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  • Property-a-holics

    The best remedies for condensation?

    Hi, I read the condensation threads before and Rich's blogs about condensation and damp in SingingPigs, for which my thanks, but I stay with the confusion about what remedy to apply. I have a five bedroom house, a HMO, build in the thirities, with old double glazing and a very big condensation problem throughout the house - but the house appears to be quite warm, except for one of the bathrooms. Having educated the tenants in condensation prevention and it being much less cold outside, has helped to a certain extent - but not enough, as we already have mould formation on a property that has recently been fully refurbished. There is clear condensation on most windows, and mould formation on the walls in the corridor, i and in the bathroom on the first floor (where I had installed electric air extractors, which however only operates if the light is on) and in a broom cupbaord in the kitchen. There is a distinct feeling of there not being sufficient air in the hallway, where all the rooms come out on the hallway/staircase, but the entrance to the loft is through the loft bedroom (no direct access to the corridor/staircase).My builder still has to insure that all the guttering on top of the roof is sorted, he started last autumn but had to stop due to the weather conditions, and is due to come back in June/July. I saw that one of the gutters ran straight onto the main roof!! Also there is a side cheminee that is defunct that might need some treatment. As I thought that the pebbledash rendering around the house might not be very waterproof, I got the builder to paint the whole outside of the house too.He applied one coat, and had to stop - and is coming back to do the rest. In the meanwhile, I had two companies coming out to advise me on a really bad condensation problem in the house, which we monitored to see whehter it would resolve itself. But I now am really confused, because both companies advised me to do exactly what they did - but when I asked about the other method they could not say, as 'this was not something their company did'. The first company was Kenwood, a specialised company in damp and condensation. Their answer: (1) the mould 25 cm above the floor level in the area that they had done full damp proofing three months before (they took the plaster away till about 1.2 m above floor level) was not to do with damp but with condensation, so it had nothing to do with their guarantee (A side question is whether I should get another company to confirm that this is indeed not the damp proof course that needs a top-up (in layman terms, on the basis of what I ahve read and understood about this subject ) and (2) the condensation in the rest of the property could be remediated by installing passive airvents throughout the property to start with and putting in a kind of fan to make the air circulate.  I saw that there are no passive airvents in the rooms or the corridor.The other company, Envirovent, which is a company I found through NLA, told me that the best way was to install their de-humidifier/heating installation (a machine that draws the air from outside, heats it and then send it inside + draws stale and humid air out - if I understood well) and possibly it might need stronger air extractors in both bathrooms. Both would set me back about £500 to £600, excluding the replacement of the air extractors in the bathrooms. When I asked each about the other company's solution they told me that they did not deal with this, and I was non the wiser as to whom can give me a honest opinion to the cheapest effective solution. I also asked about 10 l dehumidifiers which only appeared to cost £80 and the guy from Envirovent told me that most of his clients had tried that but had not had sufficient results from that for a problem that persisted throughout the whole house.What are other people's views and experiences? What option to go with? Wait until autumn, when the guttering has been finished is obviously an option, but I need the house back to good standards to attract new students, and will need to paint again before mid september. Go with envirovent or Kenwood, or go for the 10l dehumidifier that Rich spoke about in one of the earlier postings around condensation?Thanks,Anne
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    As an aside, there is quite a healthy debate about whether rising damp actually exists at all, alot of people think that it is a myth, including this man here:
    https://www.askjeff.co.uk/rising_damp.html
    Matt
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    Hi,

    Hopefully you have resolved this problem by now but I was interested to read the post and some of the replies.

    I know both companies you have mentioned very well and both have longstanding reputations in their fields. A comment that compares damp surveyors with double glazing salesmen is harsh but not unfounded in some cases.

    If a damp surveyor holds a relevant qualification; CSRT or CSSW which would have been issued on passing the industry recognised exams, he or she first and formeost has a legal duty of care to provide an honest appraisal to the issues you have instructed them to report on.

    I have to disgaree with the opinion of 'heat exhange', aka heat recovery against the alternative of dehumidifeirs or not improving ventilation.

    The description given to the proposal made by Envirovent is not quite an accurate portrayal. Their recommendation would have been to introduce mechanical ventilation, either heat recovery or positive input ventilation to achieve at least a half air change every hour. This process to be backed up by installing or upgrading the extract fans in the wet producing rooms such as kitchen, bathroom, utility room, etc. These measures reduce the level of relative humidity being created and keep them within acceptable paramteres of between 50 - 60% RH.   

    Heat recovery is not expensive, dearer or more expensive than dehumidification. Infact, it is the opposite. In simple terms the process of a heat recovery system is first an formeost to introduce fresh air to the areas it is introduced at the rate I have already mentioned. This is done 24/7. Humidistat sensors identify excessive levels of humidty and switch the unit into boost mode to extract the stale, moisture laden air and replace with fresh air from the outside. As the stale air is being extracted it goes over a heat transfer plate which captures as much as 90% of the energy of the warm air going out. (Energy efficiency levels range from 60 - 90% depending on the product). The running cost of such a unit depends on the number of times it goes into boost mode as obviously this is making the motors run faster but typical costs range from £15-£25 per year again, subject to the size of the unit, (single room, whole house, etc).

    Without the need for insulation, dry lining, re-plastering heat recovery systems do, very efficiently, remediate condensation issues with the additional benefit of improving air quality which is a bonus to those affected by asthma, etc. Indeed, the measures of improving the thermal values to a property, insualtion, double glazing, secondry glazing can have a negative impact on air flow throught out and make a problem worse. Whilst such measures are important, they should balanced against provision for ventilation.

    Local authorities and housing associations up and down the country are installing these products into flats and apartments with great results. Whole house systems do require ducting and as such, their sutiability for this reason needs to be explored given the nature of the property.

    Dehums do provide a solution but I don't believe they are a permanent answer. I do not specify them as remedial process for condensation control.  

    The other mechanical ventilation process is Positive Input Ventilation, (PIV). This process takes air from the loft void or from an external point and forces into a central point either a landing or hallway. Yes this can be chilled air but there are products available with inline heaters which will deliver cooled air at approximately 10 degress centigrade. Because of the heater element these are dearer to run. The cost comparison is with a 40watt light bulb. The speed at which the fan works can be tempered against the temperature of the air it is introducing to reduce the 'chill' factor.

    Heat Recovery Ventilation has Appendix Q SAP rated solutions to new builds, complies with building regulations and 2009 Part F approved document means of Ventilation. 

    All the best. 

      

     

     

     

     

     

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    Hi Anne

     

    I had an Envirovent system fitted to one of my properties last year. It was cheap not but it came with a guarantee to solve the problem and I'm pleased to say that I will not be claiming on the guarantee.

     

    I have no commercial relationship with the company, save for being a happy client of theirs obviously. I got a big discount for being an NLA member too, I saved more than the cost of being an NLA member so it's worth joining if only for that reason if you decide to use Envirovent.

     Regards

    Mark Alexander

    Founder of Property118.comLatest headlines below:

     

    Property118.com

     

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    Regards


    Mark Alexander - Property118.com
    Twitter: @iAmALandlord

    Best way to advoid condensation.

    Dont have tenants or kick them out in september and let them back in April.

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    Hi Again!

    I don't want to labour a point in regard of ventilation but this is a topic of high relevance to Landlords and property owners in general.

    I'm not sure of the protocol on this platform for including links in a post so I won't but for those of you who are information 'junkies' and could do with a little night time reading there is a very useful 20 page pdf document prepared by the Energy Saving Trust in regard of Ventilation, the need to ventilate, the need to balance ventilation against thermal improvements and the options available to ventilate.

    What I like about this document? It avoids jargon!

    The search word reference: gpg268 energy efficient ventilation in dwellings pdf.

    If you have difficulty locating the document email me and I will be happy to email the document to you.

    Hope you find it to be useful.

    For additional information, the Ecobuild event at the Excel arena March 20th - 22nd, will see a host of ventilation manufacturers demonstrating latest heat recovery technology. Ecobuild is now arguably the most well attended property based trade event and is well worth a visit.

    Regards,

     

     

     

       

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    This one?

    https://www.beama.org.uk/en/publications/...cfm/GPG268

    (It's fine to post non-commercial links.)

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