Mould, mildew, and fungus can create numerous health hazards indoors. There are usually rooms that are more prone to dampness due to moisture being generated from baths / showers / kettles / cooking ovens and respiration from people breathing. The kitchen is one of these spaces.
Every time the toaster is used it toasts the bread and the moisture in the bread is transferred to the kitchen environment. Likewise with the various cooking, boiling, frying & baking processes, moisture is generated and dissipated into the kitchen environment.
Air contains water vapour in varying quantities. Its capacity to do so is related to its temperature – warm air holds more moisture than cold air. When moist air comes into contact with either colder air or a colder surface, the air temperature is reduced and its moisture carrying capacity is also reduced. When the air cools sufficiently it reaches the dew point temperature, at which the moisture carrying capacity has been reduced to the point where the air cannot accommodate the moisture in the form of invisible water vapour. This is when the relative humidity is said to be 100%. Any further cooling will result in some fine water droplets being released and this usually condenses onto the cold surface.
All this moisture increases the likelihood of condensation occurring on the cooler surfaces where the boundary layer of air has lower moisture carrying capacity and higher relative humidity. Where the relative humidity is above 70% the problems associated with mould, mildew & fungus start becoming more noticeable. Mould spores become airborne and many people have allergies and poor health as a result of the presence of mould, mildew & fungus. Condensation is generally noticeable where it forms on non-absorbent surfaces (i.e. windows or tiles) but it can form on any surface and it may not be noticed until mould growth or rotting of material occurs.
The use of dehumidifiers is recognised as one of the best ways to control damp problems and maintain healthier kitchen environments that also protect foodstuffs from premature degradation.
Most importantly you need to ensure that the amount of moisture in the air is not excessive.
- Whilst cooking, have the extractor fan running and/or alternatively keep air circulation going by opening a window, so that the moist cooking air can escape. It is important to try to ventilate the room to the outside rather than to the rest of the house – just opening a window (and closing the door) will help.
- Try to increase the change of air in the premises – increase ventilation. Add forced ventilation/extraction to a kitchen which produces a lot of moisture. Be careful, however, of introducing additional moisture from a humid environment outside.
- Some decorative materials always have cold surfaces, (i.e. ceramic tiles, mirrors etc.) and are well known for the formation of condensation. Unfortunately we tend to use tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, two rooms where high humidity levels are likely to occur. There is not much you can do where this occurs other than keeping the room (and so the tiles) evenly heated throughout the day, improve ventilation or make use of a dehumidifier.
- Painted walls can also have a cold surface. Alternatively, a wall can be insulated by fitting a false wall with a layer of insulation behind with the front either being panelled or covered with plasterboard, so that the new surface can be papered. However, remember that with all these ‘covering up’ methods, they typically just hide and do not cure the problem. If the wall is suffering from rising or other damp problems, with the passage of time, the damp will cause damage to the lining (wet rot to the timber, etc.) and this will not be seen until it is really serious.
- Solid floors (e.g. a slab of concrete) are often cold because of their large thermal mass (they take a long time to warm up). Even vinyl floor tiles tend to be cold; however, there is a number of floor heating options available.
- No Standing Water – You should not leave water exposed, whether spilled on the counter, the floor, under the refrigerator, or simply left from dishes stacked on the after rinsing. Water can become a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if other substances, such as dust, are present. Water sitting under the refrigerator, a warm dark place, is an ideal breeding ground for mould and mildew, things you definitely don’t want to take hold in the kitchen.
We offer either wall-mounted refrigeration type dehumidifiers or the more portable self-regenerating desiccant type dehumidifiers to best suit your particular kitchen environment. Desiccant type dehumidifiers are typically suited for larger areas. Both the refrigerant and desiccant dehumidifier type models have the condensate water collected in a canister that can be manually emptied. Alternatively the condensate can be connected to a drain point where it drains directly without requiring the canister to be emptied. If a canister is full, then the dehumidifier automatically switches off until it has been emptied and replaced.
It is important to determine the appropriate dehumidifier based upon the area of the intended interior. Otherwise you may be unable to effectively reduce the dampness levels. So, always measure the environment the dehumidifier is intended for prior to making a purchase, as well as the average relative humidity.
These dehumidifiers are relatively easy to install and use. We also provide all the technical expertise necessary to install and repair dehumidifiers if necessary.