conditions and can experience both types of problems. Humid climates, in general, will be more of a problem than dry climates. Wind-driven rain is the main cause of leaks through the building envelope.

Inspectors can check for moisture intrusion in the following areas:

Roofs

A roof leak may lead to the growth of visible mold colonies that can grow unnoticed. Roof penetrations increase the likelihood of water leaks due to failed gaskets, sealants and flashing. The number of roof penetrations may be reduced by a variety of technologies and strategies, including:

  • Parapet wall joints and flashing.
  • Proper slope and adequate drain outlets with proper grouting around.
  • Termination of drain outlet / plumbing pipes in a channelized way.
  • Suitable water proofing course on roof surface.
  • Electrically powered HVAC equipment; and adequate flashing.
  • Oftentimes, inspectors discover missing, incorrectly installed or corroded flashing pipes.

Plumbing

  • Distribution pipes and plumbing fixtures can be the source of large amounts of moisture intrusion. If the wall is moist and/or discoloured, then moisture damage is already in progress. Most plumbing is hidden in the walls, so serious problems can begin unnoticed.
  • One of the most important means of moisture management in the bathroom is the exhaust fan. A non-functioning exhaust fan overloads the bathroom with damp air. If the exhaust fan doesn’t work recommend switching the wiring or switch. The lack of an exhaust fan should be called out in the inspection report. The fan should vent into the exterior.
  • The bathroom sink, in particular, is a common source of moisture intrusion and damage. Although overflow drains can prevent the spillage of water onto the floor, they can become corroded and allow water to enter the cabinet.
  • Use a moisture meter to check for elevated moisture levels in the sub-floor around the toilet and tub.
  • Bathroom windows need to perform properly in a wide range of humidity and temperature conditions. Check to see if there are any obvious breaks in the weather stripping and seals. Are there any stains or flaking on the painted surfaces?
  • Check showers and bathtubs. Is the caulking is cracked, stiff or loose in spots? Are there cracked tiles or missing grout that may channel water to vulnerable areas? If some water remains in the bathtub after draining, it may be a warning sign of possible structural weakening and settlement in the floor beneath the tub.

Foundations

Model building codes typically require damp-proofing of foundation walls. The damp-proofing shall be applied from the top of the footing to the finished grade. Parting of foundation walls should be damp-proofed in one of the following ways:

  • bituminous coating;
  • 3 pounds per square yard of acrylic modified cement;
  • 1/8-inch coat of surface-bonding cement; or
  • any material permitted for water-proofing.
  • Brick pointing and plastering at Tie beam to Plinth level with proper curing.

In summary, moisture can enter a building in a number of different ways. High levels of moisture can cause building defects and health ailments.

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