Condensation / Mould
Issues with damp and mould?
Condensation, damp and mould are conditions that affect millions of residents, tenants and homeowners and can occur in homes both new and old.
What is condensation?
The air inside your home contains a certain amount of water which is increased by the things we do on a daily basis. Through a daily routine of showers, baths, boiling kettles, cooking etc., a family of 4 will, on average, contribute approximately 4 pints of water per person a day, equal to over 100 pints of water vapour a week, which has to end up somewhere!
Condensation is formed when excess warm moisture in the air (steam or water vapour) meets a surface cooler than itself. When this happens the vapour becomes water and whilst this can run off surfaces such as glass or painted surfaces, it is likely to soak into porous surfaces such as walls, ceilings, furniture, clothes and other fabrics. This can lead to mould growth and a smell of moisture in the air, which can often be mistaken for penetrating dampness.
There are three main causes of condensation:
- Too much moisture
- Too little ventilation
- Cool temperatures
Do not confuse condensation with rising damp
Rising damp carries salt from the ground. Salts kill mould by extracting moisture from it; therefore if you have mould in your home you do not have rising damp.
How can I reduce condensation?
Simple things can help reduce condensation in your home, and so prevent damp and mould.
Moisture levels, ventilation and heating are key factors not only in bathrooms and kitchens where steam produced by washing and cooking poses a high level of threat but also in other rooms where poor airflow in corners and behind furniture may cause a condensation problem.
How can I reduce moisture in my home?
- Always use extractors if you have them. If not, open your windows a little.
- Hang washing outside to dry. If it has to be hung inside, hang it in the bathroom, close the door and open a window slightly or use an extractor fan. Don’t put washing on radiators.
- Always cook with pan lids on and don’t overfill the saucepan.
- When filling your bath, run the cold water first and then add the hot – it will reduce the steam by 90% which leads to condensation.
- Do not use portable bottled gas heaters; they each produce approximately 8 pints of moisture. They are also a fire hazard and our tenancy agreements do not allow them.
How can I increase ventilation in my home?
Some ventilation is needed to let the air circulate. Ventilating for at least 30 minutes a day will replace moist air with dry air from the outside; opening a small window at either end of your property or one upstairs and one downstairs will do this. However, take care not to over ventilate in cold weather; it will make the home colder and make condensation more likely. It will also increase heating costs. You should also:
- Keep your curtains open whenever possible
- Ventilate your kitchen and bathroom for about 20 minutes after use and keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed.
- Decrease clutter.
- Do not push furniture up against walls.
How can I heat my home to reduce condensation?
Cold walls and surfaces encourage condensation to form so keeping the home warm will help to control it. Try to keep some heating on all day in cold weather.
Heating one room to a high level and leaving other rooms cold makes condensation worse in the unheated rooms. If you don’t have heating in every room, keep doors of unheated rooms open to allow some warm air in. You could also use oil-filled radiators or electric panel heaters on a low setting. However, electricity is expensive.
If you are experiencing problems with your gas central heating, please call Robert Heath (24/7) on 0203 764 3975.
If you are experiencing problems with your electric heating, please call Axis (24/7) on 0203 597 2034.
For any other queries, please call our Maintenance Team on 01372 379 555.
Where condensation problems have been neglected and mould has begun to form:
- You are responsible for cleaning any mould growth due to condensation.
- Treat any mould already there by wiping down and spraying walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash. Follow the instructions for using it safely.
- Don’t try to remove mould with a brush or vacuum cleaner, as this will make spores airborne and spread them further.