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 Post subject: my new humid house
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:47 pm 
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HI, I am new to this forum and wanted to ask some of you more handy people about our new house.
It is a 2 bed 750ft2 with air to air heating, metal roof and wood cladding ( and yes it looks like a shed) so we have been renting this house now for 11 months the builders moved out the day before we moved in last January. unsure whether relevant but the garden are/ were peat bog type marshy and we have worked very hard drying the garden out with drainage and planting.
we have found the house to be really humid ( all 6houses have) and issues keep arising,
I wanted to know if normal for a new house in west coast scotland too...

no1 have humidity levels run between 90 and 100%
(we have 2 extractor fans running 4-5hours a day (my choice) they are soon to change to humidistat fans or so my neighbours have said!)
no2 we have condensation on brand new nordan double glazed windows daily. i have just invested in a washer dryer and have tried to not dry any washing indoors to try and help. We have also invested in a very smart £150 dehumidifier and run that for a couple of hours each day. we have never closed the window vents and open windows and doors when we can.
no3 we have mould growing on the ceiling above the doors and windows. probably where humid air reaches cold spots and pools to create damp
no4 went to the loft and found a type of clear plastic under the insulation between the joists and the plasterboard. I thought vapour barrier had a fabric feel and coloured. im nearly sure this is just clear plastic as i pulled some out and put some over my mouth and cannot breath through it. ( yes a stupid test but wanted to check)

is this house normal. the builders say we live in it wrong, and it is our fault, they suggested running heating with windows open to solve the humidity issues. and I cant see the reason for making a eco house if thats the solution.

any advise as im worried this lovely little house that we somehow got will fall apart with rot and damp.


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 Post subject: Re: my new humid house
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:03 pm 
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davextn wrote:
HI, I am new to this forum and wanted to ask some of you more handy people about our new house.
It is a 2 bed 750ft2 with air to air heating, metal roof and wood cladding ( and yes it looks like a shed) so we have been renting this house now for 11 months the builders moved out the day before we moved in last January. unsure whether relevant but the garden are/ were peat bog type marshy and we have worked very hard drying the garden out with drainage and planting.
we have found the house to be really humid ( all 6houses have) and issues keep arising,
I wanted to know if normal for a new house in west coast scotland too...

no1 have humidity levels run between 90 and 100%
(we have 2 extractor fans running 4-5hours a day (my choice) they are soon to change to humidistat fans or so my neighbours have said!)
no2 we have condensation on brand new nordan double glazed windows daily. i have just invested in a washer dryer and have tried to not dry any washing indoors to try and help.
no3 we have mould growing on the ceiling above the doors and windows. probably where humid air reaches cold spots and pools to create damp
no4 went to the loft and found a type of clear plastic under the insulation between the joists and the plasterboard. I thought vapour barrier had a fabric feel and coloured. im nearly sure this is just clear plastic as i pulled some out and put some over my mouth and cannot breath through it. ( yes a stupid test but wanted to check)

is this house normal. the builders say we live in it wrong, and it is our fault, they suggested running heating with windows open to solve the humidity issues. and I cant see the reason for making a eco house if thats the solution.

any advise as im worried this lovely little house that we somehow got will fall apart with rot and damp.


The vapour barrier is correct, it should be plastic to stop moisture getting to the cold side. You are confusing with breatheable membrane that goes on the outside of insulation.

My guess is there is a fault with the detailing of the construction, its not unknown for builders to use the wrong construction methods with eco and passiv haus construction. In any case a new build house not suffer from very high humidity levels, so there is something wrong somewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: my new humid house
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:27 pm 
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Thank you.
I thought they cheated and wrapped us up in plastic like a chicken waiting to be cooked.
2 of the houses have very bad lofts with the plywood on the roof trusses going green with mould. When I asked they said they had the fabric feeling stuff, so maybe that's the issue then with theirs. I will reinstate the patch of plastic i took out. oops
am I correct in thinking its just a ventilation issue within the living areas. will a humidistat work to reduce these levels or as the builders said take all the heat out of the building, that's why they didn't install them.


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 Post subject: Re: my new humid house
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:59 pm 
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davextn wrote:
Thank you.
I thought they cheated and wrapped us up in plastic like a chicken waiting to be cooked.
2 of the houses have very bad lofts with the plywood on the roof trusses going green with mould. When I asked they said they had the fabric feeling stuff, so maybe that's the issue then with theirs. I will reinstate the patch of plastic i took out. oops
am I correct in thinking its just a ventilation issue within the living areas. will a humidistat work to reduce these levels or as the builders said take all the heat out of the building, that's why they didn't install them.


Unfortunately its not an easy problem to diagnose on a forum. What I do know is that high levels of condensation should not occur in a new build house.

The problem often is that builders are not knowledgeable with eco house building techniques, so unless sufficient training and supervision is provided, the construction detailing doesnt match the design principles.

You could try the green building forum, they may be familiar with the construction type and advise.


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 Post subject: Re: my new humid house
PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:30 am 
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Hello sorry to hear of your problems with damp and condensation
The humidity level does seem high

What is the activity like, how many people/pets/ baths/showers/cooking/kettle boiling occasions per day. All will put water into the air
How is air extracted from the bathroom and kitchen, where is it vented to and what is the extraction rate/ model of the fans
What temperature do you keep the property at and what type of heating is it
How much insulation is their in the loft and what type

Some general advice here just in case you have missed anything
http://www.bolton.gov.uk/sites/Document ... 0Mould.pdf

Opening windows isn't likely to help if the external humidity is just as high as you are just exchanging damp air plus
The north west is very damp because of the westerlies and humidity is high
http://www.weather-wherever.co.uk/unite ... ig_v23743/
https://www.heritage-house.org/news/it- ... eason.html
Also have you notified the landlord about the problem ? or are you renting from the builder?


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 Post subject: Re: my new humid house
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:35 am 
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Quote:
Hello sorry to hear of your problems with damp and condensation
The humidity level does seem high

What is the activity like, how many people/pets/ baths/showers/cooking/kettle boiling occasions per day. All will put water into the air
How is air extracted from the bathroom and kitchen, where is it vented to and what is the extraction rate/ model of the fans
What temperature do you keep the property at and what type of heating is it
How much insulation is their in the loft and what type


2 adults one works full time plus over time, the other part time. 2 teeneagers both at school with a myriad of extra curriculum activities.
3 pets, 1 dog plus 2 cats.
2 showers daily between 5 and 10 mins (aka every person has a shower every other day) water heated by electric coil extractor fan on and runs when light turns off for another 5 mins, then someone puts light back on, then off, then on, so i would say 2 shower plus usage of loo extractor fan on a good 2/3 hours a day! .
cook once a day, boil pans with lids up to boil point and simmer after. I open kitchen window a tad and extractor fan on.
I have 3 extracters all airflow icon ( do not know specs) I have a total internal area of 750'2 with 5 windows and 2 doors. all Nordan double glazed timber frame. all 5 window vents open.
loft is fibreglass insulation 2 layers going horizontal to each other ( unsure total depth but quite thick) under which is plastic then plasterboard. cold roof attic space with ply then insulation/vapour layer... something! and metal roof, vents to the front ( west)
walls are stick built with kingspan style insulation again unsure of thickness. concrete floors ( only half have any coverings as yet)
washing done daily ( teenagers) washing is done to a 1400 spin on brand new ( 2 weeks old) washer dryer then it is dried outside, or in the dryer or in the laundry with extractor fan on and the de humidifier going for at least 3 hours a day when not able to open all windows for a blow through.
heating is air to air heat source we run the kitchen living dining room at 18-20deg we dont like hot houses. as its been a touch cold!! over last few days have had it on a lot more maybe 6 hours a day but its not in constant use, as i cannot afford to run it like that, we have a small electric towel rail heater in bathroom that is on full and never switched off all year so i like that room warm to hot, we also have panel heaters in bedrooms but never really used. However as its been so cold here i have put them on for a few hours. Also I never shut internal doors as when its very bad doors swell so cant shut and when we can, the animals/ kids open them anyway.
the house was signed over to the housing assosiation January 2017.The housing assosiation and builders are aware of the situation with all 6 houses. 1 house 2bed 4 people 3 animals. 1 house 2 bed 2 people 2 dogs, 1 house 2 people 2 people always at work. 1 house 3 bed 1 person always at work plus kids every other weekend. 1 house 3 bed 3 people all work part time and school 1 house 3 bed 5 people 2 school 1 work. all have issues.
condensation can be 1 inch high to full window, i dry it down daily. i open windows when i can ( today the childrens room was very bad so dried it and opened window ( heating also on) )as they say this is what i must do.
mould/damp patches are growing mostly above window and doors my bedroom is the worst, again i dry windows and open when i can and heater on as so cold.
my smart meter has found this winter to be as un eco as it can get. We try to keep utlity bills as low as possible and in summer was at £70 p/month average of £2.30 a day for all electric and winter around the £150 p/month of £5.00 a day (so far) so that side of things i am ok with, as is only a little more to when we had a 900ft2 3 bed running wood and coal stove with central heating.
I am just not sure how we all can live in a house wrong, and I am angry that this "better" house is not better at all with the only advice from the builders is...to run heating with windows open.
sorry for the length of reply but wanted to be more exact with information


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 Post subject: Re: my new humid house
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:33 pm 
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Hello davextn
Thanks for the information I'll chuck a few ideas out
Firstly, it might be better to keep an eye out for alternative rentals. As an option it may be quicker and cheaper to go for something more conventional rather than do battle with landlords.
If you wish to engage then I would make a written complaint both separately and as a group to the Housing Association and ask for a plan from them with timescales of when its likely to get fixed and a collective meeting to discuss as it is a health hazard
I would also enquire whether the council could provide any advice/assistance in resolving the matter.

Air to air heat exchanger
The air to air heat exchanger could be part of the problem and as you are running it for only 6 hours then if you did run it as the builders say it would cost a lot of money There are some comments on them here that might be useful but I would think it needs to be assessed technically by a third party expert to see if its been correctly specified and installed
https://www.carboncommentary.com/blog/2 ... -in-the-uk


Extractor fans
You need to check the extraction rate, model, maintenance manual and how they are vented out

Are they powerful enough and installed properly so that it vents outside if you put a smoke taper to it does it extract out. Sometimes the prevailing wind might prevent the air extracting effectively
A correctly installed venting kit is important

Do the blades need a clean ie is it bunged up it shouldn't be but its worth checking does your landlord expect you to keep it maintained. Power needs to be off at at the consumer unit because of the timer before touching them

Bathroom.
Perhaps inadequate heating is not helping I have a 2kw wall heater which I put on to heat the room prior to using the electric shower when the shower is over the mirrors have no steam on them and the hot air helps the extraction of the water vapour quicker. It will need to be wired in by an electrician
https://www.screwfix.com/p/winterwarm-w ... 000w/4433p

I remove excess water after every shower from the tiles with a shower wiper and make sure the door is closed especially when fan is on.

Kitchen
Over the cooker external venting is the only way to go in my opinion so that damp air is sucked out
as its created and rises I doubt a landlord is going to retrofit one for you and you will need to ask their permission to install

Generally
Opening windows in my opinion swops damp warm air for damp cold air at this time of year so is of limited use and increases electricity bills
Spray and Wipe any mould off regularly with HG Mould spray
concrete floors ( only half have any coverings as yet) some carpet might retain heat
You could monitor the humidity levels with a cheap humidity meter and then increase the temperature to see what this did to the humidity and condensation
https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from ... r&_sacat=0
Perhaps you could run the panel heaters in the room to see how the humidity reacts
Condensation If you haven't already got one a window vac might save a bit of time
I try to keep Humidity levels around 60%


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