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How to prevent mould and damp
Keeping your house warm but also well ventilated can be a challenge.
If you're struggling with condensation, damp or mould issues, we've put together some information and advice to help you manage the problem.
What is condensation?
Here's the science - a brief look at what is actually going on in your home every day.
Condensation (the process through which air that’s laden with moisture changes from a vapour into a liquid) happens when warm, humid air comes into contact with a cooler surface like a window or wall.
The three main culprits in the home are too much moisture, not enough ventilation and cool temperatures.
What are the main causes?
- Washing and drying clothes
- Taking a shower or bath
- Various other household activities, for example boiling the kettle or even topping up the fish tank!
So where does the moisture go? Usually, next to windows, in the corners and edges of rooms, and behind and inside cupboards and wardrobes, especially if they are against an external wall.
If left un-controlled and not dealt with this moisure will lead to other problems such as a build up of mould.
Reduce moisture levels
- Close your kitchen door, put the extractor fan on and open a window if you can – that way, the moisture you’re creating won’t be able to move to other parts of your home
- Always put lids on boiling pans and use the extractor fan if you have one
Baths and showers
- Close your bathroom door and open a window (or put the extractor fan on), to prevent the moisture from moving to other parts of your home.
- Leave the door closed & window open for at least half an hour to allow the moist air to go after you have finished
- If you run a bath, reduce steam levels by adding the cold water first
- Dry clothes outside – if this isn’t possible, dry them in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open (or extractor fan on)
- Check that your tumble drier is properly vented to the outside or use a condenser type drier
- Open a window – near the source of the moisture if possible
- Keep trickle vents open as much as possible
- Move furniture away from the walls slightly, to allow air to circulate behind them
- Check that the airbricks and vents in your walls are kept clear
Raise the temperature
- If room temperatures fluctuate repeatedly, you may end up with a mould problem
- Try to heat your whole home, not just one room
- When it’s cold outside, leave the central heating on low all the time. This is because raising the temperature of the walls reduces the risk of condensation forming on them
If you follow the approaches outlined above, you should be able to put a stop to problematic condensation in your home.
But if you’ve already got patches of black mould in your property, following our top tips alone won’t get rid of them – you’ll need to take further action (see next section).
Mould is a fungus that develops from airborne spores. It doesn’t always grow in the room where the moisture comes from and can often be found on and around windows on cold mornings, especially between October and April. It can also appear on walls and behind cupboards and wardrobes.
If you spot mould in your home, wash it off and treat it with diluted bleach or a fungicidal wash (available from most DIY and hardware stores).
CAUTION - If you’re using a fungicidal cleaning solution to tackle small areas of mould, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s health and safety instructions; wear protective eyewear, gloves and a face mask; and make sure you open windows or use a fan in the room where you’re working.
Not all dampness in the home is caused by condensation. Sometimes it occurs
- Leaking pipes (internal or external)
- Leaks in the roof – perhaps you have broken, missing or faulty tiles, guttering or chimney flashings?
- Rising damp, resulting from defects in your damp proof course, rendering or mortar joints, or from blocked cavities. These types of damp problem can occur at any time of the year and often leave a tell-tale ‘tide mark’.
After following our advice, if you remain concerned about condensation, mould or dampness in your home, please contact us.
What can FGCH do?
If you've tried all the advice but the problem won't go away, we can arrange a visit to assess the property, consider any possible structural issues and find out what impact it is having on your family.
We will discuss the measures you've undertaken so far, and will check that all vents are open, fans are being used and the property is being heated sufficiently.
Use the Contact Us form below if you would like to arrange a visit by a surveyor.