Top tips for a drier (and healthier) home

Damp – it’s one of those dreaded words that you don’t want to hear when you’re talking about your home (probably only trumped by ‘subsidence’!). A damp home is often cold, difficult and expensive to heat, susceptible to mould and mildew and worst of all, bad for your family’s health.

However, it is something that can be remedied.

How do I know if my home is damp?

A musty smell in a room that isn’t in constant use can be a giveaway of a damp problem. However, it is usually the discovery of mould or mildew that triggers the damp discussions! Mould may form on ceilings or walls or it may be seen behind furniture, mirrors and picture frames up against walls. It may show as mould spots or as watery stains. Often clothing in wardrobes or drawers may become damp or mouldy too.

In more advanced cases, there may be rotting wood in window surrounds or flooring edges. A musty smell may also be present under the house.

Tips to keep moisture out of your home

  • Line-dry your washing, when you can
  • Rather than drying clothes inside, utilise a covered area outside when wet or set up a clothes horse in the garage (with the door/window open)
  • If you do use a tumble dryer, ensure that it is vented outside
  • When showering, bathing or cooking, turn on the extractor fan before you start and leave it on a few minutes after you finish. If you don’t have an extractor, open a window.
  • Consider a dome for over your shower to stop steam forming
  • When cooking, use pot lids (your dinner will cook quicker too!)
  • Reduce condensation by heating your whole home*
  • If condensation forms, wipe off any moisture from windows/walls
  • Include a check for leaks from pipes under the floor and from your roof in your home maintenance
  • Ensure sub-floor vents are clear of plants and other obstructions to allow air to circulate
  • Do not use portable gas heaters indoors (without a flue) as they release a lot of moisture and can be dangerous
  • Open the windows for at least a few minutes each day to ventilate the rooms
  • Keep mattresses off the floor – use a bed base for air circulation

For more information, visit energywise.govt.nz.

* Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air, which is why an efficient heating system in your home can put a stop to condensation forming on windows and walls.

Keeping your home warm with insulation and an efficient and effective heating system can improve the effects of ventilation and reduce the risk of mould growth.

This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.

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6 Comments

  1. felicity beets 30/06/2018 at 9:25 pm

    some great tips here, had not thought that pot lids helped with keeping moisture out of your home. We are in the process of having an outdoor covered area for drying clothes which should hopefully help with a drier home.

  2. kymmage 28/06/2018 at 7:40 am

    Great tips for reducing the damp. I really need to try and put some of these things in place as I know our house is damp. We do open some windows in the day but as we work full-time we cant open them all. Maybe we should get some secure locks for downstairs on the windows. Good thought! Our gas heating is all flued to outside, but the dryer isn’t and we never dry things outside. Our clothes line is under trees, which means every time I hang things out there the birds leave their marks!

  3. MuddledUpMolly 25/06/2018 at 9:47 pm

    Our house isn’t too dap considering it is 100+ years old! I do need to make more of an effort to open the windows though especially when I am working as I often get home when it is nearly dark and the last thing I feel like doing is opening up the windows to make our house colder

  4. Mands1980 25/06/2018 at 11:43 am

    Our house is not too bad when it’s ready really cold outside the windows do get a bit of condensation but I try open them to get rid of this and use our karcher window cleaner to suck it up. Bathrooms can get quite damp if people don’t open the windows after showering which I constantly tell everyone to do in our house. But with our fire and heat pump it drys out quickly.

  5. Bevik1971 20/06/2018 at 11:01 am

    Our house is pretty good, we live in a triple brick building (apartment) with old windows so get a bit of condensation in the mornings when it’s cold out – but not too bad just open the window up a bit for some ventilation, we also have a heat pump which does dry the air a bit. I have lived in a damp house before and my son got really sick because of it – really terrible 🙁

  6. Shorrty4life1 19/06/2018 at 7:14 pm

    This is a great read. We dont have much dampness being in a house bus but I’ve been in situations where houses are damp mould on walls and always getting sick and I’d never go back something like this. It’s terrible being sick and cold all the time. Wouldn’t wishit upon anyone.

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