If you live in a stone built house and have had cavity wall insulation installed on a scheme where you had it fitted ‘free’. The likelihood is that the insulation is a type of expandable foam that is put into the cavity under pressure.
You may have been told before, that cavity wall insulation wasn’t possible in your house because of the irregular stone sizes. Then along comes a firm saying that their type of insulation is suitable.
If fitted properly the insulation will do its job. If the workmanship was poor quality your home could be badly affected with damp and mould, leading to expensive future repair costs.
If you did have this type of insulation installed, and you now have damp patches on your walls, or there are areas of black mould, has the wallpaper started peeling from the wall or the plaster has bubbled and damaged?
Did you have this problem before? If you didn’t there is a strong chance that the expandable foam insulation is causing the problem.
If you have the problems mentioned, contact us today we have solicitors waiting to work for you on a NO WIN, NO FEE basis. Solicitors are winning enough compensation to have the major work repaired and save you a lot of future hardship.
CONTACT US NOW, OR COMPLETE THE CONTACT PAGE AND WE WILL CALL YOU, DO NOT DELAY.
MOULD in your house is bad for your health. This is one sign of black mould that ‘almost guarantees’ your house is infested with the dangerous spores and fungi. Express.co.uk explores damp mould on walls and how to get rid of mould.
Black mould can cause a range of health problems, which can be very problematic.
The NHS says “if you have damp and mould you’re more likely to have respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma.
“Damp and mould can also affect the immune system.”
Whether you rent or own your home – make sure you are living mould free to avoid the unpleasant side effects and potentially long term health problems.
Toxic black mould is also known as ‘stachybotrys’, and is usually associated with poor air quality in the home.
Website Home Guides has claimed that a smell can indicate whether black mould is present.
“To tell if black mould may be growing in your home, just follow your nose,” the website says.
“A musty, earthy smell, like dirt and rotting leaves, is a telltale sign of mould’s presence.”
Black mould smells especially strong, so a strong odour is the first clue that a house needs to be inspected.
Visually black mould also looks a little different to other kinds of mould – which also pose health problems though maybe not as severe.
“Stachybotrys is usually greenish-black and somewhat slimy or wet, but may also appear grayish with a sooty, powdery texture,” the website says.
No matter what the mould in your home looks like, the website always recommends having any mould removed.
The NHS adds: “Some people are more sensitive than others, including babies and children, elderly people and those with existing skin problems, such as eczema.
“Moulds produce allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances.
“Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash.”
How do you get rid of a bees nest in your home? There are different types of bees in the UK, all of which may require different treatment methods, and sometimes you have to act quickly to avoid damage to your home.
Inappropriate cavity wall insulation in homes has become “a scandal”, a Welsh MP has said.
Arfon MP Hywel Williams claimed millions of homes had the insulation installed by successive government-backed schemes which has led to damp, mould and condensation.
He called on the UK government to take responsibility for the “dreadful mess”.
The UK government said it was committed to ensuring consumers are protected.
The Welsh Government said it has been working with partners, including the UK government, to address the issues and improve the system.
The insulation is meant to make homes warmer and more energy efficient but if installed incorrectly, or in unsuitable properties, it can lead to damp.
Driving rain is also a problem, especially in Wales.
Mother-of-three Anna Phillips from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, started having problems in her three bedroom home seven years ago after buying the property in 2004.
Cavity wall insulation had been installed by the previous owners.
Ms Phillips said damp started coming through in 2010 and the insulation was removed early last year after she contacted the industry-funded guarantee organisation Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA).
“It was soaking wet, absolutely drenched. It took them two days to take it all out due to how poor it was,” she said.
The mental health support worker said heating bills were higher as the mould and damp had affected the whole house and she believed it had impacted on her family’s health.
Speaking about her three children – aged 11, nine and four – she added: “They’re poorly all the time, two suffer with eczema, their chests, they’re continuously coughing, it’s freezing.
“You can have the heating on all day in this house and you don’t feel it, you really don’t”.
Last year, a report by the construction research organisation BRE concluded there should be a nationwide survey of the problem in Wales.
According to the investigation, about 900,000 homes have been built with cavity walls.
Mr Williams will be debating the issue in Westminster on Wednesday and said he was currently dealing with 60 cases in his constituency.
He has called on the UK government to find out exactly how many people have been affected, rectify failed installations and provide proper compensation.
“The scheme was pushed as a free scheme with the backing of the government which would save people £250 per year or so in their heating costs and clearly older, people with disabilities and poor people actually took advantage of it because of the obvious hard sell,” he said.
A spokesman from the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The government is committed to ensuring that consumers are protected when choosing cavity wall insulation.
“That’s why installations carried out under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) are subject to a number of strict quality standards and Ofgem requires cavity wall insulation to come with a minimum 25 year guarantee.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said it was “in discussion with the main scheme operator, CIGA, about our concerns around the adequacy and reliability of pre-installation property assessments, the need for accessible information to householders about installations and future maintenance and customer focussed claim and complaint resolution procedures”.
“We are currently reviewing the conditions of authorisation for scheme operators dealing with cavity wall insulation in relation to these areas of concern,” the spokesman added.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council is now stripping-out glass-fibre cavity-wall insulation which it originally installed in a number of current or former council-owned properties in Penarth.
It’s an operation which appears to prove that yesterday’s energy-saving environmental fad can easily turn out to be today’s major maintenance headache.
One of the operations now under way is on a terrace of pre-war two-storey properties in Clive Place and involves drilling through the outer brickwork and sucking out the glass-fibre with powerful vacuum systems.
This two-week project is being undertaken by a specialist firm by ECT Cavity Wall Clearances of Risca who are busy not only in Penarth but are stripping-out unwanted wall insulation from properties across South Wales.
Once all the old fibreglass insulation has been extracted and building rubble removed from within the walls, all the cavity wall ties (metal fittings which keep the two walls-skins together) have to be checked by surveyors with endoscopes to ensure they’re clear of any extraneous material.
The cavity wall insulation craze began in the 1970s and by the 1990s it even became compulsory in Government building regulations but it wasn’t long before many householders found that rather than making their homes warmer, the insulation could make interior walls damp as the insulation bridged the cavityÃâÃÂ and allowed moisture to travel from the outer wall to the inner wall thereby destroying the whole point of having a cavity wall at all.
The Vale Council however says cavity wall insulation can save 30% of a building’s heat loss and is now planning to install new cavity wall insulation in its properties and is no doubt hoping that it won’t be necessary to strip that new insulation out all over again in 20 years time.
More than 1.5 million homes have been left blighted by botched cavity insulation work carried out to meet Government energy targets, experts say.
Properties across Britain have suffered dampness and mould, causing smells, crumbling plaster and stained walls. In some cases, the value of homes has plunged.
The scheme, funded by a ‘green tax’ on household gas and electricity bills, was meant to cut emissions and reduce charges by making homes more energy-efficient.
But experts claim that many homes were simply not suitable for âretrofitting’ cavity wall insulation, while others were in parts of Britain where weather conditions should have precluded its use.
Millions were persuaded to sign up to the scheme by the promise of cheaper bills from call-centre staff and door-to-door salesmen employed by energy firms obliged to meet Government targets.
A survey of 250,000 properties by thermal-imaging company IRT found the addition of cavity wall insulation to existing homes had failed to work in a quarter of cases and problems in half the homes it surveyed. Some owners even saw bills rise.
With more than six million properties having had the treatment since 1995, this suggests that as many as 1.5 million are affected.
Campaigners claim some people are suicidal after their properties were left riddled with damp patches and mould as a result of botched fitting, which can take thousands of pounds to put right.
Among the victims are Helen Thomson, from Cornwall, whose farmhouse suffered such serious problems after cavity wall insulation was installed that Â£30,000 of repairs are needed.
And Deborah Wassell, of Southampton, had her insulation removed after furniture went mouldy and her son suffered asthma attacks.
Pauline Saunders, who set up Cavity Wall Insulation Victims Alliance after problems at her home in Newport, South Wales, said: âWe’ve been inundated with people whose homes have been ruined. It has got so bad for some that they have been left feeling suicidal.
‘Even if half the findings of the study are true, more than a million people’s homes will have problems.’
Last month, Ministers published a report which admitted there were âtoo many poor-quality installations by companies which do not have the skills required.”
Stephen Hodgson, of the Government-endorsed Property Care Association, said some homes were simply not suitable for the work as their design meant the insulation which is pumped into walls via holes drilled into the exterior brickwork acts as a bridge for moisture to cross the cavity into the house.
He said: Contractors were desperate to mop up vast sums of money made available by energy firms on the back of Government green targets.
Under Government rules introduced in 1994, energy firms must help improve the efficiency of their customers homes, with costs added as a levy to all household fuel bills. The cost is around four per cent on top of an energy bill equivalent to Â£47 per year on average.
Many householders told The Mail on Sunday of difficulties getting compensation from the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency (CIGA), which was set up to pay for repairs caused by botched work. Experts also say its Â£18 million fund is not enough but the agency chief executive Nigel Donohue insisted: Customer satisfaction rates are up.
Neil Marshall, chief executive of the National Insulation Association, disputed IRT findings. He said: These figures are widely inaccurate as thermal cameras in isolation are ill-equipped to assess the effectiveness of cavity wall insulation.
However, he admitted that at least 13,000 of the six million CIGA-guaranteed homes had reported problems.
An Energy Department spokesman said that Government programmes required companies installing insulation to be accredited and to provide a guarantee.
Brendan O’Brien, from Plymouth, fears his semi-detached house will fall down around him, his partner and their three children because the walls are so waterlogged after cavity wall insulation was installed in 2004.
We are in a living hell, said the 44-year-old. The house has become so waterlogged it has cracked the gable end of the house. The front window is about to fall out.
There is serious structural damage and there is no point in decorating or putting down carpets because it all gets ruined in the damp. A worker came out to look at it. He drilled into the wall and water was pouring out. It has collected like a sponge between the walls.
Helen Thomson, 56, from Bude, Cornwall, needs Â£30,000 of repairs to her five-bedroom farmhouse due to horrific problems.
Her late mother Patricia, who also lived at the property, was taken in by a cold-calling salesman who convinced her the house was a perfect fit for the work in 2009. But insulation should never have been carried out at the property the exposed location of the home, on a hill in a rainy rural area, meant rainwater soaked into the new insulation, leading to a chronic damp problem.
Mrs Thomson, daughter Ella Gillies, 30, said: My mother has been hospitalised twice due to lung conditions and the doctor told me he thinks it was due to mould caused by the insulation. It has ruined her life.
The house should never have had insulation. It was a beautiful five-bedroom farmhouse, but now it is wrecked.
Deborah Wassell, 47, a school secretary from Southampton, suffered ten years of damp problems after cavity insulation was installed in her three-bedroom semi. She had the insulation removed after furniture went mouldy and her son began to suffer asthma.
Yet she doesn’t blame the installers, saying: This scheme was being pushed by the Government and energy firms.
Cavity Wall Insulation Claims
Compensation for damp problems