Tips to avoid condensation, damp and mould
It’s important that you let us know so we can help identify the underlying causes and what action can be taken.
Condensation is probably the most common type of damp that occurs in homes and if left untreated can lead to black mould.
Condensation occurs when warm, moist air condenses on cold surfaces throughout the home. Cold surfaces can include the area around window frames, the top of walls and up to the water level of toilet cisterns.
The cold surface cools the air and the water vapour in the air condenses into moisture droplets. Everyday activities add extra moisture to the air inside our homes, including bathing, drying clothes showering, boiling kettles and even breathing.
Condensation can look like streaming water or speckled black mould. It gets worse in cold weather and in rooms that are poorly ventilated or unheated. It can be difficult to manage condensation within your home, particularly during the colder months when your heating costs are higher, however, most homes do get condensation and if it is managed well it can be improved.
If condensation goes untreated, speckled black mould will begin to form which can lead to health problems. Basic precautions and maintenance can help control condensation within your home and ensure your household stays healthy.
Preventing condensation in your home
By following the simple steps, you can reduce condensation by producing less moisture, controlling ventilation and heating your home effectively.
Step 1 - Reduce excessive moisture production
A lot of activities within the home produce moisture. Controlling moisture production can help reduce condensation within your home, which in turn will help prevent the development of mould growth.
- Try to dry clothes outdoors if possible or in the bathroom, with the window open or fan on and the internal door closed. Avoid drying clothes on a radiator
- If you have a tumble dryer vent them through exterior walls if they are not a newer condenser version. Even the condenser versions increase humidity so make sure the room is well ventilated.
- Wipe away and mop up any moisture on walls, windows, window sills and other surfaces using a clean cloth or towel and wring it out outside, or into the sink
- Keep internal doors closed in between moisture-producing rooms, the kitchen and bathroom, and the rest of the house. This will help stop moist air from circulating
In the kitchen
- Use a saucepan lid when cooking - this will reduce the amount of moisture in the air and save you money
- Don’t leave pans and kettles boiling for longer than needed, reducing the amount of moisture in the air
- Keep the internal kitchen door closed and the window slightly open or the fan on whilst cooking, this will prevent moist air from circulating around the house and moisture will escape through the open window or fan
In the bathroom
- Hot showers create a lot of steam. After your shower, dry the shower area with an old towel to reduce moisture in the air.
- If you don’t have an extractor fan, open the window for an hour or so to get rid of the remaining moisture
- Close your bathroom door so that the damp air doesn’t spread to the rest of your house, because damp travels from high moisture areas to low moisture and colder areas
Step 2 - Improve ventilation
Condensation can be reduced by ventilating your property well, which will improve the air quality within your home. If it isn’t ventilated properly stale air and moisture will build up and increase the risk of condensation and mould.
If your home has additional insulation, including a cavity wall or external wall insulation, it’s even more important to allow fresh air into your property.
This is why we suggest opening trickle vents on windows and not blocking up any air bricks that allow airflow within your property.
The following tips will help ventilate your property:
- Open trickle vents on windows or open windows for up to half an hour in the morning. If you do not have these, use your extractor fan in your kitchen and bathroom if you have one installed
- Don’t block airbricks or window vents
- Leaving a space between furniture and the wall allows air to circulate and will decrease the risk of surface condensation and mould
Step 3 - Maintain low-level heating
Try to maintain a consistent low-level background heat for all rooms, especially during cold weather. It’s better not to turn your radiators off completely, but to turn your thermostatic radiator valves down to low or frost setting in unused rooms. Closing the door to an unused, cooler room will also help keep your home warmer and restrict the movement of moisture into this colder room.
Opening your curtains and blinds during daylight hours can help warm your house, especially on sunny days. It will also allow moisture to be vented through trickle vents or open windows. Remember that propane gas and paraffin heaters produced excessive moisture, which can lead to big problems with condensation and mould.
If you don’t use your heating enough the structure will cool attracting condensation.
What if mould forms?
Mould can be removed with a fungicidal mould remover which can be applied to the affected area. Fungicidal mould remover can be obtained from most DIY stores and supermarkets.
Remember to wipe down surfaces that attract condensation and mould regularly.
If you are thinking about redecorating, it is best to use paint rather than wallpaper in rooms particularly prone to condensation, for example, kitchens and bathrooms as it is easier to clean and repair. Anti-mould paint can also be used which should help prevent mould growth.
Download a copy of our Tips to avoid condensation, damp and mould in your home leaflet.
You can also view our illustrative version.
Get in touch with us
Please report any mould or damp-related concerns on 0330 175 9540 or by emailing DampResponseTeam@incommunities.co.uk to ensure that we provide you with the necessary support.
We have a team dedicated to dealing with any reports of damp and mould and these will be addressed as a matter of urgency.