IELTS Reading Exercise 32
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the reading passage for each answer.
Dealing With Condensation
Damp can cause mould on walls and furniture and make timber window frames rot. Damp housing encourages the growth of mould and mites, and can increase the risk of respiratory illness. Some damp is caused by condensation.
What is condensation?
There is always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it. If the air is colder, it cannot hold all the moisture and tiny droplets of water appear. This is condensation. You notice it when you see your breath on a cold day, or when the mirror mists over when you have a bath or shower.
Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather, whether it is raining or dry. It does not leave a 'tidemark'. It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. Look for it in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards. It often forms on north-facing walls.
Is it condensation?
Condensation is not the only cause of damp. Damp can also come from: leaking pipes, wastes or overflows; rain seeping through the roof where a tile or slate is missing, spilling from a blocked gutter, penetrating around window frames, or leaking through a cracked pipe; rising damp due to a defective damp course or because there is no damp proof course. These causes of damp often leave a 'tidemark'.
If your home is newly built, it may be damp because the water used during its construction (for example, in plaster) is still drying out. If your home is damp for any of these reasons, it may take weeks of heating and ventilation to dry out. Hiring a humidifier will help. If you do not think the damp comes from any of these causes, it probably is condensation.
How to avoid condensation
These three steps will help you reduce the condensation in your home.
1. Produce less moisture
Some ordinary daily activities produce a lot of moisture very quickly. Cover pans and do not leave kettles boiling. Avoid using paraffin and portable flueless bottled gas heaters as these heaters put a lot of moisture in the air. Dry washing outdoors on a line, or put it in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or fan on. Vent any tumble dryer on the outside, unless it is the self-condensing type. DIY kits are available for this.
2. Ventilate to remove moisture
You can ventilate your home without making draughts. Keep a small window ajar or a trickle ventilator open when someone is in the room. Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when in use by opening the windows wider. Or better still, use a humidistat-controlled electric fan. These come on automatically when the air becomes humid, and are cheap to run. Close the kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use, even if your kitchen or bathroom has an extractor fan. A door closer is advisable, as this will help prevent moisture reaching other rooms, especially bedrooms, which are often colder and more likely to get condensation. Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes. Avoid putting too many things in them as this stops the air circulating. Cut a ventilation slot in the back of each shelf or use slatted shelves. Cut breather holes in doors and in the back of wardrobes and leave space between the back of the wardrobe and the wall. Where possible, position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls. If you replace your window units at any time, make sure that the new frames include trickle ventilators.
3. Insulate, draught-proof and heat your home
Insulation and draught-proofing will help to keep your home warm and will also cut fuel bills. When the whole home is warmer, condensation is less likely. Insulate your loft. Remember to draught proof the loft hatch but do not block the opening under the eaves. Consider cavity wall insulation. Consider secondary and double-glazing of windows to reduce heat loss and draughts but you must ensure that there is some ventilation.
But here are some words of warning: Do not block permanent ventilators. Do not completely block chimneys. Instead, leave a hole about two bricks in size and fit a louvered grille over it. Do not draught-proof a room where there is a cooker or a fuel burning heater, for example, a gas fire. Do not draught-proof windows in the bathroom and kitchen.
First steps against mould
First treat any mould you may already have in your home. If you then deal with the basic problem of condensation, mould should not reappear. To kill and remove mould, wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash, which carries a Health and Safety Executive approval number. Follow the manufacturer's instructions precisely. Dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Disturbing mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning can increase the risk of respiratory problems. After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. Note that this paint is not effective if overlaid with ordinary paints or wallpaper.
The only lasting way to avoid severe mould is to eliminate dampness.
Source: Hertfordshire Borough Council
Tell your friends about us!
Share By Email