Dealing with Damp and Mould During Covid-19

Damp detectives surveyor Jonathan Young explains how he can help with your damp survey during the current Covid-19 crisis

With the current unforeseen circumstances we are experiencing, many of us are having to stay at home.  

For those who aren’t working from home, it has become a popular time to be taking on DIY projects, making home improvements or having a general clear out to fill the days and keep busy.  These tasks may lead to the discovery of damp and mould issues within your home.  

To bring you peace of mind, we are able to continue to provide a service and help you even during these difficult times. Across most areas, Damp Detectives Surveyors are able to carry out surveys in your home whilst adhering to the self distancing guidelines issued by the government and wearing Personal Protective Equipment to ensure the safety of both our surveyors and our customers.

We are offering friendly and professional, virtual online advice and can also be contacted via Email: or by Phone: 07496635359 as well as through our Facebook page and Twitter account.

In addition we are able to send moisture monitoring equipment through the post for you to test damp levels at home and we can also carry out surveys.

For more advice and information please take a look at our website

Damp and Mould In The Home Q & A

Finding damp and mould in the home can be very frustrating, especially when you are unsure of how it came to be there or how to get rid of it. Luckily, here at Damp Detectives we are experts in everything mould and damp related so have answered some of the top questions we are often asked below;

Are damp and mould the same thing?

To put it simply, damp and mould aren’t the same thing, however they are directly linked. You can get damp in your home by many ways. As an example a drip every second from a leaking pipe will produce 800 litres of water a month. If you think about that you might have a small leak that you don’t realise you have until suddenly mould starts to appear and you have over 1000 litres of water in the walls, floors and ceiling of your home that you can’t see. If all that water is left to dry naturally then you will have mould growing on your walls and clothing for months.

Does damp affect your health?

Water on its own won’t cause you any harm but the side affects of a damp property can be mould growth, wood boring insects and sometimes slugs will appear. (They are usually the first signs of damp in the ground floor and they will never come into a dry home). The mould you generally see on the walls hasn’t reached the maturity to produce mould spores, but the odour given off can cause allergic reactions such as headaches. The best thing is to contact your local Damp Detectives Surveyor and they will happily explain how they can help.

My new home smells of damp, is this normal?

We have had questions from new home buyers where they are looking to buy a new home and they notice a damp smell or strong odour when looking around some of the empty properties. The usual answer for that from Housing Agents is that the house has been shut up for a while and the smell will go when you start living in it.

A dry breathing house will never have any strong smells even when shut up for long periods. Damp and fungi give off odours and it is always advisable to call a Damp Detectives Surveyor to check it out before committing to a large payment.

Why do I get a damp smell in my home after it has been raining?

There a simple explanation for this. There is a leak and rain water is getting in. This is stimulating mould which may have been dormant when it is dry, but is awakened when wet. The enzymes produced by the mould to feed can give off odours. It is important to find the source of the leak and stop it as continual mould growth can cause extensive damage in timbers.

We hope that these answers to top damp and mould questions have helped you. If you have any more questions about damp or mould in the home and are concerned, then please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you with your query.

What is the Difference Between Rising Damp and Penetrating Damp?

Dampness is one of the most common issues that property owners face, particularly in older properties. The problem is that dampness can arise from a variety of different sources, which can cause issues when trying to put an end to it. Often, people end up (temporarily) treating the symptoms of the dampness, as opposed to getting to the root cause of it and finding an appropriate solution. This is largely down to home owners being unaware of the differences between rising damp and penetrating damp; both of which are not to be underestimated.

Excessive moisture in buildings can lead to a whole host of issues such as the deterioration of the structural integrity of your home, decorative spoiling, plaster staining and mould – the latter of which can cause some serious health problems if left unchecked.

Let’s explore the differences between rising damp and penetrating damp:

Rising Damp

Rising damp is caused by water from the ground, ascending through the walls and floor, which is not being stopped by any damp proof course. This is typically found in older buildings without a damp proof course, or where it has been bridged over time.

Rising Damp has damp stains rising to about 1m to 1.5m high and at the top is usually a layer of nitrate salts on the surface.

How to spot rising damp:

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp enters the wall above the damp proof course. This is typically broken down into two different categories: Vertical Penetration and Lateral Penetration.

Lateral Penetration – A good example of lateral penetration dampness is on the walls in a basement. This is due to the fact that the walls are built against the subterranean ground outside, allowing dampness within the soil to penetrate them.

Vertical Penetration – Ultimately, most cases of vertical penetration dampness is due to poor building maintenance or defects in the structural integrity of the building. So, things like blocked or defective water draining pipes or cracks that have formed in the walls over time can lead to higher levels of concentrated water seeping inside.

How to spot penetrating damp:

Worried About Damp in Your Home?

If you’re concerned about damp in your home and would like to resolve the issue before it gets any worse, then you should get in contact with Damp Detectives today! Using an effective combination of specialist training and the latest damp surveying equipment, we will be able to find the root cause of any damp problem and offer you the most appropriate solution.

How to Stop Damp Coming Through Walls?

Dampness on walls is an incredibly common problem which can often affect all types of properties. That being said, not every damp problem is the same and can be caused by a variety of issues. Dampness can be infuriating, particularly when it comes to your family home – That, and in many cases it can be very difficult to find the root cause of the problem, which is why it is important to hire a professional if you are serious about finding a definitive resolution.

Not only does damp cause problems for the structural integrity of your home, but it can also lead to a number of serious health risks as well. Exposure to damp and mould can lead to eye & skin irritation, nasal stiffness and respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing & throat irritation – and in some cases, serious lung infections.

Don’t fall prey to the ‘quick and easy fixes’, and you certainly shouldn’t try to resolve the issue on your own. When it comes to protecting your home and the health of you and your family, you can’t take any chances! So how can you stop the damp for good?

Bricks are designed to absorb a small amount of rainwater, with the intention of it evaporating into the air during dry periods. However, if exposed to excessive amounts of concentrated water, for example a rainwater downpipe leaking through a wall, or cracks surrounding window frames; there will be far too much penetration.

Typically, in cases such as this, most people will turn to hiring a builder in an attempt to stop the water from penetrating the walls. The problem with this, is that not only will the water likely be coming in from multiple sources, but using something such as a tanking solution to prevent water penetration is invariably going to trap the water inside the wall itself. The tanking solution may well mask the damp, though if water is still entering the walls from other, unknown sources, it will be causing more problems that you will not be aware of – meaning, things can only get worse!

The best way to resolve this is to call Damp Detectives. With an effective combination of specialist training and the latest damp surveying equipment, we can identify exactly where the damp is coming from. That’s not to say that all builders are unqualified to identify and solve the source of a damp problem. However at Damp Detectives, we specialise in locating moisture and have been doing so for over 20 years. So, once we are able to fix the source/s of the problem, the wall will dry and the damp will not return. It really is as simple as that.

How Damp and Mould Can Affect Your Health

Before the colder and wetter weather moves in for the winter, it may be the time to address any suspected damp problems in your home and look for signs of mould accumulating.  

There are many different types of toxic mould which can appear in damp households which also come in a variety of colours such as blue, black, white, orange and green.  These can vary in harmfulness and it can be difficult to determine which strain of mould you have in your home and whether or not you should be worried. Ideally, as soon as mould is detected, this should be dealt with immediately so that it does not spread causing an adverse effect on your health.

Poor ventilation is often a common problem as well as moisture in the air causing condensation. Many normal household tasks such as cleaning or simply leaving wet washing hanging around can produce a damp environment when mould can grow.  

Moulds then produce allergens which are substances which can cause an allergic reaction simply by touching the mould spores or inhaling spores.  Typical signs are red eyes, a runny nose and a skin rash. The most common types of mould that grow in the home are the black and green varieties which can also cause pneumonia, sinus infections and inflammation of the lungs for the vulnerable.

If you find some and are not sure which type it is, it may be a good idea to get a professional mould inspector in to look at it to ensure that you and your family are living in a safe environment.  You should not disturb the area as touching it could cause a lot of harmful spores to be released in the air which in turn will negatively affect you and those who share your home.

For sensitive people such as babies and children, the elderly and people with existing eczema, as well as those with respiratory problems and those with an already weakened immune system such as those who are undergoing chemotherapy, damp and mould should be avoided as much as possible.

In severe cases, damp and mould can also cause severe neurological symptoms which affect mental capacity and alter our physiological makeup. Some of the neurological symptoms of the ingestion of mycotoxins from mould include confusion, dizziness, a ‘foggy’ brain, hallucinations, seizures and trembling.

So to protect the valuable health of your family from the harmful effects of mould and damp in your household, it is better to identify the problem early and eradicate the causes quickly.  This can be resolved either by yourself if the problem is very small, but by also inviting a professional damp and mould inspector in before the problem becomes too large to handle and your health and that of your family begins to suffer.