Issue: Condensation on walls in a tenanted house in Ashford, TN24
Survey Type Booked - Comprehensive - £195+VAT
A full written report was required for the Landlord.
We were asked by a landlord to attend a property in Ashford, Kent to investigate a damp issue that the tenant had reported. We were given no other information except that the tenant was worried about the possible health implications of dampness in the property.
The landlord paid the inspection fee of £195+VAT and we arranged with the tenant to attend the following week.
Upon arrival at the property, we met the tenant, who had just arrived back from work. We entered the house, and it was immediately evident that the inside of the property was very cold; the outside air temperature was recorded by myself outside at 4°C.
The tenant informed us that they never leave the heating on when they go to work as it costs too much money. However, when they do arrive home, they put the heating on, programmed at 22°C.
We were shown to the bedroom area where the issue was, and, as suspected, there was condensation on the walls and black spot mould rather than rising dampness.
The problem was, as is very common, on the outside wall behind the chest of drawers and wardrobes.
After a period of about 30 minutes within the property, the internal air temperature was recorded at around 16C; however, the surface temperature of the affected wall was still only recording at 9°C, whilst other exposed walls were recording at 12°C to 14°C.
We explained to the tenant the wider phenomenon of what was happening behind the furniture, how condensation on walls develops and why it was not such an issue on the other walls in the room. We investigated both the bathroom and kitchen areas, which were adjacent to the bedroom, to find that the mechanical extraction ventilation was inadequate and poor with aged units in place, one of which was not working and the other switched off. Again, the tenant was educated as to the benefits of air exchange.
We presented the tenant with one of our factual and helpful condensation control leaflets to read over and digest. We also then came up with a plan to move the furniture onto an internal wall, moving the bed to a slightly different position within the room, allowing the external wall to be uncovered.
We explained the benefits of continued heating and ventilation even when not in the property during winter months to prevent the build-up of condensation on walls. We also explained to the landlord the benefits of introducing high-quality mechanical air/heat exchange units to help control the internal environment.
And finally, we gave advice to the landlord as to the benefits of raising the surface temperature of the outside wall; firstly, after preparation and application of a thermal micro-emulsion, which has microscopic glass beads within its makeup which absorb all the internal environment, that hold onto warm air, therefore, increasing the surface temperature making it more difficult for surface condensation to be created.
Externally the property was in a well-maintained condition, and no abnormal defects were contributing to the issue other than that of the cold winter air.
It is common for condensation on walls to be misidentified as rising dampness and in this case, the landlord’s own building contractor had recommended hacking the plaster off in the bedroom up to a metre high and introducing a new damp course and re-rendering the disturbed areas, which, as we know, is completely ludicrous!!
Please contact the specialists in this area if you need advice and help.
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