How damp and mould in the home can affect your health

Having mould growing anywhere in your home can look unsightly, but the impact that damp and mould can have on the health and well-being of those who live in the property can be much more serious. A recent article in the Liverpool Echo gives an overview of some of the ways which mould or damp can have health implications too.

Having damp or mould in your home long-term can have a big negative impact on health. Those especially at risk include babies and children, the elderly, those with existing skin conditions or respiratory issues, such as asthma or allergies, or those with a weak immune system.

How do damp and mould affect health?

When mould forms and grows, it produces allergens, which are substances that can provoke an allergic reaction in some people, even if they have never had similar issues or known allergies in the past. Mould can release irritants and sometimes even toxic substances, which, if touched or inhaled by people, can result in allergy flare-ups, runny nose or sneezing, itchy or red eyes and skin rashes on the body. The presence of mould is also known to contribute to asthma attacks.

How to stop mould and damp in the home

There are different types of damp, so the prevention and treatment of the problem will depend on how the issues has been caused.

Condensation mould

This type of mould forms when moisture in the air inside your home, comes into contact with a cold surface (such as a wall or window) and has no way to escape outside. Droplets of water form and, if not removed quickly, will stagnate and become a breeding ground for mould to grow.

Preventing condensation mould           

Minimising the moisture in the air in your home is one way to lower the chances of condensation mould. Drying clothes outdoors rather than inside, and cooking with lids on pans are two simple things that can make a difference. Leaving windows open to let fresh air circulate as often as possible around all floors of the home is also a good idea, along with using extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms, where fitted. Leave gaps between furniture and the walls to allow air circulation and leave cupboard or wardrobe doors open sometimes to air them too.

Penetrating damp

Damp that penetrates through walls and other masonry from the outside is known as penetrating damp and is usually much more serious than condensation damp. It can often appear high up a wall or around windows. It can be caused by old bricks or mortar that have started to let water in, or damage to the structure of building that allows water to get inside, such as broken downpipes or guttering, damage to the roof, or windows which have been installed incorrectly or have degraded over time.

Preventing penetrating damp

A house that has been properly maintained structurally should not experience penetrating damp. If any issues with the roof, guttering or drainage and brickwork are resolved quickly, the damp problem should soon be resolved.

Who is responsible for fixing damp if renting a home?

If condensation damp forms when a tenant has been living in a property for a while, it is their responsibility to resolve the problem and take steps to prevent more mould forming. If the property is already showing signs of condensation mould when the tenant moves in, the landlord should organise for the problem to be fixed and advise the new tenants on how to prevent it reoccurring.

If a property shows signs of penetrating damp, it is always the landlord’s responsibility to fix the problem, as this is a structural issue. The tenant’s responsibility is to alert the landlord to the damp as quickly as possible, so that the property can be fixed before the problem gets worse and more damage is caused.

 

If you’re a tenant living with damp in your home and don’t think that your landlord is fulfilling their responsibilities, or if someone in your household is experiencing health problems which you believe are related to damp or mould, you can contact CEL Solicitors for free initial advice and to discuss your options.