As temperatures plummet, there’s nothing we all want more than a nice toasty house.
But what many of us might not realise, is the damage that having the heating on could cause.
The warmer the air, the more water and moisture it will hold, which will cause damp.
To a lot of people, cranking up the heating might seem like a good way to dry out the damp, but it could actually make the problem much worse.
BristolLive spoke to Tim Fenner at Bristol’s Timberwise, a company specialising in damp-proofing and property care, to see what we can do to prevent dampness from causing some serious damage in our homes.
Mr Fenner said: “Condensation is a real problem, and it’s by far the most common form of dampness in homes in the UK.
“Because of the weather we have, it can be difficult to keep the inside of a home warm and dry.
“Especially in winter when people are drying their clothes and trying to keep the costs of heating down and so they keep the house cold and turn on the heating only when necessary.
“The heating goes off and the house cools down. The water that has evaporated when it was warm had to go somewhere and it went into the atmosphere of the house.
“As the house cools down the water condenses in areas that begin to get damp, which leads to mould.
“The warmer the air the more moisture it can hold, so it’s a particular problem in the winter when people start using their central heating.”
Areas with bad circulation or those that collect moisture easily, like curtains and behind furniture like sofas, are usually the most severely affected by damp and mould.
The most common type of mould you can find is blackspot mould, which Tim explained “is a mixture of water vapour and dust, and everyone can get it.”
He said: “You’ll find it in most houses and it’s pretty harmless at low levels.
“When the problem increases, when it is at high levels it can be pretty poisonous, and bad for people with asthma or breathing difficulties. We call this toxic mould.”
Now that we know that, how do we solve it?
Mr Fenner said: “It’s all about ventilating a property. One of the best bits of advice I can give you is to open a window at the front and the back of your house for 10 minutes a day when the heating is on. You need to let out that moisture-laden air.”
But you might be surprised that some of the most well-insulated homes can be the most susceptible to problems caused by everyday activities such as drying clothes on radiators, boiling food on the hob, and hot showers.
Mr Fenner added: “A warm and draught-proof home is sometimes the worst for mould, and sometimes having a bit of a draft is actually a good thing.
“It’s not the end of the world to have a bit of a draught in your house.”
What you want to do, is try and keep your house at a temperature that is not too hot and not too cold, which sounds easier said than done.
But Tim said: “If you have your heating on low and slow all the time rather than hot, cold, hot, cold – it’s actually better for your health and your property.”