Condensation, damp and mould

Cooking, drying clothes, showering, even breathing, add to the moisture in the air. If this moisture is allowed to build up it can cause condensation, damp and mould.

Mould growth is often caused by condensation rather than damp issues caused by problems with the property itself.

Condensation

There are three main causes of condensation:

  • moisture produced by everyday activities
  • not enough ventilation
  • cool temperatures

The three main ways to tackle  the problem are:

  • stop moisture building up
  • ventilate, or air, your home
  • keep your home warm

Stop moisture building up

  • wipe down surfaces where moisture settles 
  • cover boiling pans when cooking
  • keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed to stop steam escaping into colder rooms 
  • dry clothes outside if possible, if you must dry clothes indoors, use a small room and keep the window open
  • make sure tumble dryers are vented to the outside

Ventilate your home

  • when cooking or washing, open windows or use extractor fans
  • open windows for a while each day, or use the trickle/night vents
  • do not block air vents
  • allow air to circulate around furniture and cupboards, make sure cupboards and wardrobes are not overfilled and there is space between the furniture and the wall

Keep your home warm

  • draught proofing will keep your home warmer and help reduce fuel bills. When the whole house is warmer, condensation is less likely to form
  • insulate your loft and walls
  • maintain a low heat when the weather is cold or wet, this is more effective than short bursts of high heat

Important things to remember

  • do not block permanent ventilators
  • never block a chimney opening
  • do not draught proof rooms where there is condensation or mould growth or where there is a gas cooker or fuel-burning heater
  • do not put furniture against cold external walls

If your home already has mould

  • do not disturb the mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning
  • mould is a living organism and needs to be killed to be removed, wipe down affected areas with a fungicidal wash, making sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions
  • do not use bleach or washing up liquid
  • mildewed clothes should be dry cleaned and any affected carpets shampooed
  • treat any mould you may already have in your home and then do what you can to reduce condensation, this will help to restrict new mould growth

Damp

If you have followed the steps above you should begin to notice an improvement within a few weeks. If the problem persists, it may be due to another cause of damp.

There are four main causes of damp:

  • condensation 
  • rising damp: this is rare as a damp proof course prevents this, but it can usually be seen by a tide mark above the skirting board
  • penetrating damp: this is caused by a problem with the building, which means rainwater is able to get through walls, roof, windows or doors
  • Plumbing faults or broken leaky pipes

Rising damp and penetrating damp can usually be easily identified at the early stages. A leaking pipe can be more difficult to identify. If you suspect you may have a leaking pipe, it is important that you get this investigated and repaired as soon as possible.

The above information is available in leaflet form:

If you require any further advice on condensation, damp or mould, please contact environmental services on 01353 665555 for an inspection.