What to Do About Damp in Your Kitchen?
7 December 2021
When people think of damp in their home, they often immediately conjure up the image of a black mould infested bathroom, or even of masonry spotted in dark patches where the damp has set in.
What many people don’t realise is that their kitchen is a potential hotbed of damp activity, and if left ignored it could have dire effects on your kitchen, and your property as a whole.
So, how can you control damp in your kitchen?
Establish What Kind of Damp Your Kitchen Is Suffering From
For the layman, identifying the type of damp that your property is suffering from might seem like a pretty monumental task. After all, to someone inexperienced in property care differentiating between specific root causes of moisture in a wall is nigh on impossible.
With that in mind, if you have reason to believe that your kitchen is suffering from damp, it’s worth calling in an expert so your property can be surveyed and you can learn exactly what kind of damp you have on your hands.
Regardless, you are going to find that your kitchen is suffering from damp from one of the following reasons:
Rising damp is borne out of moisture entering the property at ground level and rising through capillary action. This can be from moisture in the earth, pooling on the ground or even draining incorrectly – but the result is always the same when it comes to rising damp.
Travelling upwards through your masonry thanks to capillary action, the moisture itself will never rise more than six feet, or a meter above ground level due to the nature of capillary action. Now, in most properties, a preventative measure called a damp proof course will have been installed in the base of the property to prevent rising damp specifically from developing.
However, in the event that rising damp does occur then you will most likely need to contact a damp proofing specialist in order to have that damp proof course reinstated, and for a stop to be put to the spreading of the rising damp itself. You can find out more about identifying rising damp on our signs of rising damp page.
Penetrating damp, much like rising damp, is borne out of a failure within the building materials used in a property – however, this does cover a lot of different eventualities.
For example, if the pointing on your masonry fails then its possible that rainfall could lead to water ingress that naturally progresses into damp. The same kind of theory applies when you think about how clogged guttering can cause a leak down the side of your property and eventually seep into your masonry and cause damp to infest this way.
Penetrating damp can be caused in a variety of different ways, and can only be rectified once you have had the defective building materials fixed or replaced – once the cause has been established and remedied, then you can look to start repairing and mending any damage the damp has done to the interior of your kitchen, as any attempt to do so before would only see a return in the damp a short while later.
Get in touch with a qualified damp surveyor who can help you establish the root cause of the penetrating damp at your property. Once that cause has been established, your surveyor will be able to recommend the best course of action to stop the damp from reappearing as well as provide a timeline for these actions to take place.
Now, condensation is often the real main cause of damp in the kitchen. Condensation is usually persistent in environments where a lot of steam and moisture is created, especially when combined with heat – and outside of the bathroom can you think of any room more suited to those conditions?
Condensation occurs when hot, humid air comes into contact with cooler surfaces, which in turn causes the moisture in the air to turn from its gaseous state back into a liquid one.
It’s the reason why in winter you might notice condensation on the inside of your windows. As the warm air inside your property comes into contact with your windows (which are typically cooler than the inside of your property), the moisture transforms from its gaseous state to a liquid form on contact.
Now consider that process in a room like a kitchen. Boiling water evaporating away from your stove coming into contact with walls and the ceiling, the general heat of the kitchen contributing to the levels of humidity in the air, and potentially your dishwasher, washer, or dryer also generally increasing the level of moisture present.
Continued build up of condensation on your properties walls will lead to the setting in of damp, and as a direct result, the build up of black mould, the degradation of your units and decorations. One other potential effect is damp can cause health issues.
The issue with condensation, however, is that the only way to control it is through the same way it is created – through your lifestyle. So, what measures can you take to reduce the level of condensation in your kitchen?
How to Reduce Condensation in Your Kitchen
The very first bit of advice everyone should pay attention to when it comes to controlling the level of condensation is to look into ventilating in your home. This is because if humid air is allowed to escape your property, there is a much lower chance of it condensing on your interior walls or on your actual possessions.
In the kitchen that could mean a few things. First, that you have the means to actually ventilate. If you have windows that can open and allow for steady ventilation, then use them where possible. However, in a kitchen a massively important form of ventilation is the extractor fan.
An extractor fan in a kitchen is usually found right above the cooker, or hobs. It’s used when steam is created as you are cooking so that the steam can easily be collected and channelled outside of your property safety.
Make sure that this extractor fan is on whilst you are cooking, and left on for a little while after your food is made, just to be certain that as much possible moisture has been collected and channelled away as possible.
You could also look into the installation of a secondary, more conventional extractor fan if you wanted. Installed in a wall, most extractor fans are capable of handling a large amount of humidity coming from the room they are servicing.
If you happen to have a washing machine or dishwasher that also produce a considerable amount of humidity along with other appliances like kettles or microwaves, it could be worth investing in.
Positive Pressure Ventilation
You could also look into installing a positive pressure ventilation system. These systems draw in cool air from the exterior of your home and vents it throughout your property. This creates a mild pressure – just enough for the warm air in your home to be pushed out, replaced with the cooler outdoor air.
Maintain Your Appliances
The kitchen is a busy room. It’s often not just cooking that takes place in there, but cleaning too. Take a washing machine, or tumble dryer for example. These are heavy use appliances that will see use daily, or even multiple times a day depending on who is inhabiting the property).
If these appliances work well, then hopefully condensation will be kept to a minimum. However, if one were to leak you suddenly have a lot more moisture in an already warm environment. This leaking water could easily enter the air within the kitchen, and cause condensation based issues.
The same will happen if the machines aren’t correctly ventilated. The warm, moist air from a tumble dryer has to go somewhere – so make sure its out of your property to avoid damp.
Keep Your Surfaces Dry
As mentioned previously, excess moisture is a bad thing. So, if you prepare food or cause a spill, make sure that you clean up after yourself to make sure that there is the least amount of moisture around that can potentially turn into condensation.
This means that if you cause a spill, clean it up. If you are mopping the floor, try to keep the temperature of the room steady so that the evaporating liquid from the floor doesn’t come to rest on any of your walls or other surfaces.
Be More Mindful
Your kitchen is a place you are going to spend a lot of time, but make sure that when you are spending time in there, that you are thinking about your actions. Covering pots with lids is a great way to control the amount of steam in a room.
Keeping your kitchen clutter free will also help reduce the level of condensation, as air needs space to move around within and ventilate. Too much clutter piled on sideboards and in cupboards means not only is the air going to have a harder time ventilating, but also that there are more spaces on which the dense moist air can come to rest, and potentially lead to damp or mould.
If you are having trouble in your kitchen with condensation, feel free to give us a call today to arrange a condensation survey. Our survey team will be happy to work with you to identify the chief causes of condensation in your kitchen and property overall, and provide you with a list of potential solutions to keeping your kitchen condensation free. Just call 0800 288 8660 or get in touch online today.