Condensation and mould are a dirty, secret subject, something many of us suffer with in our homes, but we suffer in silence. In a world of Insta ready, pristine interiors, it can seem like you may be the only one with this frustrating problem and so, when I mentioned my troubles on Instagram early last year, I was surprised to see so many of your were experiencing the exact same issues. Admittedly it’s not the most exciting topic to talk about, but the quality of the air in our homes and the longevity of our decorating efforts depends on problems such as this being resolved.
[AD – This blog contains gifted product, given in exchange for an honest blog post]
When I realised condensation was something many of you wanted help with, as well as myself, I decided to do some research and approached Envirovent (who had been recommended on my Instagram post) to see if they were up to the challenge of curing my house of it’s dark, secret woes. To my delight they said no problem, they could definitely help.
Condensation occurs when warm air comes into contact with a cold surface, or if there is a lot of humidity. We have a woodburner, we dry clothes above it, our bathroom is tiled, cold and badly ventilated, we cook, breathe! All these things contribute to the level of moisture in the our homes.
Condensation and mould have plagued this house for year and years, we have tried always keeping a window open, having a dehumidifier or two running over night, painting areas with special mould blocking, chemical laiden paint, but nothing has ever truly helped. Dehumidifiers remove the moisture from the air, yes, in their immediate vicinity at least, but they also steal the moisture from you. We would wake up in the morning with sore throats and dry eyes and noses, a direct result of having a dehumidifier running.
We came to accept that there were certain expectations to our home. The walls would turn black behind artwork on the walls, the prints themselves buckling from the damp, we would have to wipe black mould from the window frames and corners of rooms frequently and furniture would aggravate the problem even more. Ours wasn’t the absolute worst, I’ve seen cases far more serious, but when you’ve taken the time to decorate, when you favour light colours, which hide nothing, it can be really demoralising watching your efforts begin to come undone before your eyes. Not to mention the health implications.
The final straw for me was when my daughter Nancy’s room fell victim, with the artwork you see here becoming damp and upon removing I saw that the wall was black. It was also the case for where her bed sat alongside the wall. I threw a huge tantrum (one that was completely out of proportion for this one particular discovery, but was the cumulative result of years of similar damage being done) and declared war on this unwelcome house guest.
Envirovent are award winning Ventilation specialists, with over 30 years of experience and their customer service was fantastic. Within a few weeks of me getting in contact and discussing the issues we faced, an engineer was in our house, confidently fitting a PIV (Positive Input Ventilation) unit.
You can watch my Instagram Stories from around that time here –
The vent for the unit needs to be central in the property, so for us, in our relatively small house, the top of the stairs was the perfect position. Ezra, the engineer, was so quick and efficient. I actually had a friend and her 3 children over for the day, so the house was very full indeed, but it was no trouble at all. At one point we all had to go outside until we were told we could come back in, this was when the hole was cut in the ceiling, for the outlet. Due to the age of our house (late 60s) it is highly likely that the awful artex ceilings (another torment of my life, but one I have mostly come to just accept, as it’s unlikely we’ll ever change it in this area and at least it isn’t glorious swirls or fans!) may contain Asbestos. As we don’t have any doors in the majority of the house, we had to leave until this part of the work was done, because closing off just the hallway wasn’t an option. The cardboard box you see above was to contain any dust, leaving the house was just an extra precaution.
The ATMOS PIV system was chosen as the best fit for our home and needs.
Simply explained PIV (positive input ventilation) provides constant fresh filtered air into the house, this then works on a dilution and displacement process. No air goes up into the unit, it’s a constant input process. The effect of the unit is to control the moisture levels and this in turn keeps the relative humidity at a level that condensation doesn’t form, mould often follows so this is prevented also. Any property with mould will see it turn grey in colour and powder like in consistency; this signifies the mould is essentially dead.John Moss, Envirovent Sales Director – Home Division
The unit is run via an App, which gives you access to the settings, which generally are set and left to do their thing, but can also be adapted if conditions in the house change. For example, if you were spending the entire day batch cooking, with pots boiling, the oven kicking out steam, or you have more people than normal staying, showering etc, you can boost the settings, telling the unit to work a little harder.
18hrs after installation and the condensation in the furthest corners of the house had reduced, but not disappeared, I was told it would take several days to really see a difference, but I was amazed to find Nancy’s windows completely clear. She would usually have a river running down the glass in the morning. Her room is the closest to the outlet.
42hrs after installation and I awoke to completely clear bedroom windows and the benefits of the system have just gone on and gone since then. We are absolutely over the moon.
I waited a few weeks, to be on the safe side, but then went full steam ahead redecorating Nancy’s room. Well, full steam until every other part of my life took over and her room, many, many months later still isn’t complete. But it will be, very soon.
In the interest of honesty, with pros and cons in mind, the system is not without it’s slight issues. Not in terms of performance, it really, really does what it claims to do and I wholeheartedly endorse and encourage you to invest, if you can.
But it wouldn’t be right not to talk about these 2 issues –
Look – There is no getting away from the fact the vent is not the most beautiful addition to our interior, it’s right there to be seen. If the ceiling were higher here I don’t think it would be such an eyesore, but it isn’t.
Sound – Every so often the sound it makes annoys me too. You’re not aware of it 95% of the time, but occasionally my ears tune into the low hum and it irks me. Momentarily.
Do you know what? Who actually bloody cares?! I don’t tend to hang out in this area very much, so looks and sound pale into general insignificance, when set against the benefits it has brought and the confidence we can have that, going forwards, condensation and the mould that soon follows, is a thing of the past.
A huge thank you to Envirovent for this partnership, for bringing an end to an issue that has plagued our home for so many years.
The unit I was gifted is the ATMOS PIV System, with App connectivity. The rrp of this is £1100 and it is manufactured in North Yorkshire. It is free to have a home survey carried out, where a trained expert will advise you about the best ventilation system to suit your house.
I had hoped to bring you a discount code with this blog post, but time has gone on, one hasn’t appeared and I really wanted to get this post published. I will work on trying to get a code asap xx