Condensation, mould and damp is a major problem to many houses and flats. It can affect your health and can cause damage to furniture and wall plaster.
If you have damp or mould in your home the first thing to do is find the cause. It can easily be treated at home at home with early intervention to stop it spreading.
What is condensation?
Condensation comes from cooking, cleaning, bathing, even breathing. It forms on the coldest surfaces in a room first, typically around windows, in corners and on external walls. It occurs mainly during cold weather, whether it is raining or dry outside. Condensation is not necessarily a problem, as long as the surface has time to dry out every day.
What is mould?
Mould grows and multiplies in moist areas, usually as a result of condensation. Some mould growth in winter is normal but if left untreated, it can become a serious problem.
What is damp?
Damp occurs in moist places that never fully dry out, usually where there is little air movement. It is nearly always caused by condensation.
Causes of damp and mould
Damp and mould are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames.
In a newly built home damp can occur if the water used when the house was built is still drying out.
What you can do
You will get less mould if you keep your home warm, ventilate it properly and minimise the amount of moisture in the air.
Top tips for reducing condensation
Showering or bathing
Keep the bathroom door shut when bathing or showering.
When you’ve finished get rid of the moisture as soon as possible. Keep the door shut, (don’t let the moisture laden air travel into other parts of the house) and open windows wide for three to five minutes.
Keep the kitchen door closed while cooking and put lids on pans.
When you’ve finished cooking get rid of the moisture as soon as possible. Keep the door shut (don’t let the moisture laden air travel into other parts of the house) and open the window wide for three to five minutes.
Use an extractor fan if there is one installed
Keeping a low background heat, (8C) throughout the day and evening in winter will help prevent mould growth on walls and ceilings. Intermittent heating can also make the problem worse.
We understand that our customers may be reluctant to open their window, especially during the colder months, however opening the window wide for three to five minutes is only enough time for a change of air to take place – it’s not enough time to lose heat from the fabric of the building.
First steps against mould:
Treat any mould you may already have in your home then do what you can to reduce condensation.
- Don’t disturb mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning. This can increase the risk of respiratory problems like asthma.
- To kill and remove mould growth, wipe down affected areas with a fungicidal wash.
Wipe down windows and window sills when condensation appears.
Dry clothes outside whenever possible – remember that water in wet clothes dried indoors evaporates, and stays in the air within your home unless you ventilate the room – open the window of the room where the clothes are being dried.
Make sure tumble dryers are vented to the outside or that they are a condenser type.
Contain the moisture produced in your bathroom and kitchen.
- Open windows or use extractors when cooking, bathing or showering
- Dry clothes in ventilated rooms or outside, they will dry twice as fast.
- Never put them on the radiator
- Heat your living room to 21°C and bedrooms to 18°C
- Wipe away small patches of mould before they spread.