Dealing with condensation and mould

Condensation can be a problem in any property no matter how old it is. It is often worse during the winter and in homes that have been modernised. Read on to learn how to treat condensation and prevent mould growth in your home.

What causes condensation?

Condensation is caused when warm moist air hits a cold surface such as a window or external wall and condenses, running down the cold surface as water droplets. If left this can develop into black mould which looks and smells unpleasant.

Cooking, drying clothes, bathing, even breathing adds to the moisture in the air. If allowed to build up it can cause damp. It usually appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. This can cause black mould growth on walls, ceilings, furniture, clothing and even in or behind wardrobes and cupboards.

What can I do?

Stop moisture building up

  • Wipe down surfaces where moisture settles such as windows and cills
  • Cover boiling pans when cooking
  • Dry clothes outside where possible
  • Cover fish tanks to stop water evaporating into the air
  • Make sure tumble dryers are vented to the outside
  • Avoid using bottled gas or paraffin heaters – these produce a lot of moisture and can also be a health and safety risk if not used and stored appropriately
  • If you have to dry clothes inside, do so in a small room with the doors closed and windows open.

Ventilate your home

  • Open windows for a while each day or use the trickle/night vents. Nobody likes draughts, but some ventilation is vital
  • Use the extractor fans in your kitchen and bathroom
  • Allow air to circulate around furniture and in cupboards – you can do this by making sure cupboards and wardrobes aren’t overfilled and there is space between the furniture and the wall. Do not put furniture against cold external walls
  • Do not block permanent ventilators
  • Never block a chimney opening.

Stop moisture circulating

  • When cooking, bathing or washing, close kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent steam going into colder rooms. Increase ventilation by opening windows and using the extractor fan, even after you have finished.

Keep your home warm

  • Maintain a low constant heat when the weather is cold or wet – this is more effective than short bursts of high heat and needn’t mean increased heating costs
  • Your room thermostat should ideally be set between 18°C and 21°C.

How to get rid of mould

The tips above should help prevent mould growth, but what if you already have the problem? How do you get rid of it?

  • Mould is a living organism and needs killing to get rid of it. To do this, wipe down affected areas with a fungicidal wash – one which carries a Health and Safety Executive approved number – making sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Do not disturb mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning
  • Do not use bleach or washing up liquid
  • Treat any mould you may already have in your home then do what you can to reduce condensation. This will restrict new mould growth
  • Mildewed clothes should be dry cleaned and any affected carpets shampooed
  • After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. This paint is not effective if overlaid with ordinary paints or wallpaper.

Get in touch

If the problem persists, it may be due to another cause of damp or a leak. If you suspect you may have another form of dampness or a leaking pipe then this should be reported to our customer service team. Contact us as soon as possible.

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