Moisture in Buildings
As a national trade body, the Property Care Association is seeing a marked increase in the levels of excess moisture in buildings across the UK.
A range of factors associated with modern living and the way homes are occupied have contributed to the rise.
The way we are living in our homes is changing
A number of factors have an effect on the air that surrounds us in our homes.
These include increasing fuel costs which have led to a drive to reduce energy use, increased efforts of homeowners to reduce air leakage through draft proofing and insulation, increasingly sedentary lifestyles, reductions in the size of the spaces we occupy and a growing incidence of overcrowding.
Unfortunately, there can be a number of unintended consequences associated with draft proofing, insulation, reductions in fuel use and high levels of occupation. The most important and ultimately the most damaging is an increase in the moisture held in the air. This can lead to poor air quality, condensation, dampness and mould. These are usually the most obvious and immediate symptoms of these changes.
Left unchecked, the resulting problems from excess moisture in buildings can include poor air quality, condensation, dampness and mould.
The video below offers insight into the subject of moisture in buildings, and the importance of effective ventilation in managing the issue. It includes interviews with Dimitrios Rovas and Dr Hector Altamirano-Medina, who are both lecturers at the University College London and Steve Hodgson, the Chief Executive of the PCA.
Key is balancing moisture production, insulation and ventilation
Understanding how to balance moisture production, insulation, energy input (heat) and ventilation as well as a good technical understanding of the science of air moisture and condensation is the key to eliminating condensation and mould.
While a surveyor can usually provide definitive advice on moisture production, heating and ventilation they have traditionally passed the responsibility for the design of improved ventilation and domestic air quality to a jobbing electrician who supplies what he thinks is about right.
Regulation and guidance setting out minimum requirements for domestic ventilation in homes is usually ignored or misunderstood and as a result outcomes for homeowners can be mixed.
The PCA has established a new sector of membership to help remedy this and ensure the issue of domestic ventilation in older buildings is spotlighted. The “Residential Ventilation Group” (RVG) complements existing sectors of PCA membership bringing greater awareness and focus to the subject of ventilation in residential properties.
The RVG will create a point of reference and resource for homeowners to help them find the advice and expertise they need. Its creation will mean that consumers no longer need to rely on luck when taking advice on air management and domestic air quality.
Find out more:
UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings (UKCMB)
The UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings (UKCMB) has been set up in response to the substantial building problems (including health of occupants and the building fabric) caused by excessive or insufficient moisture. They have produced a video on moisture guidance for existing homeowners which can be viewed here.