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Damp surveys in London and the South East

16th November 2016

It is that time of the year again when we are inundated with requests for damp surveys in London.  It's all to do with temperature and moisture content of the air.  All of a sudden, the heating goes on.  As the air warms up, so does its ability to hold moisture - and the total moisture loading goes from around 7 grams per cubic metre for a normal dry house, to around 11 or 12 grams.  As this warm, moist air hits cold walls, it condenses - not just ON the walls, but as it diffuses through them - and that makes your nice London stock bricks get damp.  Damp brickwork allows heat to pass through it much more quickly - so you spend more money heating the place.  As moisture levels rise in the brickwork through continued condensation, that same moisture will blow plaster off the walls, and start to produce salts - all the symptoms that the Property Care Association damp companies like Kenwood, Rentokil, Peter Cox, Dampco and others - call 'rising damp'.  This salting of the walls also makes 'damp, or resistance' meters go off the scale.  By the time salts have formed the wall has probably dried out partly anyway - and it certainly isnt rising.

So what is the solution?

Our London damp surveys generally focus on monitoring the internal conditions.  We look at temperature and humidity. Once we have a feel for that, we look at ventilation - how well is the place actually vented?  Is the kitchen able to vent to an outside wall? What about bathrooms?  What about bedrooms too?  Nobody in London wants to open a window at night, and potentially allow someone to climb in - nor do they want traffic fumes, and cold air.  So the window stays shut, and moisture builds up.  All of these rooms need to be ventilated properly.  We help by assessing all of these variables and helping to introduce solutions which don't involve damp proofing by the PCA.

Our resident 'Damp surveyor' - Scott Enders, is a highly qualified and experienced building professional who will assess your building in the same way we would conduct a full building survey.  He uses all the same equipment - thermal imaging, carbide meter, thermo hygrometer, and more - to find out exactly what is causing your problem.  He will never use a 'damp wally meter', or protimeter - whether its in probe mode, conductance mode, or any other mode!  

We are seeing a big rise in the number of companies masquerading as professional 'damp' experts, especially in the south east - their biggest and most concentrated market.  Names such as 'damp survey london', heritage damp, heritage damp surveyors, heritage timber and damp, heritage lime and damp, independent damp surveys, city damp surveyors, damp aid, property care consultants - all of these names trade on the fear of 'damp' and talk about 'remedial works' and 'honest independent surveys... Most are anything but.  Before you allow any of these people near your home, ask them for example reports, ask what equipment they use - ask what qualifications they have.  If they mention the PCA - property care association (or its mentioned on their website) or use CSRT or CSSW as qualifications, you know they are scammers.

 

About the author

Peter Ward has spent many years working a geochemist and geologist, as well as restoring historic homes all over the world.

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