Guidance and Top Tips to help identify and reduce condensation, damp and mould in your home.
What is condensation?
Condensation is the most common cause of dampness experienced in our customers’ homes, especially during colder months.
Condensation is caused by moisture in the air settling on a colder surface, such as a window or wall, or in areas of the home with little air circulation, such as behind furniture.
Everyday activities add extra moisture to the air inside our homes
- One person asleep adds half a pint of water to the air overnight.
- An active person adds twice that rate during the day.
The illustration to the left shows how much extra water you could be adding to the air in your home in a day.
Four steps to preventing condensation in your home
1. Produce less moisture
- Dry clothes outdoors where possible. If you need to dry your clothes indoors, use a clothes airer in the bathroom with the door closed and either a window open or extractor fan on.
- Avoid drying your washing on a radiator.
- Ensure your tumble drier is vented to the outside (never into the home).
- Always cover pans when cooking and do not leave the kettle boiling.
2. Remove excess moisture
Wipe down windows, windowsills, walls and shower walls every morning to remove condensation. Just opening a window isn’t enough.
3. Ventilate to remove moisture
To ventilate your home, you may only need to open the window slightly or use the trickle vent if you have UPVC windows. This allows warm moist air to escape to the outside.
- Always ventilate or open a window when using the kitchen or bathroom, and close the doors to allow steam to escape.
- Open your bedroom windows for up to one hour every morning and throw back the sheets or duvets to air the bed and bedding.
- Leave space between the back of furniture and cold walls to allow air to flow.
- Clear windowsills of clutter that will restrict opening the window.
- Avoid overfilling cupboards and wardrobes as this prevents air circulation.
- Don’t block air vents in your home.
4. Regulate your heating
- In cold weather, the best way to keep rooms warm and avoid condensation is to keep low background heat on all day, rather than short bursts of high heat. This is cheaper than you might think!
- If you don’t have heating in every room, open doors in these rooms to allow air circulation.
- Avoid using portable gas heaters.
If your home has condensation, it is possible that mould can grow, often as black spots on your walls, ceilings, furnishings and even on clothes and toys.
To kill and remove the mould, regularly follow these steps:
1. Carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth and throw away after. Do not brush mould as this releases spores into the air.
2. Use rubber gloves to wipe down affected areas using a fungicidal wash or diluted bleach. Wearing safety glasses is recommended.
3. Once the mould has been removed, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal / anti-mould paint.
4. Dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets.
Other types of dampness
There are three other main types of dampness that could affect your home. It is important to understand the difference between them so that we can effectively treat the problem.
1. Penetrating dampness
This type of dampness is primarily found on the external walls of the property, due to defects such as missing pointing to the brickwork, cracked rendering or missing roof tiles. These defects allow water to pass from the outside to the inner surfaces.
Penetrating dampness is far more noticeable following a period of rainfall and will normally appear as a well-defined ‘damp-patch’ which looks and feels damp to the touch.
2. Rising damp
This is caused by water rising from the ground into the home. The water gets through or around a broken damp proof course (DPC) or passes through the natural brickwork if the property was built without a DPC.
Rising damp will only affect basements and ground floor rooms. It will normally rise to between 12 and 24 inches above ground level and usually leaves a ‘tide mark’ low down on the wall. You may also notice white salts on the affected areas. Rising damp will be present all year round but is more noticeable in winter.
If left untreated, rising damp may cause wall plaster to crumble and paper to lift in the affected area. If you suspect rising damp, take a photo of it and share it with us via Chatabot on the Great Places website.
3. Defective plumbing
Leaks from water and waste pipes, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, are relatively common. They can affect both external and internal walls and ceilings. The affected area looks and feels damp to the touch and remains damp whatever the weather conditions outside.
A quick examination of the water and waste pipes serving the kitchen and bathroom, the seals around the bath, shower and sinks, and the external pipework (e.g. guttering) will usually find the source of the problem.
Contact us – we’re here to help
If you have followed the advice above and the problem persists, please report your concerns to our Customer Hub right away to avoid the issues becoming more serious.
The quickest and easiest way for you to contact us is to use the Live Chat facility on our website. It is four times quicker than phone and available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Making your home more energy efficient
Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit organisation that provides free impartial advice, helping you save money and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from your home. Call the Energy Efficiency Advice Centre on 0300 123 1234
or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.