3 Essentials for a healthy home

3 Essentials for a healthy home

Keeping your home warm, comfortable, energy efficient and healthy: the aesthetic, these are probably the most important characteristics that you want in your home.
A house it is not just a place to do our necessary daily tasks. It’s a place to rest, be with family and friends, spend your more precious times with the ones we love and just be your selves.
There are three methods for heating your home economically and obtaining a warm, healthy and cozy home.

Warm it up

Do you know that the World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 18 degrees in our homes? To achieve it you need good insulation and the right type of heating/cooling equipment.
Good quality insulation keeps the heat in during winter and out during summer. This makes your house easier and cheaper to heat properly, and more comfortable and healthy to live in.
As a protective and warm hug, completely insulate your home (not just the roof or the walls) is the first essential step to protect not only a place but your home and family.

Dry it out

Homes with humidity can be bad for our health and promote mould and dust mites. Minimizing moisture sources and insulate it correctly are the keys to keeping your home dry and healthier.
Damp homes promote mould and dust mites, which can cause respiratory problems. While dehumidifiers and ventilation systems help reduce the symptoms of the problem, it’s important to track down the underlying cause of dampness in your home. The problem may be relatively cheap and easy to fix.
Inside your house some signs of dampness can appears and reveals problems that no one wants to deal with.
Musty smells, mouldy clothes or shoes in wardrobes, mould forming behind mirrors and furniture and stains or watermarks on ceilings, walls or near windows. Imagine the completely nightmare that is can be?
Condensation on windows, especially in bedrooms, isn’t necessarily a sign of excessive dampness if it only happens occasionally during winter.

But the question is…Where does excess moisture and condensation come from?

Living in a home means you use it for several activities that produce water vapor and moisture. Daily activities like cooking and showering can be responsible for some litres of moisture, but this is normal and can be managed by correct insulation, heating and ventilating. To prevent mould growth, the amount of relative humidity in your house should ideally be below 65% most of the time, and it should be heated to at least 18 degrees. To measure and assess the temperature and relative humidity in your house you can use a simple and low-cost hygrometer.

Also from outside you can have moisture sources such as leaking pipes or damp rising from underneath, however they are often hidden and can go undetected for several years, damaging your house.

How to deal with inside dampness?
The way you use your house is very important to decrease the risk of damp. Here are some tips of how to tackle with dampness:

  • Keep the home warm – insulation and heating improve ventilation effectiveness and reduce the risk of mould growth on cold surfaces;
  • Open doors and windows often to create an air flow or use a ventilation system;
  • Extract moisture by using extraction fans (vented externally) in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry;
  • Dry your clothes outside, or under a covered space or use a clothes dryer (ducted to the outside);
  • Use lids on pots when cooking to reduce moisture and save energy;
  • Keep furniture away from external walls (especially uninsulated walls) to avoid mould growing behind furniture in winter.

We must also keep in mind that:

  • Using a dehumidifier can be useful when it’s raining, but it will not stop mould growth, just because it is “attacking” the consequence and not the cause;
  • The cause of inside dampness can come from outside, so it is important have a vapor barrier under your house’s floor;
  • Make a check-up on your house to identify possible leaks, blocked downpipes and ventilations vents, and correct these problems. Check also for damp patches and white mineral deposits which can indicate moisture is coming through.
  • If your house is new or recently renovated, there’s probably excess moisture in some of the construction materials that needs to dry out. This may take a few months, but you can speed up the process with heating and ventilation.
    In the end, if you’re not sure about all of these actions, talk to an expert or qualified builder and discuss with him any improvements that may be necessary.

Air it out

Good ventilation is essential for removing excess moisture from your home and for maintaining air quality. However, ventilation can decrease the internal temperature during winter, causing high heat losings and promote a discomfort feeling.
So, what to do?
Try to make ventilation a part of your daily routine and guarantee that your home is well ventilated, naturally or mechanically.
Open just some minutes doors and windows to create cross-air ventilation is a good way to quickly replace stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air and remove moisture from your home. Ventilating your bedroom overnight is also important for a better sleep by maintaining air quality, reducing excessive moisture and the risk of mould growth. However, during the cold winter nights this can be difficult to do. It will be uncomfortable and energy consuming. So, ventilate when you turn off the heating, for example before you leave the house in the morning.
We can always ask to an expert to study and understand if a mechanical ventilation system is better in your house. These kind of mechanical systems are more and more used and allows you to ventilate your house minimizing or even eliminate the heating losses.

You can deal with inside dampness in several ways, but to really solve the cause of it you have to:

  • Apply the correct insulation system avoiding all thermal bridges that can be responsible for critical dampness and humidity points. The insulation and right thickness will keep your home warm in winter and a comfortable in summer.;
  • Have a well-sized ventilation system (natural or mechanical).