Oue house is damp.

I hadn't used to be damp. I don't know what we have done to create this. Its only happened in the last couple of years.
Having gone through all the possibles it looks like its condensation. But our lifestyle hasn't changed any so I don't know why its suddenly happening. Some mornings the walls are ringing wet, especially on damp days when its cold and raining and we haven't got a lot of heating on.
The kitchen and bathroom are obviously damp places but now its spreading to the bedrooms and dining room.
We have double glazing, central heating and loft insulation etc. We have done everything to make the house energy efficient and stop global warming and my OH turned down the heating a couple of years ago - and it was then we started to get damp and it isn't stopping.
Its now costing an arm and a leg to heat properly to clear the damp.
Its so bad now I can dry clothes and put them in the airing cupboard and they get damp again. If I leave them out to air , even then they get a cold feeling. The beds worse. I put dry sheets and duvet on it and they get damp during the day , so the bed has to be stripped and aired every day and that doesn't do much really either. Its just damp.
I know they say you have to ventilate a house but how can I do this when all the double glazing etc is there to stop that without making the house cold or having to pay out in heating bills to heat the air outside? Whilst opening a window can help it doesnt cure the problem and the house then gets cold. It doesn't help with its raining though.
I just don't know what to do. OH is burying head in sand ( I guess he doesn't know either ) and I am left being constantly ill .
I had pneumonia and suffer with my chest and have scars on my lungs as a result and really do need to be warm without it costing too much and not damp.
Can someone tell me what we can do? I have looked across the internet and they don't have any practical solutions ( tried those crystal things - they pick the water up but need changing every day). I had thought of a dehumidifier but that would cost to keep on all the time too too.
The house is traditional build 1950 ish, rural area, detached, if that helps.
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Should add we are all electric. No gas to the house and the fireplaces were bricked up when the central heating was put in back in the 1970's ( before we brought it) . Hence its expensive to heat when its so damp. Double glazing went in during the early 1980's ( should we be replacing it?). But as I said, the problem has only started in the last two/ three years.
Thanks for any suggestions and advice.

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What is your heating? Do you heat the whole house, or do you not heat some rooms? Do you have trickle vents in the windows? How do you dry clothes? Do you have any extractor fans in bath/shower room? Do you boil food in saucepans, or steam food? Do you have a kitchen extractor?
Exactly where does the condensation form? Windows, external walls, internal walls, external and/or ceilings?
Do you know what type of ground floor you have (solid, suspended, etc)?
--
Andrew Gabriel
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To answer your questions - and I am grateful to all who answer. It really is a problem now because the damp is causing mould to grow and I cant stop it, not matter how much I wipe down and keep it away.

Electric storage radiators - E7. We have little or no choice to be honest. No gas to the area and LPG would be prohibitive in cost and installation and even oil proved expensive and we have to site the tanks.
The other option is to open the fire places but coal would be messy and I have no time to do the fire setting really. I dont know the state of our fireplaces behind the blocking up ( there might be nothing left) so it would cost a lot to put that in to

This is a change. We used to heat the whole house but OH said it was too expensive so now I am only allowed heat in the main living room ( one 3KW sotrage heater - there is a second but he wont allow it on and I am not allowed the dining room one on either.)
I can also have the one in the bedroom on . The bedroom suffers badly with condensation and was causeing me to have a permanent cough, so it has to be warmer.
The hall isnt allowed on and the spare bedroom inst allowed to be on.
He has also turned down the heating a couple of degrees ( like they say on the TV ads!) I have an 3eco warrior OH! ;-(

I dont know what these are so I doubt it.

Tuble dryer no more than once a week or outside.

Yes.
Not often and trying now to do even less. Never steam. Yes to extractor fan

A lot of it is damp walls under the windows . External walls mainly. The spare bedroom has mould in the corner on the ceiling and where the two external walls join the whole wall seems damp but its mostly toward the bottom half of the walls.

Do you know what type of ground floor you have (solid, suspended, etc)?
Its a bungalow. One floor only. Fllors are wodden suspended over a void ( no cellar - not sure how deep the void is. Vents all round the outside though. OH has said void is about three feet deep?
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whiskeyomega wrote:

Ouch. I feel your pain.

yes..leave alone.

Ok. that's a dangerous mix. But its fixable.

mould spores will automatically generate phlegm production. The cough is good if productive. No mould is better.

OK, then that is where you should ventilate - in the coldest parts of the house. If you can leave the windows open just a crack, or ventilators if fitted, or add some kind of adjustable vent to the outside, it will bleed the steamy air away a bit. The key is to control the ventilation so its not draughty. Chimneys are rather good at this. Shame they are blocked really.

yup. but its better to be alive..first.

adjustable vents in the window frame.

good.
good.
OK.
Now that is odd.
It may be that there is no cavity insulation there.

OK, that sounds like a bit of a failure of the actual cavity wall insulation, or possible the guttering etc is bad and is dousing the wall with water. Its pissing down here. Worth putting on a mac and visually seeing if any water is running down the walls due to leaf blocked or broken guttering..

Mmm. ceiling is bad..again MAY be a leak, or the loft insulation is not fitted to that area properly.

MM. big heat loss there. If you redo the carpets nail down hardboard and seal with duct tape to remove draughts from underfloor. More insulation there is a major exercise tho.
Tell Eco warrior OH that a balance between damp (very bad for health of building and inhabitants) needs to be balanced with ventilation and heating costs.
Perfect eco housing (heat pump, controlled heat exchange ventilation) costs a lot of money and wont pay off in lifetimes of us old folks.
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This is probably part of the problem. You effectively no longer have central heating because you aren't heating the whole house. As air circulates from a warm area to a cold area, the humidity will increase because cold air can't hold as much moisture. When the high humidity air contacts a cold surface in a colder area of the house, the excess moisture will drop out onto that surface.

Before homes had central heating, we tended to have drafts (leaky windows, open fires, etc), and that kept houses dry. You've gone back to spot heating but with modern levels of draft-proofing, and that's very difficult to achieve without cold spots and condensation.

A small vent, usually at the top in the plastic frame. Not always fitted though (not required unless the windows can't be locked in position with just a crack open).

Where does the tumble drier vent to? Outside?

Don't stop cooking. Cover the pan and use a low heat, and the extractor. Water is same temperature if it's boiling slowly or quickly, so you don't gain anything with fast boiling, except condensation.

I wonder if the cavity fill has missed these areas?

As another poster said, it's worth checking to see if the area under the floor has turned into a lake, e.g. due to a water leak. In some houses water routinely pools there anyway, so you need to know what was normal for your house under the floor before the problem. Still worth checking if there's a floorboard you can easily lift.
A dehumidifier might be an option, but they aren't a universal panacea. They are a sticky plaster over a problem, not a fix for the problem, and they can cause plenty of problems of their own, both for you and for the fabric of the house and your furniture.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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whiskeyomega wrote:

do you have cavity wall insulation?
If not the outer walls will attract condensation.
Otherwise its really down to ventilation. You and your activities will generate moisture: It has to go somewhere.
Only an influx of colder air that gets heated can absorb it.
The only way to avoid that leading to heat loss as well, is to have heat exchanger ventilation.
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whiskeyomega pretended :

Double glazed, insulated loft, but have you considered cavity wall insulation?
An automatic dehumidifier will make a lot of difference and they are not that expensive to run - much cheaper than heating the place and opening windows to clear the damp and dry air always feels warmer than moist air. Fit lids on pans when cooking, fit an automatic humidity operated fan in the bathroom, fit a cooker hood extracting to the outside and use it when cooking. Don't dry clothes indoors, or at least dry them in a well ventilated area.
--
Regards,
Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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WE have cavity wall insulation too . I have been told to put more insulation in the loft ( new regulations about loft insulation but to be honest, if this is condensation and a lack of bentilation, I dont see how stuffing the house more full of things to stop the air circulation will help. So I want to sort the current problem first. In fact I have been wondering if we have to much insularion?

Fit lids on pans when cooking, fit an automatic humidity
I alread do that. I have never cooked without lids on pans - and I dont do that much cooking anyway. Probably far less than most. I may have the oven on for less than 20 mins an night and the microwave on for ten minutes.

Got them both and I almost permanently have windows open too in bathroom and kitchen.
Don't dry clothes indoors, or at least

I dont dry clothes indoors. I have a washer dryer. I run the tumble dryer only when the waether is so bad I have to ( its a modern one that condenses the steam and sends it down the waste pipe) )
. I only wash once a week. I dry on the line outside when the weather allows. In fact, my washing machine ( facy programmed job) has just packed up because of the damp getting to its computerised board.
Is there anything else I can do? Short of move that is - and how do you sell a damp house?
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Sounds like you've done everything except the 2 things you should do.
First, get a dehumidifier in. This will bring rapid results. Humidistatic is recommended as it wont overdry the woodwork, causing warping or cracking.
Second, look for the water leak it sounds like you've got. It might be extrnal rainwater orinternal plumbing.
Dehumidifiers cost 100 or so a year to run if on fairly high. This is far cheaper than opening windows.
NT
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On Sun, 1 Nov 2009 02:08:40 -0800 (PST), NT wrote:

Worth checking but I'd expect that to be localised rather than throughout the house. For the latter the air needs to be humid rather than just a bit of the building near a leak.

But really only treat the symptom not effect a cure. The ventilation required on an on going basis isn't great and simple things like always running extractor fans in kitchens/bathrooms etc will make a tremendous difference. Simply venting our cooker hood outside and only running it on 1 (out of 3) effectively stopped the windows (6mm DG) running with water when ever any cooking was done
--
Cheers
Dave.




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wrote:

not really true. If the cause is condensation, a dh will reduce RH to the point where it stops occurring. Problem cured.

if the whole houses is heated that's true. But if its not, as in this case, it isnt, and a dehumidifier is a cheaper and easier option.

But again a dehumidifier is cheaper and does more.
NT
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On Sun, 1 Nov 2009 04:43:41 -0800 (PST), NT wrote:

No the condensation, a symptom of the air being to wet for the temperature is reduced. But the initial problem of the air being to wet in the first place is not tackled at all.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Having said everything I have I have looked at all my walls and realised its all dry and there is no condensation there today. Even the windows are clear.
It rained over night but its not raining now ( except for the odd sharp shower) But the bedroom walls which were sopping the other day are dry today. The corner in the spare room is covered in mould but its dry today too.
Its dried out very quickly considering. No rain and it stops being wet. I think the outside temperature might be higher today though. Problems seem to occur when its cold out and the heating is on low.
Putting the 3KW heater on in the living room has coincided with this drying out - but it couldn't be the cause could it? I did it without his permission. It will have to go off when he realises what I have done. But I was so cold last week.
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On 1 Nov, 13:21, "whiskeyomega" wrote:

Many Economy 7 tariffs charge a prohibitively high rate for peak-rate electricity so you'd be better off having the storage heaters running properly on off-peak electricity to keep the house warm (at least warm enough).
Storage heaters aren't usually used in bedrooms where a panel heater on at night keeps the bedroom warm - open the window and let the warm moist air out every morning.
If you have window recesses the wall below the windows may only be half a brick thick and uninsulated.
You could get a monthly payment account so you pay the same amount in winter as in summer and so spread the cost more evenly over the year. You might also be eligible for help with heating costs if you have health problems - maybe the local council or CAB can advise.
Owain
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On 1 Nov, 13:21, "whiskeyomega" wrote:

Many Economy 7 tariffs charge a prohibitively high rate for peak-rate electricity so you'd be better off having the storage heaters running properly on off-peak electricity to keep the house warm (at least warm enough).
We dont have the facility to put any heating on during the day, even if I did want to pay the higher charge. I can only run the heating at night. It doesnt come on during the day at all. I meant I put the heater on a couple of nights ago and turned the small one off ( there are two heaters in the room - one is 3KW and the other a 1.4KW ). It makes a great deal of difference to the room though having the bigger heater running, rather than the small one.
<<<Storage heaters aren't usually used in bedrooms where a panel heater on at night keeps the bedroom warm - open the window and let the warm moist air out every morning.
Either I have a strange system or you do? I dont have panel heaters anywhere. The sotrage heater in the bedroom is a 1.4KW - in fact all the bedrooms have one of these. I have been allowed to have that one on low in the room and it does keep the room warm but you can feel the difference between that and the rest of the house.
<<<If you have window recesses the wall below the windows may only be half a brick thick and uninsulated.
No window recesses.
<<<<You could get a monthly payment account so you pay the same amount in winter as in summer and so spread the cost more evenly over the year. You might also be eligible for help with heating costs if you have health problems - maybe the local council or CAB can advise.
Entitled to extras in this country? You must be kidding. I cant even get a free flu jab! We pay for everything. My husband was forced to retire a couiple of years ago ( he was actually made redundant but got his pension) . He cant even claim council tax or pension credit or anything else.
FWIW, this isnt an issue over money. We have the money. I can can also earn it if needs be. This is just my husband getting his silly head full of daft 8ideas from listening to too much Radio 4 money programmes and too many daft TV programmes about " saving" all the time.
Thanks for the advice though. I am trying to talk him into going round and doing the joints of the guttering with putty ( he wont let me have anyone in to estimate for new guttering, he says we cant afford it. ) We cant afford anything according to him
To be honest I wish the TV and the government would get off this green eco CO", its costing me my health ( he is as strong as an Ox)
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I think the real problem coming home to roost after so many years is my husband always wanted a council house but we were not entitled to one of those either.
He never wanted to own his own home ( let alone do any of it up) and was forced to buy because we would have been homeless otherwise - and he didn't want to rent privately because (a) the cost was prohibitive) and (b) the quality of housing was poor.
So we did the only thing we could. We bought a house. No, we don't have a mortgage. I paid that off a lot of years ago ( I worked hard to do that because he worried so about the mortgage and loosing his home - yet he still worries we cant afford to live in a house we own) Thats whats behind this I think. That and the doom and gloom BBC money programme he listens to with all its items about houses being repossessed and people being strapped for cash and having no money because of the economic downturn.
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On Sun, 1 Nov 2009 14:38:54 -0000, whiskeyomega wrote:

You can't take it with you.
And unless you are planning now the government may well help themselves to a substantial amount of it should you try and leave it to anyone else.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Dave Liquorice wrote:

Indeed. Not to mention the lawyers..
If money is no object, use a heat pump, possibly with UFH, correct any wall insulation and guttering issues, and fit insulation under the floor, and heat recovery ventilation.
But we are talking more than 10k for that little lot.
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On 1 Nov,

The condensation is normally worse after a change from damp weather to clear overnight skies. This makes it colder outside, but the inside air is still damp. After infiltration of the colder air the internal humidity will drop, resulting in less condensation after a day or two of colder dry weather.
--
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