Controlling Condensation and Mould in a Cellar
12 October 2011
Black mould and damp are two dangers that the elements can pose to your home, but did you know that a lot of the time, you can prevent the root cause of damp and mould simply by eliminating condensation?
Just by taking control of the condensation in your cellar or basement you can actually prevent a lot of mould and damp permeating your walls, but the tricky part is learning how! Here, we are going to give you a few tips on reducing basement condensation, and how you can get ahead of potential damp and mould appearing in your cellar.
How Does Condensation Cause Mould?
One of the main questions you might have if you aren’t familiar with the process that typically accompanies mould affecting your property is ‘how does condensation cause damp and mould?’
Well, the answer is actually pretty simple. Condensation occurs when liquid evaporates into the air, causing that air to become humid. This usually happens in warmer temperatures, and if allowed to exit our properties is pretty harmless.
However, that humid air does not just disappear. If it becomes trapped in a property – or even a single room – it will eventually seep into walls, into your ceiling or onto your furniture once the temperature drops and the humid air becomes liquid once again.
Now, once this liquid is in your walls or ceiling, it’s just a matter of time before this concentrated build-up of moisture causes damp to infiltrate your property. This on its own is enough cause for concern as it can have dire consequences for the quality of your buildings structural integrity.
It is these areas affected by damp that give the dangerous black mould fungal spores an ideal space to grow.
In short, humid air that cannot escape a property will seep into your walls, causing damp and lead to black mould growth. You can see then why condensation might be an even bigger risk in a totally enclosed cellar or basement. What can you do to minimise the risk though?
How to Control Condensation in Your Basement:
Whilst there are lots of different methods of controlling condensation, some methods are more effective and secure than others. Here are just a few of the main ways that you can ensure your basement stays safe and unaffected by humidity and condensation in the long run, giving you peace of mind.
Install an Extractor Fan
This is such a simple and easy solution to controlling the condensation within your cellar, but it is a very effective and cheap one, making it incredibly popular. The theory works in the same way that you would expect an extractor fan in your bathroom to work, with the fan sucking out all of the moist, heavy air and removing it outside your property safely.
Don’t worry about cost either. The most basic and effective extractor fans can be bought for very cheap, and their yearly running cost is often smaller than that of a lightbulb, making installing one a pretty easy decision.
You can buy extractor fans that attach to your ceiling, to your walls, or even inside a window pane, meaning that there are going to be a lot of options available to you when it comes to installing a humidity controlling fan.
Secure Yourself Against External Moisture
We have other articles talking about the importance of you securing your basement against elemental moisture, and how you might accomplish that. What you need to know here though is that if your basement commonly leaks or allows high levels of moisture to enter it, then you are going to be at constant high risk of humidity, damp, and of course black spot mould.
So, make sure that you have waterproofed your basement against the dangers of leaks – and that if you already have waterproofing lining your basement that it isn’t compromised. This is something that our experts can easily check and install for you, but it is vitally important in keeping your basement insulated and secure against external threats.
Increase Your Ventilation
This might seem like a really simple answer, but there are a few caveats to it. Firstly, the installation or presence of windows lining the top of your cellar or basement is a great thing, but only in warmer months where the temperature of the outside matches or exceeds that of the inside.
This is important because if the temperature outside is lower than that of the inside, the condensation may only get as far as the window pane before collecting, and also because if the air outside is more humid than the air inside your property, you are only going to be exposing yourself to dangerous humidity you wouldn’t otherwise!
So, increase your ventilation options – but don’t endanger yourself! Even opening up basement doors can have a great benefit to your ventilation in place in your cellar, so be mindful!
Install a Positive Pressure System
Before you ask: A positive pressure system is a unit that directs clean, filtered air through your property that has been drawn in from an external source. This clean, filtered air then pushes the heavier, humid air out of your property, either directly sourced from the main unit or through additional piping that can be routed through your property.
This solution is an all year round one, and one that will remove humidity from your basement (and any other room) before it ever gets the chance to settle and soak into your walls. So, if you were looking for a solution that doesn’t just eliminate the threat of condensation from your basement, but through your entire property then don’t hesitate to ask us about how you can get a positive pressure system within your building.
Install a Dehumidifier
Now, whilst this isn’t a comprehensive solution to safeguarding your entire home against the potential danger of condensation – but it can in the short term help protect your cellar against it.
A dehumidifier, if properly maintained, can help keep your basement clear of heavy and humid air, and alongside proper waterproofing, and perhaps a well-maintained extractor fan will give you a pretty comprehensive solution to controlling the condensation within your basement.
Of course, these are only a few solutions for you to consider when it comes to protecting your basement from condensation. If you are concerned about the amount of condensation and humidity build-up within your cellar, then do not hesitate to give us a call, and arrange for one of our expert surveyors to visit your property and identify just how and why there is a build-up of condensation, and what you can do to stop it.
Looking for more Information on Positive Pressure Ventilation?
To find out more about our range of positive pressure systems for use in domestic or commercial environments that can easily control your cellar or basements condensation, check out our dedicated positive ventilation section of this website. Alternatively, call your local Timberwise office on 0800 288 8660 or arrange an air quality survey to see how we can improve the air quality in your property.