Signs of dampness or moisture are common but not the knowledge about its sources and effects. Read this article to know the sources and effects of dampness in a house.

Top 7 Sources of Dampness in a House & its Harmful Effects

Flaky paint, leaky ceiling, wet and patchy walls – Aren’t these a common sight in most houses we see around us? Let’s face it, our own houses, too, must have had one or a few of these imperfections at some point in time. We noticed; we disliked; we thought of doing something about it; and perhaps, we moved on! – Often, taking inadequate or no measures at all. But do you know – dampness is one of the most harmful things that can cause a building to deteriorate prematurely? Worse – it affects the health of the residents severely.

To prevent a house from becoming damp, we must know the reasons behind it. Faulty sills, bad masonry work, subsoil water in the foundation are just some of the most common causes of dampness in a building. What are the other sources of dampness? What are the effects of it? Read on to know it all.

Sources of Dampness in Buildings

There are a number of sources of dampness in buildings. Some of the common causes are as follows:

Improper plumbing installation in buildings can lead to leakage/dampness problems with gradual use.

1. Improper Plumbing Installation

Improper plumbing installation in buildings can lead to leakage/dampness problems with gradual use. This can be due to the following few things:

  • If FTA (female threaded adapter) of a plumbing fitting is installed inside the tiles then an extension piece is required. This creates an extra joint in the pipeline which may lead to leakage.
  • UPVC pipe used in a hot water line is an example of the incorrect material selected as per its properties. In such cases, the material, unable to withstand high temperatures, will begin to degrade and break down leading to leakage.
  • The wrong solvent-material used for joining pipes can be another cause of plumbing failure. For example, if pipes are made of UPVC, the solvent or glue to be used should also be UPVC-compatible. The same is applicable to CPVC pipes. Any incompatibility here can lead to leakage and dampness due to a less firm joint.
  • If grouting is not provided at the junction around bathroom floor drain outlet pipe, there will be spreading of moisture. This will ultimately lead to unhealthy & unhygienic conditions for residents and can lead to deterioration at below storey ceiling surfaces in due course of time.
  • Loose plumbing fitting or inadequate tightening of plumbing fitting with FTA or other faulty workmanship at the time of installation etc. are also one of the common reasons which lead to leakage/ dampness problem.
If the waterproofing membranes are not overlapped properly, rainwater can seep through the gaps.

2. Faulty waterproofing

If the waterproofing membranes are not overlapped properly, rainwater can seep through the gaps. Besides, wrong sloping, defective junctions between the slab of the roof, terrace and parapet of the wall, and clogged outlets may also lead to water stagnation resulting in dampness.

Moisture intrusion can also happen if no fillet or drip mould is provided at the chhajja.

3. The intrusion of rainwater through walls

Most common damage inside homes occurs due to water seepage from the gaps between window frame & external wall. Gap will be a source for moisture to flow inside the home. If gaps are not filled properly, it will lead to moisture intrusion, paint deterioration & damage to inside walls.

Moisture intrusion can also happen if no fillet or drip mould is provided at the chhajja. Also, If the paint used on the exterior wall is not of water-repelling variety then moisture can settle beneath the coat and spread internally over time. In both cases, exterior walls begin to deteriorate fast due to moisture.

Sometimes defective construction materials are used during the construction of the building which can lead to construction quality issues.

4. Poor construction materials

Sometimes defective construction materials are used during the construction of the building which can lead to construction quality issues. For example: If poor quality materials are used like sand with excess salt then efflorescence will happen sooner or later. Poor quality bricks will swell upon absorbing rainwater leading to dampness.

5. Indoor Plants

Most plants release moisture into the surrounding air through small pores called stomata on the leaves – a process called transpiration. This increases the moisture content1 of the indoor air. But not all plants are humidifying. Moreover, you must know how much to water your potted green friends so that they do not release excess moisture into the air. A little knowledge of indoor gardening can help you avoid dampness in your home while still making it eco-friendly and sustainable.

Vegetation growth around the wall is very harmful as vegetation in and around the walls leads to cracks in them and over time these cracks widen.

6. Vegetation

Vegetation growth around the wall is very harmful as vegetation in and around the walls leads to cracks in them and over time these cracks widen. Water deposits in these cracks causing further dampness.

Dampness is inevitable if your house is improperly ventilated.

7. Improper Ventilation

Dampness is inevitable if your house is improperly ventilated. Numerous processes like exhalation by the inmates of the house, cooking, and use of geyser in the bathroom add moisture to the indoor air. If the area is closed, this excess moisture gets trapped. There should be proper air circulation in the house so that an optimum moisture level is maintained and indoor air quality never deteriorates.

Dampness has serious consequences on the health of a building.

Adverse effects of Dampness in a House / Property

Dampness has serious consequences on the health of a building. It needs to be dealt with urgency. Otherwise, a culmination of all these damages may eventually lower its life expectancy.

  • Pest and insect growth: Damp households cause unhygienic conditions of living. Damp places attract microbes and insects. Damp places are breeding places of gregarious pests like mosquitoes, flies, and termites. Respiratory problems, wheezing skin rashes, allergies are often found in inhabitants living in damp areas.
  • Electric appliance damage: Moisture present in a house, if it comes in contact with the electric appliances, will damage them. This can also lead to serious problems like electrocution of the appliance and the person handling it might suffer an electric shock. So it is very important that areas around the switchboard and wiring have no moisture deposition.
  • Damage to doors and walls: Damp environment can have serious damage to wooden doors and windows. This leads to termite infestation in them along with swelling up of the wood. Doors and windows may even completely get damaged becoming function-less. In severe cases, installations might get damaged.
  • Damage to wooden furniture: A humid indoor atmosphere can affect the wooden furniture and other materials made of wood in the house. Wood absorbs moisture and swells up and this is certainly not good for the longevity of the furniture.
  • Corrosion of metal: Metal appliances, furniture or other items may get corroded due to the presence of moisture. Metals attract moisture and rust or lose the sheen with time. Metal installations may even become brittle and break off. This is dangerous especially in the case of railings and grills.
  • The efflorescence of plaster, bricks and paint: As already discussed, dampness renders bricks and plaster to crumble. Porosity increases and the strength of the materials decrease which is harmful to the building. The coating of paint also turns flaky and tends to fall off. This gives a nasty feel & look to the house. Peeling of the paint exposes the walls and ceiling to further damage.
  • Unpleasant-looking household: Damp patches on the walls with algal spores growing on them give a bad and unwelcoming look to the house. A stale, suffocating smell fills the air. This smell can cause allergy and skin diseases in many individuals.
A damp house is a constant source of illness. Dampness affects your two most important assets - your home and your health.

Effects of Dampness – On Health

A damp house is a constant source of illness. It causes:

  • Respiratory ailments: Allergic rhinitis, chronic to acute breathing problems or asthma
  • Skin ailments: Rashes and redness
  • Recurring cold and flu
  • Depression

Therefore practically, dampness affects your two most important assets- your home and your health. Can anything be scarier than this?

Watch the video for better understanding:

Last but not the least, dampness lowers your living standards. Who would like to reside in a perennially cold, stale-smelling house? To avoid this unpleasant situation, the source and the cause of damp should be identified first, and then repaired for a permanent cure.

Nowadays, waterproofing and damp-proofing materials are available widely in the market to shield your abode from dampness and its harmful effects. With the advancement in technology, effective moisture and damp assessment can be done with thermal imaging technology, as well. You must opt for professionals for effective detection of dampness for ensuring a healthy home.

Don’t make living with dampness a habit. Take definitive steps to get rid of this hidden devil corroding away your hygiene and safety silently but steadily.

Water leakage can cause serious damage including health problems in a house. Know common causes of water leakages in homes.

Most Common Causes of Water Leakages in Homes

Water leakage is a serious issue inside a house which should be dealt with in urgency. There are quite a number of factors and reasons contributing to water leakage – it may be leaking plumbing lines or corrosion in plumbing lines, cracks in the walls, damaged waterproofing in the roof, or a leaking AC. Water leakage inside the house leads to serious issues like stale-smelling indoors, growth of microbes, pests inside the house, damaged property and a lot more. So, while you need a thorough health check-up of the house, here’s a heads up about the possible causes and their effects.

Leakage can waste water, damage your home, and encourage unwanted organic growth. Watch out for these common signals of water leakage.

Water Leakage: Signs and Signals

Leakage can waste water, damage your home, and encourage unwanted organic growth. As you cannot see most of the pipework in your home, you may not always know that a leak has formed.

One of the best ways to protect your home from future leaks is to understand and look for common situations that cause leaks. Watch out for these common signals of water leakage:

  • Dark patches on the walls and ceiling
  • A stale and musty odour
  • Peeling off of paint and plaster crumble
  • Visual leaks
  • The occurrence of pests, especially termites
  • Watermarks and discolouration

A dampened environment in your house can lead to serious problems which are also signals of water leakage / seepage in your house. Skin rashes and allergy, asthma, nasal and throat congestion, coughing and wheezing can be caused by dampness due to water leakage or the bacteria which grows inside the household as a result of dampening.

One of the best ways to protect your home from future leaks is to understand and know common causes of Water Leakage Inside the House.

Common Causes of Water Leakage inside the House

  • Leakage from underneath the water sink can be a serious problem. This can happen due to loose or improper connection at the bottle trap or waste coupler tread joint.
  • Dripping faucets can be a serious and common problem of water leakage. Over tightening of a tap can cause it to leak. When a tap is hardened too much, it starts to develop a leak due to the wearing and tearing of the tap washer. A loose operating head or lever can lead to a similar problem. Sometimes debris get stuck inside the tap which may cause it to leak. Another common case is when people do not turn them off well enough.
  • Leaking pipes are a major contributor to water leakage in households. They are often embedded inside walls and are difficult to detect. You only get to know when the wall surfaces start to deteriorate. It is a clear sign of dampness which is difficult to get rid of.
  • If there are any leakage or moisture-related issues in the wall for some reason, vegetation will grow on the walls. This vegetation develops further cracks in the wall causing further deterioration.
  • In case of negligence, if cavities and holes are left in the wall, they behave as a source of attracting and storing moisture. They cause water seepage and an unhealthy condition in the household.
  • If your plumbing system is extremely old, rust and other forms of corrosion may wear it away. There will be discolouration on your pipes. This will cause water leakage inside the household. Rust can have other damaging effects too. Accumulation of rust may block the flow of water in the pipes resulting in the raising of water pressure and leakage. Severe rusting may also weaken the pipes and erode through the pipes causing leaks. To understand where leakage can happen, you need to understand the plumbing system of your home.
  • Damaged pipe joints are another common reason for water leakage in a building. Do you know why? – Because, the place where pipes connect often represents the weakest point in a line. It is always under significant pressure. Similarly, we have to avoid usage of extension piece for FTA(Female thread adapter – which is used to connect plumbing line to tap) during improper installation of plumbing fitting. Over time, these pipe joints deteriorate causing leakage.
  • Extreme temperature changes inside the pipelines can cause it to expand and contract alternately, which may cause cracks to develop inside the pipeline. This will cause leakage inside the pipelines. However, this is common mostly in hilly areas like Shimla, Dalhousie, Gangtok, etc.
  • Refrigerators1 or water purifiers2 can also cause water leakage inside your household. If these go unnoticed for a long period of time, they can cause serious damage to your floor. It is also extremely unsafe to use the appliances while they are leaking as they may result in an electric shock.
  • Leaky roofs, mainly caused due to deteriorated waterproofing, can contribute to water seepage inside the house. The improper slope can cause rainwater to accumulate on the rooftop / terrace which may then seep into the house.You must also make sure that there are no open electrical conduits on the rooftop or else, leaking water may enter the wiring system and cause serious problems downward (in case of the connection running downward).
  • All types of pipes and faucets are manufactured to withstand up to a certain level of water pressure. Any extra pressure or uneven surge can put a strain on them causing them to give away after a certain point in time. The result is leakage.
Water leakage is a significant problem which needs to be addressed at the earliest. Know the effects of water leakage in house.

Effects of Water Leakage in House

  • Unhygienic conditions: Water and moisture inside a house are accompanied by bacterial and fungal growth. This might lead to diseases like asthma, allergic rhinitis, skin rashes, depression and so on.
  • Disintegration: Porous walls hold moisture for a longer time which may lead to deterioration of the walls & further damage. The bricks may develop cracks and fissures due to alternate cooling and expansion of water present in them.
  • Decaying windows and doors: Moisture may lead to the decay of windows and doors. They swell and tend to touch the floor causing obstruction during opening & closing and other related damages. The decay of wood frames, ironwork, bricks, etc may also be caused by moisture.
  • Plaster crumbles: On absorbing moisture, plaster turns soft and crumbles giving an ugly appearance to the walls.
  • Damaged wooden furniture: Wooden furniture gets damaged on continuous exposure to a damp environment.
  • Wall decorations are damaged: Wall decorations such as cladding, wallpapering, timber handicrafts are damaged as they absorb moisture from the damp walls. This ruins the aesthetics & weakens the structural integrity of your house completely which cannot be redone without solving the leakage problems from the core.
  • Termite infestation: Dampness attracts gregarious pests in a home – be it cockroaches, ants or termites. In fact, termites prefer living in areas with high moisture content. They infest damp walls making them porous and damage wooden furniture and structures.
  • Damage of electrical equipment: Electrical equipment may get damaged and short circuits may happen. It is extremely dangerous to use electrical installations in such situations. So, you must try to avoid dampness caused due to leakage / seepage, in the first place, especially where there are electrical outlets like appliances and switches and also see to it that water does not come in contact with the electrical wiring of the house.

Trust us, water leakage (and seepage) which is the main culprit behind dampness can be a real threat to your home. Fix it before it costs you your peace of mind.

Moisture assessment can be done in a better way with help of advanced thermal imaging technology.

Moisture assessment using thermal imaging technology

Thanks to the advancement of technology, infrared cameras or thermal imagers are making moisture assessment in buildings easier than ever. These cameras can swiftly and, most importantly, non-invasively focus on the probable areas of anomalies caused by excessive evaporative moisture cooling. The images formed on the lens of these devices actually show patterns of moisture-spread that only trained eyes can decipher. Hence, only professionals associated with building investigation should be relied upon for such a technology-centric yet accurate investigation procedure. Here’s more on thermal imaging3 and why it is becoming essential for moisture detection.

Watch this to get a clearer idea of how leakage/seepage is detected in a home:

Your home is the place where you spend the maximum of your time. After a hectic day at work, we get back to our home and relax. We would definitely not like to stay in a stale smelling, unhygienic and dampened house where water is leaking. Our home is our abode which should brighten up our mood. A dampened environment would make us gloomy. Water leakage / seepage inside the house should be tracked down and be treated at the earliest possible time as it is not only unhygienic but also unsafe. It is always advisable to take the help of professionals – the home inspectors for this or else you may overlook some issues or end up doing a wrong assessment of the problem. By employing thermal imaging technology, any hidden leakage can be detected to the source before they become large problem and lead to serious damage which can make your home unhealthy.

8 Moisture Warning Signals in Your Home

Prevention is better than Cure

1. Dark Patches
2. Peeling off or other paint deterioration
3. Damp and Musty Odour
4. Visible water stains or Discolouration
5. Gatherings of Pests
6. Visual leaks
7. Condition of wooden furniture
8. Health Symptoms

Homes are supposed to protect us from the harmful things from outside like water, wind, and extreme temperatures. But sometimes, however, our homes fail to serve its purpose and moisture enters into our house.

As a homeowner, moisture is one of the most common and annoying problems you can face. Moisture / Dampness in buildings is a major factor that contributes to mould growth, unhealthy buildings, and poor indoor air quality. Moisture is one of the most important agents of building deterioration.

Moisture Intrusion is an often-unseen problem lurking in many homes. A little excess water in the wrong place can cause many other problems, such as mould growth, pest infestations, weakened building structures and unhealthy living conditions.

In many cases, moisture problems in houses or buildings are easy to get missed until they have progressed to the point of despair.

“Prevention is better than cure”. Early detection of these problems is significant for minimizing the extent and cost of the damage. But, how can you identify a moisture problem at the earliest?

Let us go through warning signs of moisture that homeowners should be on the lookout for:

1. Dark Patches in Home Elements

One of the most common signs of water-related problems in any structure is the appearance of dark patches in walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. As water seeps into building materials, it tends to cause them to look visibly dark.

Homeowners can often find these dark patches in ceilings after a heavy storm which indicates source of moisture can be in roof or sometimes due to floor / unit above if there is a leaky pipe there.

2. Peeling off or other paint deterioration on the surface finish

High humidity levels can cause wallpaper or paint finish to peel from the wall. Too much moisture behind the walls can eventually cause paint and wallpaper to start peeling or bubbling. If you see wallpaper or paint peeling or even protruding out like a bubble, it could indicate a moisture problem. Sometimes airborne moisture vapour gets behind the wallpaper and mixes with the glue, causing it to peel. Peeling off paint is mainly caused by moisture on the surface, poor surface preparation, using an incorrect painting method. Other paint deterioration like cracking or blistering paint on exterior or interior finishes can also happen due to these reasons.

3. Damp and Musty Odour

One of the most common signs of a moisture problem is the presence of strong, musty odour. This sign is a strong indicator that there is water damage somewhere nearby – possibly in the building materials hidden from your direct view. If you have a persistent, musty, damp smell in your bathroom, even after repeated cleanings, you may have moisture-related problem in the walls and subfloor. If a proper ventilation system does not help, you probably have a moisture build-up below the surface of walls or the floor. This odour is often caused by bacteria and mould growth that feeds on the excess moisture in a dark, cool space.

4. Visible Water Stains or Discolouration

A water stain will form a dark yellowish colour on your ceiling in a slightly deformed shape. This yellowish colour will soon turn into brown colour, and in fact, it may even start off sometimes as brown colour right at the beginning. It can be the symptom of a much larger problem and this is something that you should look into immediately. Some common causes of Water Stains on Ceilings are leaking pipes, leakage from roof and water seeping from upper unit / floor areas.

Stains or Discolouration can be prevented by reducing the accumulation of moisture in the wall / ceiling. Yellow, brown or black stains etc on your walls are signs of water damage from behind them.

5. Gatherings of Pests

Water is a necessity for life – and pests like ants, cockroaches, rodents, termites are no exception. As the humidity rises in your home, pests such as these will migrate inside your home, where they will begin to reproduce. A sudden increase in the presence of pests could be an indirect indication that there is a suitable source of water in your home. Of course, other nutrient sources, such as open food containers, exposed trash bins, and the like can also attract pests.

6. Visual leaks

Water is the enemy of every home. Being a homeowner, if you find unwanted water in your home, you should make every effort to find the root cause as quickly as possible. You need to do periodical visual checks of moisture / leakage / seepage in the home and get them repaired. Some leaks can be easily found by visual checking whereas, some leaks are concealed inside wall / structure.

7. Check the condition of wooden furniture

Damaged wood is a classic sign of elevated moisture levels. Because wood is porous, it absorbs moisture from the affected area as well as from the air as humidity levels change. This will cause the wood to swell and shrink with the changes. Check the integrity of wood by lightly pressing it. If it is soft, you know it has weakened from moisture damage.

8. Health Symptoms

One of the most annoying problems of moisture is its effect on our health. Common human health hazards associated with moisture / dampness in home include: respiratory (nasal and throat) symptoms, Asthma symptoms in sensitized persons with asthma, Cough, Wheeze, Allergies, Skin Diseases etc. People often ignore these important visual signs of moisture, but it can be harmful for your health.

Understanding and Detecting the Moisture Problem

If you have spotted one of the signs above, then it is important to understand about moisture problem and know the actual source of it. For that, you need professional help who will use moisture meter1 and advanced thermal imaging technology which can detect hidden / concealed leaks in the structure and give you long term – least destructive – low cost solutions.

If you feel your home has a moisture problem, you should take immediate action to solve it. Ignoring these signs will only make the problem progressively worse.

Apart from this, it is advisable to get a moisture / damp inspection before spending on costly waterproofing treatment or other related repair works.

Effective Ways to avoid Seepage at Home/ Property

An important step towards a happy life is good health. And good health can only be achieved in a clean, hygienic and healthy environment. Seepage is a very common problem which the majority of Indian Households must have had experienced at some point of time. The moisture and dampness due to seepage can result in fungal and bacterial growth which in turn could cause various allergies and other health-related problems to the occupants of the home.

The effects of water damage on your home as well as health can be far-reaching, and it may have massive damage. Therefore, ensuring that your home / office is free from any possible leakage and dampness has become one of the most important factors to understand and attend.

Some possible reasons for seepage

  • It can happen due to faulty internal plumbing:
    • Leaky drainage pipes or plumbing fittings at home
    • Outflow in the water supply pipes
    • A leakage in the neighborhood property’s internal plumbing (eg – Leakage from Bathroom or Kitchen on the Floor Above.)
  • If a gap exists between the walls of your home and the neighboring building, this would also cause water to seep through.
  • Water dampness and seepage happens when the exterior walls are not plastered properly or due to the use of poor-quality plastering materials. And seepage can also happen through exterior walls from gaps around window frame.
  • Seepage of water through floor tiles in bathrooms/kitchens of floor/flat / terrace above.
  • Poor waterproofing at the time of construction.

Ways to avoid seepage problems in your home

1. Repair cracks on walls

Cracks are among the root causes of moisture in your home. Due to cracks at the external wall, rainwater and moisture will enter the wall surface thereby affecting adjacent / in-house wall surfaces and will weaken the integrity of associated elements. If cracks not treated at the right time, can increase in depth and lead to further deterioration in the affected area. So it is important to fix or repair the cracks to have long lasting homes1.

2. Reduce indoor humidity

Sometimes we choose to dry laundry indoors. Drying it indoors is one of the causes which lead to humidity.

And the kitchen is also a place in home, where steam gets generated due to cooking. One of the easiest way for reduced humidity is to keep your windows regularly opened and home well ventilated. Budget-friendly ways of getting rid of humidity & moisture in your home is by getting installed an exhaust fan, especially in your kitchen, bathroom and other household activity area where water is frequently used. But if you are still facing the problem of humidity, then you also can opt for a dehumidifier. Read How to Control Humidity in Your Home Using a Dehumidifier?

3. Good-quality paints with specific property

If the paint on your wall is of inferior or poor quality, it tends to seep in moisture through concrete, which can damage the exterior and interior walls. This can result in weakening the strength of overall structure of your property and also make it appear unpleasant.

Apart from good quality, it is an important point to keep in mind: interior or exterior areas need a specific type of paint. Different paints have different properties and are formulated for different purposes. For example:  Exterior grade paints are used for exterior areas as they have resistance to cracking and dirt resistance, as well as provide protection from the damage ultraviolet (UV) rays cause.

4. Follow the finishing procedure properly

There are different layers to the final finishing of wall – like plaster, putty, primer and paint. If incorrect procedure followed at any layer like improper curing & poor surface preparation etc for the plastered surface finish at the external wall, then this can lead to cracks or surface damage. Thereby it can lead to a seepage problem, if left unnoticed. So, it is important to follow proper procedures in all layers of finishing.

5. Perform a visual check

Some visual checking that can be performed by a layman are as follows:

  • Check out for water pocket (or can say water getting accumulated) around drain outlet or any pipe blockage in the bathroom / kitchen, etc.
  • Check if any presence of algae or plant growth at exterior walls. The Existence of plants in an external wall or other parts of the building can cause cracks in walls which can lead to moisture intrusion.
  • There are some gaps which need to be sealed –gap around window and door frame; sink installation; AC gas pipe sleeve, drain outlet, gap at tile joints etc. It is important to seal all these gaps to save from the damage to home/property in future.

These checks will give you a basic idea about the moisture intrusion in your home.  In case of any issues, seek the services of a professional expert who would perform a thorough scan of the house using advanced thermal imaging technology2, and recommend an appropriate solution.

Common Mistake while dealing with seepage/ damp problems

Most of the painters or other vendors usually fix the problem of seepage/leakage/wall paint peel off or dampness on the wall simply by applying waterproofing solutions on the affected areas and repainting it again with the paint. This is indeed one of the most common mistakes done to solve the seepage problem of home/property as it will solve the issue temporarily and the problem will occur soon again after a few days. Reason is the root cause of seepage/moisture-related problem has not been fixed well. The very first step to solve the seepage/leakage problem is to find the source of the problem in the property. By employing thermal imaging technology, the source of seepage problem can be found out without damaging the property and can save you from The Invisible Silent Killer.

Our objective of writing this content was to share with you some effective ways to avoid seepage at your home or other property. If you are facing a seepage problem, check for all the possible causes in your house. If you want an expert advice, then damp inspection  using advanced thermal imaging technology can help you by detecting the exact source of this problem which will provide a long-term solution.

Beware a Damp House is Wrecking Your Health

Ever wondered how damp in your house is playing with your health? Yes, the dampness on the wall here and there not only spoil the look of your home but impact the health of your family too. India being a tropical country, the building structures here are exposed to a high amount of moisture and humidity. Thus, they become more susceptible to damp development. When you are living in such a home, one thing leads to another and before you even know, your health is at risk too. Research suggests that on an average, we spend around 16 hours in our home. So, it is easy to apprehend how much at risk we are of developing health disorders due to damp. Common human health hazards associated with a damp house include:

  • Upper respiratory (nasal and throat) symptoms
  • Asthma symptoms in sensitized persons with asthma
  • Cough
  • Wheeze
  • Allergies
  • Skin Diseases
  • Migraine Headaches & Depression

What are the reasons and how does damp wreaks havoc on our health? We have listed out a few points below for you:

1. Flourishing Pathogens

When you have damp in your home, it means excess moisture has been accumulated. Guess what it is best for enabling pathogens and all kinds of germs to flourish and reproduce in higher numbers. Besides viruses and bacteria, other microorganisms like fungi and algae also proliferate in a moist environment. These microorganisms, being pathogenic, bring forth health disorders of various types. They release harmful chemicals in the air that pollute the indoor atmosphere or act as allergens causing mild to severe irritations in different parts of the body. If dampness persists these irritations tend to become chronic in nature.

2. Humid conditions make transmission faster

If multiplying by leaps and bounds was not enough, the transmission of viruses and bacteria and other microbes is facilitated in humid conditions. When you present them a humid indoor environment, they tend to spread exponentially.

Look at what’s happening in the current pandemic situation! Earlier it was said that COVID-19 can flourish only in cold climates. But more recent evidence shows that it can be transmitted in all areas including hot and humid places1. Actually, virus thrives inside the human body the normal temperature of which is 36.5-degree to 37-degree Celsius. This is regardless of the external temperature and weather conditions. So, apart from maintaining basic hygiene, it is advisable to keep your house as damp-free as possible to restrict the transmission of viruses.

3. Flourishing dust mites

Dust mites are popular in households where the temperature is considerably high and the moisture level is also in excess. They are the catalyst to give rise to allergy, stuffy nose, respiratory problems and asthma. So, if you have experienced stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and breathing problem then you might want to look into the condition of your house. These symptoms can further give birth to health problems that will cost you in the long run. It is better to invest some money in your house now or at least take suitable care.

4. Welcoming pests

Well, mosquitoes and flies infested every part of the house, spiders spinning cobwebs in every corner, the occasional screeching of mice or musk-rats- is this how you picture your home? Damp build-up welcomes all these pests and other unwanted ones too. They have a directly proportionate relationship with damp which means the greater the damp in the house, the more is the number of pests. Now would you want to live in a house with humans or disgusting pets? If the former option is your choice then get rid of this unhealthy living condition immediately. It affects your immune system, breathing pattern and slowly destroys your health.

5. Cold climate

Several types of research have shown that a cold indoor climate is the result of dampness in those regions where it is not naturally cold outside. Unmaintained house, damaged roofs and walls are the common causes but it could also be because of the lack of proper ventilation. Humans can stay overall healthy if the environment in which he or she is living is dry with optimum moisture content in the air. If the house becomes a place where it is difficult to breathe then it is obvious that the environment isn’t right.

Cold indoor atmosphere adversely affects respiratory health. A significant number of people in the world suffer from asthma2 which is often linked with damp indoors. Chronic coughing, wheezing, breathing difficulty are the health problems which lead a person towards asthma. And asthma could be life-threatening. It just gets worse if not treated in the right way with the right amount of attention.

Other diseases that are common in the inmates of damp houses are:

Allergic Rhinitis: Characterized by frequent sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, itchy eyes, and post-nasal drip, allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory condition of the mucus membrane inside the nose. It is caused by viruses, bacteria, and allergens. Some of the external triggers of allergic rhinitis include humidity3 chemicals, and air pollution (indoor or outdoor) etc.

Skin diseases: Most of the skin infections are caused by fungus. Fungal spores are the causal agent of these diseases. To understand more, click here4.

Migraine: One of the most common triggers of migraine is the weather. Whenever there is high (or low) humidity, there is a change in the oxygen levels in the air. The air becomes saturated with moisture in high humidity conditions reducing oxygen levels significantly. As a result, it becomes difficult for the brain of the people with migraine to receive the right amount of oxygen to function properly. Result? – Unusual expansion or contraction of the blood vessels to compensate for the lack of oxygen, exerting tremendous pressure on the nerve fibres. Therefore, indoor humidity too may trigger a migraine5 headache.

Depression: Dampness and growth of fungus in poorly ventilated homes have been long associated with depression6. One should be careful about it before it takes the turn of clinical depression.

To make your life a little easy, here are some common signs of damp to watch out:

  • Damp patches – A patch is a sign of damp commonly seen on the ceiling, walls, behind the WC in the bathroom etc. Damp patches on walls are generally the result of penetration7, where water from outside gets into the brickwork through gaps and cracks.
  • Musty damp smell – The first and the foremost thing about damps are they are musty and smell bad. The freshness of a room gets evaporated with damp walls. So, always keep an eye on this.
  • Peeling and flaky paint – The most common thingin a house that has been ignored. Once you start noticing this, get a professional inspection done and get it fixed.
  • Cold in-house atmosphere – Do you wonder why your house feels cold be it summer or winter? Well, it’s the damp dude!
  • Discoloured walls – Discoloration is characterized by localized darkening of the original color of walls.

You can read this article for a better understanding of the same.

You should take proactive steps to reduce indoor air pollution because if you want to live a healthy life, your home is where you should start. Our environment plays a major role in our mental and physical well-being. So when it’s damp and dirty, it is not only creating a negative space you are living in but also and most importantly it is affecting your health in a way you might not anticipate. In such cases, it is sooner the better. Go for a professional damp inspection which will help in detecting the source of dampness with help of thermal imaging technology and take decisive action to eliminate damp from your house at the earliest.

Old Problems in Modern House: Seepage and High Moisture

Mr. and Mrs. Chowdhury are a newly-married couple dwelling in a posh colony in Kolkata where they bought a house just after their marriage and are living there for since a few months. Well, the house is not a new one and the couple did not get much time to renovate. One day their neighbour Mr. Roy visited them. After chit-chats for a while he asked whether they planned to paint the house soon. When they replied in positive, Mr. Roy said, “Well, I have been a civil engineer all my life. Take my suggestions. Check the building for moisture seepage or water leakage.”

“There are damp spots here and there, Uncle. I’m thinking of repainting the whole thing. She was suggesting wallpapers. We haven’t decided what we’d do” said Mr. Chowdhury.

“Son, seepage problem and issues of high moisture / damp in even a modern building are like old wine in a new bottle. Never ever do the mistake of repainting over it. You have no idea how freaking this can be. Let me enlighten you a bit.

Let’s first know why moisture accumulates in your house. There can be external and internal reasons. What else other than the weather can be the external cause? You see, in a humid weather condition like Kolkata, your house is always exposed to high moisture. How frequent are we experiencing days-long depressions? Last it was Bulbul, earlier it was Fani, can you see how common it is becoming? And then the regular rains. To be truthful, we are completely helpless against nature. Least we can do is take care of our home and apply damp-proof1 measures in their place.

That reminds me, keep in mind it is not only your ceiling which stares at you with its damp spots. You can never imagine where and how you can discover moisture deposition! Behind the sofa set, the wall in between your room and bathroom, behind the WC, under the floor tiles, the geyser-mounted wall – anywhere you can come across seepage. Mind it, those areas where air does not pass and light cannot reach, are prone to develop such issues.

Now, as for internal reasons, there is not one, not two but quite a few. First of them will be the leaking pipes. Leaking fixtures, be it the exposed or the concealed pipes, brings the trouble of damp, high moisture accumulation or seepage with them.

Moving on, it is not only pipes which are the “Wanted Criminals”. Plumbing problems occur most commonly while setting up the bathroom. Faucet knobs and taps are often fixed loosely. The geyser maybe damaged, the hand-held shower can be leaky and so on and so forth. When you bought this house from the previous owners, you obviously didn’t check the bathroom like this, did you? The fancy bathroom fittings grab our eyes and we simply overlook the possibilities of plumbing faults in them.

You know Chowdhury, what happens is that the moisture and water from these faulty leaks, humidity from the weather – all these ups the moisture content of your house. Over days it goes beyond a permissible level and your house with all the modern amenities gifts you something which you never dreamt of. Flaky chunks from the walls, damp spots, swollen floor tiles will be your “home warming party gifts” a year later. Add to these, low-quality building materials and an unprincipled builder. Well, you could ask for nothing worse.”

By now Mr. and Mrs. Chowdhury were looking really worried and scared to some extent also. “What should we do Uncle?” they asked.

“Don’t worry that much. There is no problem that cannot be taken care of. Never jump to a decision before judging the circumstances well. At first, know your home well and see what is causing the damage actually. You and I may not be the right person to understand that. For that, you need the eyes of an inspector, a home inspector to be precise. I had home inspection for my house too before buying it and they said my problem was the ground below. Years ago, there might have been a water-body where the house stands now. Luckily, the house had not come up till then and I did what it required to seal the deal. The experts I hired have one more services Damp inspection, in which they use advance thermal imaging technology through which they detect the source of moisture and suggest the long term solution accordingly.

Now you may just paint the dampened areas or cover them with wallpapers. But take this for granted, these are like little crimes which you cannot hide forever. Even through the new wallpaper or new paint, the seepage marks will be as clear as daylight. Well, not immediately, but eventually of course. Why waste money like that? Instead, why not take the experts’ opinion?

Home inspectors are experts in the job of inspecting your house thoroughly and tell you the exact reasons for the nuisance you are facing with seepage issues. Don’t get disheartened by the results. You may wonder at what they find out. Home inspection service providers will give you suggestions as to what will be the best solution for you to bid goodbye to the adversities permanently.

You have many more years to stay in this home. Wouldn’t it be wonderful that your sweet abode shines every time you celebrate your togetherness? Call for home inspection today and do a thorough check up. Then when all these would be done, invite me for a sumptuous dinner, not only tea. After all, who gave you the idea to come out of this?,” smirked Mr. Roy.

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.