Damp and condensation
It's normal to experience condensation or mould in your home at some point, but if it becomes a problem we’ll do what we can to help you solve it.
Damp in your home can cause mould to appear on your decorations and furniture. If your home is damp, you're more likely to see the growth of mould and this can increase the risk of breathing problems.
Damp can be caused by leaking pipes or overflows, roof leaks, blocked and overflowing gutters, water ingress around window frames and rising damp caused by a defective damp-course. These causes of damp usually leave a ‘tidemark’ and if you notice any of these problems affecting your home please contact us.
What is condensation?
One of the most common causes of damp is condensation. There’s always moisture in the air, even if you can’t see it; most moisture in your home is created by daily activities like washing and cooking. Condensation happens when warm air cools. Droplets of water are released when air comes into contact with cool surfaces, like a window, forming a misty layer. This is why condensation occurs more during the winter months when it’s colder outside.
What causes condensation?
There are three main causes:
- Too much moisture is produced in your home
- Not enough ventilation for air to move around
- Your home or room is too cold.
How to avoid condensation
There are three things you can do to avoid condensation in your home:
1. Reduce moisture in the air
Some ordinary daily activities produce a lot of moisture very quickly. It can be as much as 13 litres a day or as little as 3 litres, depending on how you use the house. Thinking about what you do reduces the amount of water the house has to deal with. By following these simple steps you can produce less moisture in your home:
- To reduce steam keep a lid on saucepans as you cook and try to not leave kettles boiling.
- Avoid using portable gas or paraffin heaters as these produce a lot of moisture.
- Dry your washing outdoors on a line, or in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or fan on. If you can’t dry clothes outdoors, try doing it in a room you can close off from the rest of the house and leave a window open.
- Vent any tumble dryer on the outside, unless it is the self-condensing type. DIY kits are available for this.
- Windows will always tend to get condensation- it's normal overnight as they will ALWAYS be the coldest surface in the house. Wipe them down in the mornings.
2. Ventilate to remove moisture
- Close the door and keep the windows open for five or ten minutes immediately after an activity that produces a lot of moisture for example having a shower. Closing the door will prevent moisture from reaching other rooms.
- Keep all vents and trickle vents open and clear.
- Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes. Avoid putting too many things in them as this stops the air circulation.
- Leave space between furniture and external walls to allow air to circulate.
- Opening windows for 10 minutes in the morning to get rid of the stale, damp air. Most of the warmth in the home is in the walls, rather than the air- it will warm up again soon after closing the windows.
- Mechanical extract fans - make sure they are clean. Try the paper test to see if they are working well and use them when you cook or have a shower, leaving them on for 5 minutes after you finish. If you have trickle fans, leave them on all through the winter- they will cost next to nothing to run. Even at full speed, they cost less than 2p per hour.
3. Reduce ‘cold spots’
- In cold weather, it is better to have a low level of background heating on all the time, even when there is no one at home. Lowering the thermostat by 1 degree will also knock about 10% off your heating bill.
- Avoid warming unheated rooms by leaving the door open to heated rooms, as this will cause warm air to enter the cold room and condense on cold surfaces.
Useful tips for treating mould in your home
- To kill and remove mould, wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash that carries a Health and Safety Executive 'approval number' and follow the manufacturer's instructions precisely.
- Dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Disturbing mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning can increase the risk of breathing problems.
- After treatment, redecorate using good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould from reappearing. These are available from most DIY stores. Note that this paint is not effective if overlaid with ordinary paints or wallpaper.
If you have tried all the things mentioned to reduce condensation but are still struggling to keep your home free from damp and mould growth please contact us to see if we can help.