Good ventilation is essential for the health and well-being of both a building and its occupants. Efficient space heating requires a building to be airtight. Controlled ventilation is essential. Could a responsive Decentralised Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (d-MVHR) be a quicker|cheaper|better whole-house solution?
Since purchase in 2016, various damp problems have manifested in numerous locations, several of which focus upon the centrally located chimney stack. Despite multiple attempts to resolve the problem; chimney and roof repairs, clearing and repairs to gutters, the symptoms have persisted.
No doubt about it, damp is both intrusive and ugly as well. Following a discussion with Neighbourhood Construction, I made the move to borrow some tools and get started on removing the gypsum from the troubled areas in the kitchen.
One of the things I have been impressed with is the idea of the partnership between ‘customer’ and ‘provider’ of work. The ethos of the Co-operative is to encourage the owners to join in and experiment for themselves. This can cut down cost and spread the knowledge around.
The evidence-led approach provides a clear understanding of why, how, what and where the house is reacting in this way. Looking at things in context, the short, medium and long term also, makes you think about future ownership of this house and how I could make a more positive contribution as part of its history.
For the past thirteen years, I have lived in fear of selling my house and “downsizing”. Down deep is the fear that a prospective buyer will discover just how many faults this huge Georgian house has. The Neighbourhood Construction home tutorial showed me that these fears are totally unfounded.
We spent the best part of a day looking at my project in my house. It was one of those moments when all of those question marks, all of those suspicions about what I could do, or should do with the property were crossed off my list. Decisions that I had put off for three years were made that day.
I popped the kettle on and took a look at the gas meter, to see how fast the dial spins each time I make a cup of tea. The answer is faster than expected!
One of the main reasons for this were some cold air draughts coming in through holes in the kitchen wall. How can there be holes in the kitchen wall? They were hidden behind the fridge and washing machine. The first was a large one, left in place from a previous tumble drier and half-heartedly filled with rags by a previous owner. The others were left over from the current and previous waste pipes of the kitchen sink.
An interesting thing that I was made aware of recently, is that the natural gas piped into our homes produces a surprising amount of water vapour when it combusts.
With modern boilers, this is not a problem since they are well sealed and vented via flues to the outside. However, where there are gas fires, gas hobs or gas ovens, these might contribute to the total amount of moisture in the house, thus raising the humidity & potential for condensation.
Traditional methods such as lime plastering are often the preserve of buildings deemed to be of historical importance, yet it seems to have been forgotten that more modest properties such as the ubiquitous Victorian terrace were also built with solid walls, lime plaster and a need to ‘breathe’. The designers and craftsmen who built them were creating a carefully balanced internal climate to ensure occupant comfort, avoidance of damp & protection of the fabric of the building and its structural integrity.
Previous surveys were undertaken by preservation and treatment companies have diagnosed rising damp then recommended a chemical damp proof course and cement render. Yet the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors describes ‘rising damp’ as a myth. Following an introduction from the Building Management Company, Simon James Lewis, Neighbourhood Construction CIC has been invited to ascertain the probable causes of a number of moisture-related symptoms being experienced at the property.
This property presents itself very honestly, unlike so many others it has not been freshly painted prior to being offered for sale and therefore allowed for gaining a good insight into the causes of moisture readings previously taken.
Following a previous site appraisal, The estate management company requested a further site visit and report be undertaken at an adjoining property, to ascertain the probable causes of a number of moisture-related symptoms being experienced at the property. A site visit was undertaken on the afternoon of Wednesday the 9th […]