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Condensation damage to walls

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Ali

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Probably not the most interesting of topics but really need some urgent help so wondering if anyone in this broad church can advise what to do next?

On Friday we awoke to blistering paint on a upstairs hallway ledge, soaking underneath, and a wet patch on the ceiling corner above it. My initial thought was a leak from pipework in the loft or a leak from roof. Called out British Gas homecare to investigate but turned out everything was completely dry up there. Then to my horror, in the room behind the wet ceiling corner, there is an airing cupboard with a newly installed unvented hot water cylinder (from feb) - I opened the airing cupboard up to find the back corner walls absolutely soaked and weeping with damp.

Since then, in the last few days the water damage is spreading daily. I cannot believe how fast and how far the damp can travel. The ledge is literally soaking with water droplets.

I have made a start on some ventilation with some air vents and started to wrap some of the pipes in insulation lagging last night, but wondering if this will fix things?

Or how bad the damage to my walls is already before I call in the pros? the wall literally weeps water when you press it from inside the airing cupboard. Never seen anything like it. There were some cracks to the plaster internally in the airing cupboard which have opened up and am guessing the condensation is getting in this way?

Anything else I can do? Will the lagging help? I'm trying to reduce where the cold air meets the hot air from the pipes, should i insulate the damp walls or leave them be? In the past the airing cupboard had lots of polystyrene as insulation internally. is this a good or bad thing?

Have ordered some humidity meters and a portable dehumidifier. Who to call next too? The RICS guys only seem to specialise in house valuations and the Damping guys will want to sell me their solution??

Any advice gratefully appreciated. Really am at wits end and trying to nurse my father who has just come out of hospital.
 

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Rorschach

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Where is the moisture coming from? Cold air hitting warm pipes doesn't cause condensation. There must be water/steam escaping from somewhere.

Our airing cupboard is the driest room in the house.
 

Ali

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I don’t know where the moisture is coming from, all I know is that it is a lot and is daily. I thought it was the cold walls in the corner or the cold pipes meeting the hot air coming from the very hot water pipes feeding/out from the tanks. No visible steam but would make sense as the walls look like a sauna
 

Ali

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Never had a problem like it either, in 30 years of living in the house. Had a old fashioned vented water tank before but had to change to unvented tank in feb when we had a new boiler installed and realised the pressure from the (mixer) taps was particularly poor
 

Ali

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Pipework all felt dry though, so could it be a leaking joint somewhere letting off steam?
 

Jacob

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That's a leak, or an overflow, etc. etc. Call whoever fitted the cylinder. Or any plumber.
It may be intermittent and hard to spot - only apparent when certain things are happening with the plumbing.
Building fabric can take a very long time to dry out after a leak is fixed, so don't be too hasty with the reparations - let it dry first.
 

Rorschach

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Hot pipes do not cause steam, there needs to be a leak somewhere.
 

Ali

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Thank you very much for your help guys. Whilst the problem has not resolved You pointed me in the right direction and now found the cause... a leak up in the loft!

Called another engineer out to investigate for a leak and did not leave until he found it, literally underneath a floorboard and very inaccessible under a joist in the loft. Seems the new unvented system might have caused another pressure leak somewhere in the old piping system, will know tomorrow when it is chopped out and replaced with a new pipe run.

Hope to God that is the end of that, have been severely let down by so many tradesmen in this recent renovation and the newly decorated walls are soaked from top to bottom of the house now. This on top of a 8 week bedside stay for my Father who was severely ill in hospital. Badly need a break now.

Thanks again guys for pointing me towards the leak, I doth my cap to your abundant experience =D>
 

Phil Pascoe

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You've an excuse to have a rest, anyway - it'll take an age to dry out fully. The problem when you get rid of a weak link is that you create another - check that everything else you can see is free of signs of leakage and get anything else done while the guy's there.
 

Rorschach

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If you have use for it, buy a dehumidifier (desiccant, not compressor) if you won't need it after then hire one. The quicker you dry it out the easier remedial work will be and the less chance of mould.
 
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