Don’t let Santa get damp – dealing with a damp chimney


Chimneys and flues are often subjected to intense cycles of hot and cold. With chimney stacks open to the elements, defects like damp can occur in chimneys that are used or redundant. This could be due to moisture and sulphates combining to form weak acids that attack lime, mortar joints and brickwork. Or it might be the moisture levels in a chimney have increased due to one end being sealed. Typically, however, the main causes of damp in chimneys are rain, condensation or salt contamination.

  • Rain can enter a chimney down the flue if chimney pots are uncapped, around defective lead flashings or through the wall of the chimney stack.
  • Condensation-based issues are more likely to occur in flues that remain in use as burning fuel produces water vapour.
  • Salt contamination in the plaster of a wall can also cause damp. This is more common in older chimneys and it can be the result of coal previously being burnt in the fireplace. Coal contains salt minerals like nitrates, chlorides and sulphates that can migrate from the brickwork into the wall plaster. These damp patches can often worsen when the weather does.
Coal burning in the fireplace

Identifying the cause of a damp chimney

It’s worthwhile trying to establish what the source of damp might be so the cause can be identified and treated accordingly. Things to check safely, and with the appropriate help, include:

  • Chimney stack – is it open-topped or capped? If it is open-topped it could be causing moisture to enter the chimney, travelling to the base of the stack. Damp around this area or in the brickwork is a tell tale sign. If your chimney stack is capped, make sure it has a well-ventilated cap or cowl to ensure there is no moisture build up.
  • Mortar – if the mortar around your chimney stack is cracked or splitting, water can get inside the chimney breast.
  • Lead flashing, tiles & loft space – the lead flashing on your roof, where it meets a wall or the chimney stack, should be checked to see if it’s coming apart or cracked. Similarly damaged tiles can also cause issues. Do look inside your loft space too to see if there are any signs of light coming in or if there’s a leak.
  • Guttering – gutters that are blocked cause rainwater to collect and can cause damp in your chimney. This is because water will be forced to run down a wall and seep into any mortar cracks.
  • Damp proof course – Have a look to see if your chimney breast has a damp proof course. This is a layer of slate or plastic a few inches above the ground, some older properties were built without these.
Air brick and damp proofing on the exterior of a house.

How to damp proof your chimney

Once you’ve identified the probable cause of damp in your chimney, it can be repaired. Damp proofing, dehumidifiers and anti-mould paint may temporarily combat a damp issue in your chimney but often it doesn’t provide a permanent solution. The Schrijver System, however, is a more effective and environmentally-friendly solution compared to traditional damp proofing and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Installed by specialist engineers, the system uses natural ventilation to lower the humidity level and prevent damp. These experts install a series of small, handmade elements that are fixed to the outside of your property. These allow dry air to flow from the outside into the elements causing a drop in temperature and a ‘cold bridge’. This causes moisture from the wall interior to be deposited within the element and transporting the moisture outside.

Want to find out more about how Frank Schrijver can help you with your damp problems?

01689 800101

Is it OK to Dry Clothes Indoors?

During the autumn and winter months, hanging your laundry outside isn’t always practical.

It doesn’t get light until later in the morning and the sun goes down much earlier. On the shortest winter’s day the sun rises after 8am and sets before 4pm. That’s less than 8 hours of daylight. On a working day this means hanging out your washing and retrieving it in the dark. What’s more, autumn and winter days are also much colder and wetter. These aren’t exactly the right conditions for having that shirt ready for work tomorrow. So, what’s the alternative?

Drying your Clothes Indoors

If you can’t accomplish it outdoors then you’ll have to dry your clothes indoors.

At first it might seem like a good idea. You can’t dry them outside, so dry them inside. It’s drier, it’s warmer and it’s cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than switching on the tumble drier. But think again. Wet clothes in the home can increase the damp in your property by around 30%. By increasing the moisture levels in your home you’ll be adding to your damp problem. You could also be creating the perfect environment for black mould. It is well known that the spores of stachybotrys chartarum can be a serious health hazard, particularly for children, pregnant women and the elderly. As well as posing a health risk, you’ll have increased condensation in your home. You’ll have damp patches on your walls, condensation on your windows and black mould on your window frames. And yet, despite all these negatives, over 80% of people in the UK still dry their clothes indoors. A single load of clothes can contain as much as 2 litres of water, so that’s a lot of damp!

Reducing the Moisture in Your Home

If you absolutely must dry your clothes indoors, there are a number of things you can do to mitigate the risks of having condensation.
  • Open a window. This is the easiest thing you can do to let out the extra moisture. Open a single window in the room where you are drying your clothes and let the natural ventilation do its job.
  • Buy yourself a dehumidifier. These can be relatively cheap compared to a tumble dryer and will draw the water droplets from the air. You will still have to empty the water collector.
  • Get a tumble dryer. It will cost you a lot more than simply opening a window and is more expensive than a dehumidifier but at least you’ll be sending all that extra moisture outside. And your clothers will be drier quicker too.
  • Install extractor fans. Whilst relatively cheap to buy, an extractor fan kit will need to be fitted by an expert. Usually installed in the kitchen, bathroom or a cloakroom (downstairs toilet), turn on your extractor fan whilst you’re drying your load.

So, with all these potential options, there should be something you can do to avoid drying your clothes at home in a manner that will cause damp in your home.

If you are still having damp problems then it might well be worth giving us a call so that one of our experts can conduct a damp survey. At Frank Schrijver we are damp experts and the Schrijver system of damp control is a green alternative to chemical-heavy methods of damp proofing. Give us a call on 01689 800101 or drop us an email at

7 Ways To Reduce Condensation In Your Property


Nobody wants damp in a property. Even condensation can be unhealthy and lead to black mould forming on walls, furniture or window frames. Condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces although it can develop inside wardrobes or other places where the air is still (See our article on signs of damp).

While condensation is not usually a problem in the warmer months, humidity levels during winter are much higher. Here are just a few of the ways to reduce condensation in your property.

1. Limit moisture levels in the kitchen

Extractor fans or an open window are a great way to reduce moisture in a kitchen. You should do one or the other while cooking and ideally for 15 minutes afterwards. Put the lids on your pans where possible and remove surface moisture where it develops too. Damp image

Extractor fans are a great way to reduce condensation

2. Remove steam in the bathroom

It’s easy for bathrooms to get steamed up, especially at this time of the year. In much the same way as a kitchen, keep your extractor fan on or pop a window open slightly. Either will reduce the level of condensation in the room, caused by running warm water in a cool environment. Keep the door closed as well so the steam goes outside, rather than into colder rooms.

3. Keep bedroom wardrobes aired

Although condensation is usually associated with kitchens and bathrooms, bedrooms can also be a breeding ground. Overfilled wardrobes are a typical cause due to the lack of air. Also ensure there is space behind your bedroom furniture so air can circulate. feb17-image-03

Keeping your wardrobe aired is another good way to reduce condensation

4. Drying Laundry

Where possible, try to dry clothes outdoors to prevent excess moisture escaping into your property. If a tumble drier is used then it should be ventilated to the exterior of the property.

5. Eliminate moisture in the air

Many newer homes already have extractor fans built in. However, if your kitchen, bathroom or utility room doesn’t have an extractor fan already, it’s worth investing in one. Of course, you can just open a window, but this isn’t always practical as you will be letting in cold air during the autumn and winter months, plus there are potential security issues. So, if you can afford to have an extractor fan installed, it is well worth it as a secure and cost-effective solution.

6. Make your home warmer

The colder the room in your property, the more likely it is to be affected by condensation. Where feasible, consider having your central heating on in all rooms even if it’s just for part of the day. Keeping all rooms regularly aired will also help keep your property free of condensation.

7. Insulate your home

As warmer properties suffer less from condensation, make sure yours is well insulated. This includes the loft space, cavity walls and windows. Secondary glazing is a good solution for drafty windows. As with surfaces, if your windows and sills are already affected by condensation, they should be wiped down, otherwise, you will have a build-up of moisture and black mould can develop, which is not good for your health.

For a more long-term option, damp proofing is the best solution. Traditional damp proofing creates a physical or chemical barrier between the ground and porous building materials. The Schrijver System, however, offers an alternative method relying on natural processes continuously working to reduce the overall moisture and humidity levels in your home.

For further information, contact us on 01689 800101 or email

Landlords: Control Damp in your Rented Homes


As a landlord, you’ll want to maximise the return on your investment. That means offering a well-maintained property for a reasonable price.

If your rented property has a damp problem then it is well worth fixing. Not only will your rented property be more cosmetically pleasing but it will be clean and healthy and command a better rental price.

Only last month a landlady in Ellesmere Port was ordered to pay over £2,000 by Chester Magistrates Court. This included £1,200 of fines, over £800 in court costs and a £120 victim surcharge. This was in addition to having to conduct the remedial work to fix the damp problem in the flat she rented to private tenants.

So, to avoid costly fines, it is essential that you maintain your property to ensure that it is in an acceptable condition and state of repair.

If you have a damp problem then it is in your best interests to get a solution in place as soon as possible.

Contacting Frank Schrijver is quick and easy:

Just call 01689 800101 now or fill in our easy contact form.

One of our damp specialists should be able to attend your property within 2-10 days to perform a damp inspection. If you are the property owner then the assessment is free of charge.

If your property requires damp control then we will provide a written quote with a lifetime guarantee. Compared to other methods of damp proofing, the Schrijver System is extremely cost-effective.

The most appealing benefit of our system to landlords is that it is installed from the outside of your property so there is no costly interior redecoration needed, as with other systems, and no disruption to your tenants.

For further information on our method of damp proofing, find out about The Schrijver System and how it works.

If you’d like to keep your property in tip-top condition, comply with housing law, keep your tenants happy and get the best price for your rented property, then fix any damp problems in your portfolio.