Dealing with Condensation, Damp & Mould
Every dwelling, irrespective of its construction, contains within its fabric mould spores which are dormant and completely harmless. However, given the right conditions these spores will germinate resulting in extensive growths of black disfiguring mould.
Mould needs very little nutrient and will grow on walls and ceilings irrespective of the decorative finish.
Where do you find mould?
It can be found on and adjacent to windows, in the corners and edges of the rooms and behind an inside wardrobes and cupboards especially if they are against an external wall.
Mould can even grow on clothes, handbags and shoes if they are hung up in wardrobes when still damp, wet or stored so tightly to prevent air from circulating.
Do NOT use bleach to clean walls or ceilings. This may be hazardous, will only have a temporary effect and may also end up encouraging mould growth in the future.
What is condensation?
There is always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it. Condensation occurs when warm moist air hits cold surfaces, which causes the air to condense and form droplets of water often resulting in patches of black mould which does not necessarily grow in the same room that the moisture comes from.
It is commonly noticeable on windows on a cold morning. It happens, even when the weather is dry, primarily between the months of October and April and usually caused as a result of a normal day to day living.
What causes condensation?
There are 3 main causes of condensation:
- Too much moisture in your home.
- Insufficient ventilation.
- Cool temperatures.
Everyday activities such as breathing, cooking, washing, drying clothes indoor, using portable gas and paraffin heaters, topping up fish tanks etc all add to the moisture already presenting in the air.
How much moisture can be produced in your home in a day?
- 2 people active for 1 day = 4 pints
- Cooking and boiling a kettle = 6 pints
- Having a bath or shower = 2 pints
- Washing clothes = 1 pint
- Drying clothes = 10 pints
- Four people sleeping = 3 pints
- Using a paraffin or bottled gas heater = 3 pints
- Total amount of moisture produced in your home for 1 day = 29 pints
Are my damp problems caused by condensation?
Not all dampness is caused by condensation, sometimes dampness can be a result of:
- Leaking internal or external pipes, roof leaks caused by broken, missing or faulty tiles, guttering or chimney flashings, penetrating damp from bricks, rising damp because of defective damp proof course or faulty rendering, mortar joints or blocked cavities and solid walls.
- Dampness of this nature will often result in damage to the surface, efflorescence (soluble salts) or a ‘tide mark’ and can occur at any time of the year.
How can I prevent condensation?
Ordinary daily activities can produce a lot of moisture quite quickly. Some steps you can take to reduce moisture production in your home are:
- Open windows to allow moisture laden air to escape.
- Cover boiling pans when cooking and use extractor fans if fitted.
- Ensure that tumble dryers are properly vented to the outside
- Dry clothes outside where possible. If not in the bathroom with the door closed and windows open or extractor fan on.
- Do not run the shower longer then needed as more water vapour gets into the air.
- If you are running a bath, put the cold water in first to reduce the amount of steam.
- Do NOT dry clothes or towels on radiators.
- Close kitchen and bathroom doors to stop water vapour movement to other parts of the house.
- Do not use portable gas or paraffin heaters as they can produce a gallon of water for each gallon of fuel used
Increasing ventilation will help prevent moisture laden air from being trapped in your home and condensing on the windows, walls and ceilings.
Actions that can be taken could be as simple as:
- Opening a window after bathing, showering or cooking.
- If you have trickle vents fitted to your windows, keep them open as much as possible, especially in inhabited rooms.
- Move furniture away from walls slightly to allow air to circulate behind them.
- It’s better to provide ventilation at the point where moisture is produced if possible.
- Use extractor fans and cooking hoods to help remove the moisture.
- Do not block up fans or vents as they are there to enable moisture to escape.
- Wipe down windows or surfaces affected by the condensation each morning – do not dry clothes on the on the radiators as this will only put the moisture back in the air.
Leave cupboard and wardrobe doors open periodically so that air can circulate.
Where possible try to position wardrobes, chairs and large items of furniture against internal walls.
Raise the Temperature
The best way to heat your home is through steady background heating. This is because warmer air can hold more moisture, and the temperature of the walls increases the possibility of condensation forming on them, which is reduced through steady background heating.
If you are struggling to heat your home, please see our dedicated cost of living support page here: Cost of Living | South Essex Homes
If you wish to install an extractor fan at your leasehold property, permission will need to be granted by South Essex Homes first. Please write to the address below and include a plan of the proposed location:
South Essex Homes, PO Box 5817, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 9EL.
If you own a flat in one of the Tower blocks please be aware that you cannot connect electrical extractor fans to the chimney flues. If you have issues with condensation we also recommend using a dehumidifier.
Still Having Problems?
Give us a call on 0800 833 160, where a member of our customer contact centre can discuss further options available including a damp inspection at the property.
You may wish to download our Condensation Leaflet [pdf] 367KB