Damp and mould

Condensation, mould and damp

Condensation is the water you see on windows and cold places in your home. It comes from the air when the air gets too full of moisture it appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. Look for it in corners, on or near windows or behind wardrobes and cupboards.

It often appears on north-facing walls. Everything we do in our homes causes water in the air, whether it be cooking, washing, drying clothes and sleeping. If it is left it can lead to mould forming which can have an effect on our health and wellbeing.

How to avoid condensation

  • Cover pans and do not leave kettles boiling
  • Avoid using bottled gas heaters as these put a lot of moisture into the air
  • Dry washing outdoors or put it in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or fan on. Vent any tumble dryer on the outside, unless it is the self condensing type.
  • Ventilate your home without making draughts
  • Keep small windows ajar or a trickle ventilator open when someone is in the room.
  • Ventilate kitchens and bathroom when in use by opening the windows wider or use a humidistat – controlled electric fan - (these switch on automatically when the air becomes humid and are cheap to run)
  • Close the kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use, even if your kitchen or bathroom has an extractor fan. A door closer is advisable, as this will help prevent moisture reaching other rooms, especially bedrooms, which are often colder and therefore more vulnerable to condensation
  • Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes. Avoid putting too many things in them as this stops the air circulating. Cut a ventilation slot in the back of each shelf or use slatted shelves.
  • Cut ‘breather’ holes in doors and the back of wardrobes and leave space between the back of the wardrobe and the wall. Where possible, position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls. Insulate, draught proof and heat your home (see energy advice).

 

Mould and damp

First treat any mould you may already have in your home. If you deal with the basic problem of condensation, mould should not reappear.

To kill and remove mould, wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash. Ensure you 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 respiratory problems. After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. The only lasting way of avoiding severe mould is to eliminate dampness.

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