DIY Doctor

Loft causing breathing problems/itchy eyes

Postby littlegiraffe » Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:17 pm

Please can someone help. Our boiler is in the loft. In October 2020 we noticed it had been gradually leaking. The leak had wet the loft boards under the boiler and the insulation underneath, it also wet the ceilings in 2 upstairs rooms and water ran down the walls. We removed the wet loft boards and all the wet insulation (DIY job). We checked all the nearby insulation and left the area and ceilings uncovered for several weeks and used a dehumididifier. When we felt happy that everything had dried out we put down new insualtion (space stuff from Wickes) and replaced the loft boards with new ones. We redecordated the areas of the house. During all this my husband began to experience breathing difficulties when in the loft caused by the mold/dust we assumed was on the wet insulation. It caused him to have acid reflux and he became unable to work in the loft even with a mask. Now if he goes up there the same happens again. It doesn't affect me in the same way but I have been in there today to re-pressurise the boler and now I have itchy eyes and feel a bit breathless rather like hayfever symptoms. We think the loft is dry and we think it is well ventilated. The old loft insulation is yellow and has blackened but this has been like this a long time before the leak. The house was built between 1975-1981. The bathroom ceiling has had some small amounts of mold on it but we assume this is because of showers/downlighters (can't insulate over these). Elsewhere in the house we do get condensation on most of our double glazed windows but these are old and due for replacement. We had cavity wall insulation installed in 2008 (ish). The house is detatched.
We are unsure who to conatct first to see what the problem is - we did have a bit of condensation in the loft about 10 years ago but this was solved by pulling the insulation back out of the eaves slightly so vents were exposed. (Like we think they should be). Please can someone point us in the right direction. Thank you.
littlegiraffe
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Postby stoneyboy » Sun Mar 14, 2021 10:16 pm

Hi littlegiraffe
It is likely that the insulation is fibreglass and that there are small fibres on every surface in your loft. Clearly you have to go in the loft so suggest you use a mask like paint sprayers use.
Condensation in your home needs investigating and this should include your lifestyle and appliances fitted in your home. Suggest you ask around and see if there’s a local tradesman who can point you in the right direction.
Regards S
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Postby stoneyboy » Thu Mar 18, 2021 9:50 pm

Hi littlegiraffe
Just to follow up on condensation there a few things you could check.
1. Do you regularly open you windows to get in fresh air.
2. Do you open your bedroom windows every morning.
3. Do you have trickle vents or leave some windows on a night vent position.
4. Do you have a hob extractor venting to outside.
5. Do you dry clothes indoors.
6. Do you have a bathroom extractor.
7. Do you have a condensing tumble drier and is it condensing properly.
Regards S
stoneyboy
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Postby littlegiraffe » Fri Mar 19, 2021 8:19 pm

Thank you, My husband has bought a super douper respirator style mask. He's in there now having a look at the insulation again. Particulary trying to insulate around/over the new downlighters he fitted in the bathroom.

We have just repleced our condensing tumble drier with a heat pump tumble drier. I do leave the upstairs windows on the vent setting. We have asked for a quote for new windows to include trickle vents. (Windows are overdue for replpacement, 1 or 2 double glazed units have failed).

One other thought is the extractor fan from the bathroom which goes into the loft, along the length of it and out on the gable end might not be being effective.
littlegiraffe
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