Eliminate dampness

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As the nights remain cold, residents will be reaching for heaters, but the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) says getting the home environment right is just as important as the type of heater used. EECA senior technical adviser buildings Christian Hoerning said while insulating a home’s ceiling and underfloor would make the single biggest difference to keeping the heat in, eliminating dampness was also important for health and comfort. ‘‘Dampness leads to mould which can harm your health. Eliminating moisture at the source, combined with good heating and ventilation, are the most effective ways to keep your house dry, warm and healthy,’’ Mr Hoerning said. First, fix any drainage or plumbing issues causing water to collect under or near the house, Mr Hoerning said. ‘‘If there’s still dampness under your house, an onground vapour barrier can stop the moisture rising up from the ground inside and make sure all the vents to under the house are clear of things like plants and porch furniture so your home can naturally ventilate,’’ he said. Mr Hoerning also had everyday tips for keeping your home warm and dry: – Open windows regularly to remove damp, stale air. – Keeping bedroom windows (with security stays) open slightly at night helps reduce condensation on windows in the morning. – Using extractor fans in the kitchen when cooking, in the bathroom when showering, and ensuring a clothes dryer is vented to the outside will help prevent the build-up of dampness in a winter home. If people do not have, or cannot install, extractor fans, open a window when showering, cooking or drying clothes to let the moist air out. – Indoor drying racks are commonly used in winter, but lead to laundry moisture lingering inside. If the weather means clothes cannot be hung outside, try hanging them in a garage or carport to keep the moisture away from rooms you want to heat. If the dryer is vented to the outside, using it during long rainy spells is actually better than hanging clothes inside. – Once the home is dry, it’s important to eliminate draughts or the heat will just go out the window — or under the door. Pulling curtains, closing doors, using a draught stopper under doors, and ensuring windows are well sealed will all help keep the heat in the room being used.