USB: Damp Control

Property Care Association

The Property Care Association (PCA), established in 2006, is the premier UK trade body for structural waterproofing, damp proofing and condensation issues. The organisation offers support for technical queries relating to specialist work being carried out, or required on any property.

The PCA is the industry expert in enabling members such as property surveyors, contractors and consultants to maintain and develop their knowledge and skills in waterproofing and damp control treatment.

The challenge

A common problem for many properties is that of damp and condensation.

However, it is often difficult to establish whether the property has a serious structural problem, or whether simply opening a window to air out the property or turning up the heating a little could solve the issue. This may be a sensitive subject for many as some homeowners find it too expensive to turn up their heating.

The purpose of The PCA amongst other functions is to promote specialist property surveys that are carried out by fully qualified, experienced and locally based surveyors, to establish whether a property has a structural fault, or whether the conditions inside are manageable through a lifestyle change.

Condensation problems are growing, as are mould issues and complaints from residents. Environmental data logging is a very common practice used for diagnosis of difficult mould and condensation problems by PCA members. In order to simplify and modernise the process, the PCA was looking for a cost-effective, easy-to-implement solution for their members to carry out temperature and humidity-related property surveys more efficiently.

The solution

The PCA has purchased a number of Lascar’s range of environmental data loggers and offers these on loan to their members to trial. They are also now using thermocouple loggers, with a surface mount sensor that can provide accurate surface measuring of temperatures of a wall.

The main loggers used are:

EL-USB-2 – This is a data logger for measuring temperature and relative humidity, inside and outside the property.

EL-USB-TC – This is a temperature data logger that is used in conjunction with the surface temperature probe, for measuring the temperature of walls where damp and condensation occurs.

The devices allow users to capture data and then download the stored readings by plugging the module into a PC’s USB port. Relative humidity, temperature and dew point (the temperature at which water vapour present in the air begins to condense) can then be graphed, printed and exported to other applications.

The loggers are protected against ingress from water and dust, and are supplied as a complete kit, with free software available as a download.

Benefits

Using data logging equipment to measure humidity and temperature regularly inside and outside properties over a set period of time can help build a picture of why condensation and mould is occurring and determine the contribution to the internal environment that is being made by the residents.

PCA members such as property surveyors can now greatly simplify the datalogging process, which is required for the comprehensive environmental assessment of a property. For example, by gathering accurate details over a prolonged period of time by placing the loggers in a residents’ house. This way, the surveyor can gain a full circle view of the property’s humidity, at different times of the day, across several days.

The opportunity to record and review results ensures that the surveyor has the full perspective of the property he is reviewing. This in turn leads to improved customer satisfaction, as the audits and assessments are based on information that is regularly monitored.

“Atmospheric data logging and surface temperature monitoring provides the evidence to illustrate what is often assumed. Understanding the environment allows surveyors to see the imbalances between energy input, ventilation, moisture production and thermal performance that leads to condensation problems. The information that can be gathered using these simple devices ensures the right advice and the correct remedies are adopted first time, saving clients time, money and distress.” Stephen Hodgson, PCA Chief Executive

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