Keep your home free from damp
Is your home damp?
Damp can cause mould on walls, and it can ruin your decorations and furniture. One of the most common causes of damp is condensation.
First steps against condensation
Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather. It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. Look for it in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards. It often forms on north-facing walls.
Condensation will also appear in your home if there is too much moist air caused by everyday activities such as cooking, washing and bathing.
You will need to take steps to deal with the condensation, but in the meantime make sure you wipe down the windows and sills every morning; then wring out the cloth rather than drying it on a radiator. This helps to prevent window frames from rotting, or damp forming under your sills.
First steps against mould
First treat the mould already in your home. If you then deal with the basic problem of condensation, mould should not reappear.
Wipe down walls and window frames and clean with a mould cleaner as soon as mould appears. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that the product is safe for you to use. Dry-clean mildewed clothes, and shampoo your carpets.
After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould. Wallpapering over mould will not get rid of the problem, it just hides it for a while. The only lasting way of avoiding severe mould is to eliminate dampness.
We all want to keep our homes warm, but it is also just as important to ventilate your home to help control condensation. You can minimise the moisture in your home by following these simple steps:
1. Produce less moisture
- Cover cooking pans with lids, and don’t leave kettles boiling
- Try not to dry clothes inside, but if you do dry clothes inside you should open the window and shut the door of the room where the clothes are drying
- If you use a tumble dryer make sure it has a vent to the outside (unless it is the self-condensing type)
- Avoid using portable gas and paraffin heaters as these fuels give off moisture when they burn – they are a major cause of condensation
- Use extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen. These will remove moist air straight away and are very cheap to run
- Open the window slightly for at least half an hour after bathing or cooking to get rid of the moist air
- Keep kitchen and bathroom doors shut to stop moisture moving to other rooms
2. Ventilate to remove moisture
- Keep a small window ajar or trickle vent open when someone is using the room
- Increase the ventilation in your kitchen and bathroom, or any room where excess moisture is created
- Ventilate cupboards, wardrobes and blocked chimneys
- Do not put furniture or other items right up against your external walls because the space helps air circulate and stops mould growing
3. Some draughts are good as they help to ventilate
When draughtproofing do not:
- block permanent ventilators
- completely block chimneys (leave the louvered grille free)
- draughtproof rooms where there is condensation or mould
- draughtproof a room where there is a fuel burning heater
- draughtproof windows in the bathroom and kitchen
4. Heat your home a little more
In cold weather, the best way to keep rooms warm enough to avoid condensation is to keep low background heating on all day – even when there is no one at home. It is better to heat the whole home to a lower temperature than one room to a higher temperature.
Condensation and mould often form in a different place to where the moist air comes from. For example, moisture might come from your kitchen but mould might occur in any spare bedroom if it is not used very often. This can be because this room is not usually heated.
5. Condensation is not the only cause of damp.
It can also come from
- Leaking pipes, wastes or overflows
- Rain seeping through the roof where a tile is missing, spilling from a blocked gutter, penetrating around window frames, or leaking through a cracked pipe
- Rising damp due to a defective damp-course (downstairs only)
If you have concerns, please contact the Housing Repairs Section
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: 01992 564199