Telephone:

1300 301 210

Mobile:

0419 842 686

Telephone:

1300 301 210

Mobile:

0419 842 686

What is Condensation?

It is a fact that warm air can hold more water as vapour than cool air. Condensation is caused when moisture-laden air comes into contact with a cold surface - the air is cooled to the point where it can no longer hold its burden of water vapour. At this point, (DEWPOINT), water begins to drop out of the air, and is seen as condensation on surfaces. On impervious surfaces such as glass and gloss paint, beads or a film of water collect. On permeable surfaces such as wallpaper and porous plaster, the condensing water is absorbed into the material. Therefore, the problem is not always initially obvious.

One should also be aware that the problem can occur well away from the site of most water vapour production. E.g. water vapour produced in the kitchen may diffuse through the house into a cold bedroom where it will condense on cold walls.

Condensation is directly associated with mould growth which is associated with many health problems. It is this that the occupier sees first, and it gives an indication of the potential scale of the problem. The mould is usually found on decorative surfaces, especially wallpapers, where it can cause severe and permanent spoiling. In many cases, the mould and its spores ('seeds') give rise to complaints about health, and cause the "musty" odour frequently associated with a damp house.

The obvious places for condensation to occur are on cold walls and floors, but it can also occur in roof spaces and in sub-floor areas where there is a timber suspended floor; in the latter case, it can lead to rot developing in floor timbers.

Condensation is by far the most common cause of dampness in buildings, probably accounting for the majority of damp problems reported. It affects both old and new buildings, and can be a significant problem where the building has been modernised. Although it's the most common cause of damp it's not the only cause you may have rising damp.

 

The Link Between Poor Health and Damp Conditions

For many years people have know of the health problems associated with damp conditions. Many recent studies have been done to prove the link between damp, moldy conditions and health problems in both adults and also those most at risk children. Below is an exert from one such study and we have included some links to a few others.     

State of the Science on Molds and Human Health Statement of Stephen C. Redd, M.D.
Chief, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch
National Center for Environmental Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

More than 1,000 different kinds of indoor molds have been found in U.S. homes. Molds spread and reproduce by making spores, which are very small and lightweight, able to travel through air, capable of resisting dry, adverse environmental conditions, and hence capable of surviving a long time. Molds need moisture and food to grow, and their growth is stimulated by warm, damp, and humid conditions.  Respiratory infections due to inhalation of the fungus Aspergillus have been documented mostly in immunocompromised individuals. Molds also have been associated with some cancers. Two mold-produced toxins (aflatoxins and ochratoxin A) have been classified by the National Toxicology Program as human carcinogens.  In its 1993 report “Indoor Allergens,” the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that airborne fungal allergens were most often associated with allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis/conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. In its 2000 report “Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures,” IOM concluded that there is sufficient evidence of an association between exposure to mold and exacerbations of asthma. For people who are allergic to mold, common effects include hay-fever-like allergic symptoms. Certain individuals with chronic respiratory disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma) may experience difficulty breathing when exposed to mold. Also, people with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections.

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Asthma in the Children - Environmental Health Perspectives
Adverse health effects among adults exposed to home dampness and molds - Health Protection Branch, Health and Welfare Canada
Home dampness and respiratory health status in european children - University of Wageningen, The Netherlands
The relationship between moisture or mould observations in houses and the state of health of their occupants - National Public Health Institute, Division of Environmental Health, Kuopio, Finland
Asthma Facts - NSW Health

 

TERMITES (Also known as "White Ants")

termitesTo discourage termites and improve inspection access. Fix leaking water pipes and drains. Reduce the amount of timber used in construction - especially in inaccessible areas. Improve sub-floor ventilation, drainage and access. Ensure concrete slab is properly designed, compacted, cured and easily inspected. Do not leave timber formwork behind, especially under a suspended floor construction. Have a program of regular inspections arranged with a pest controller (early spring to late summer is best - termites are most active at this time). Avoid storing potential termite food (eg. timber stacks, old stumps, building refuse) near buildings Use termite resistant timber (naturally resistant or treated - ask a timber supplier). Remove termite colonies from building vicinity. Anti-Damp can recommend specialist in pest control and can help with the ventilation improvements needed to reduce reoccurrence.

ISOPTERA - derived from the Greek "iso" meaning equal and "ptera" meaning wings, refers to the similar size, shape, and venation of the four wings  Termites are often referred to as 'white ants' because of their creamy colouring and ant-like appearance.There are over 350 species of termites in Australia, of which some 20 species cause damage in timber houses. Only Tasmania is free of "economically significant" termite attacks to buildings. The species can be categorised into four main groups depending on their habits:

  • Subterranean Termites This group of termites have colonies & are found either underground or in the base of trees, with tunnels (galleries) radiating from the nest through the soil to food sources. Workings between the soil and above-ground food sources are concealed in mud-like shelter tubes or galleries.
  • Dampwood Termites These are only found in timber that is affected by moisture and is subject to fungal decay. This timber may be rotting branches in trees or stumps of houses that are moisture affected.
  • Drywood Termites only exist in tropical or sub-tropical regions of Australia. These termites do not require contact with the ground and moisture is obtained directly from the timber. These termites do not cause as much damage as subterranean termites and colonies are much smaller in number. 
  • Harvester (Grass) Termites These termites eat grasses and are most common in tropical regions. They are no threat to buildings. Termites can be eradicated If  termite damage is found in the home, don't panic and DO NOT DISTURB ANYTHING. Doing so prompts the termites to move elsewhere making full detection and eradication more difficult. It may also result in the damage being increased elsewhere.  An expert should perform the eradication treatment, so make sure you contact only currently licensed members of your State's pest control association. These people will also set up a chemical barrier around the walls, foundations and footings, to discourage the termites from returning.

If you would like to find out more, ring Barry on 0419 842 686. Barry also offers home inspections for a fee. If you are worried about termites, rising damp, condensation or moisture damage then a home inspection can help.

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Anti-Damp
Sydney, Australia
P.O. Box 128
Gladesville NSW 2111
Phone 1300 301 210
Phone (02) 9817 7600
Facsimile (02) 9817 7611
Mobile 0419 842 686

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Anti-Damp Down To Earth Advice Pty Ltd
ABN 50 612 159 547
Licence No. 300519C