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Damp and condensation

How to prevent damp causing mould in your home

During the winter the number of reports about condensation or damp rises. That's why we have teamed up with our contractors to offer you some advice about this common issue and how it can be easily be prevented.

Did you know?

Condensation is the most common cause of damp or mould patches in the home. It is also the one cause of damp that you can control yourself just by following a few simple steps outlined below.

What is condensation?

The air around us carries a certain amount of water vapour that we can't generally detect, called humidity. But like a sponge, there is a limit to how much water the air can absorb, and when in reaches this limit it is said to have reached its 'saturation point'. This saturation point varies with the air temperature, as warm air can hold more water than cold air. When air at its saturation point cools down, usually by hitting a cold surface like a wall or window, it loses its ability to hold water and this water condenses into small droplets on the cold surface. Thats why your mirror fogs up when you have a bath or shower.  

What you can do to prevent condensation in your home:

  • Make sure rooms are ventilated when people are using them, by leaving windows slightly ajar and making sure trickle vents are open.  Do not be tempted to block up vents, even if they do cause a draught!
  • Keep the house at an even temperature – this reduces the 'cold spots' where condensation forms.  The best way is to put your heating on a low setting to keep an even temperature throughout the home
  • Take steps to prevent heat loss from your home -  such as hanging thick curtains or draft excluders on doors and windows.  If you dry washing on radiators, try to have a window open (even just slightly) to let out the excess moisture caused from drying clothes. 
  • If you have a tumble drier, make sure the vent goes outside and keep filters clean and empty.

How to stop condensation from turning into damp or mould patches:

  • After you have a shower or bath, close the bathroom door and open up a window in the room to get some air in there,  It won't take long to clear.  If you leave condensation to build up - this is when it can develop into mould.
  • When cooking, open up a window even just slightly and allow the steam to clear. 
  • If the condensation settles on surfaces such as worktops or tiles, wipe them dry to prevent mould from forming
  • If mould forms, wipe it off immediately with water – do not use washing up liquid
  • If the problem persists apply a recommended product available at a hardware store (most supermarkets will stock the products) and follow the instructions carefully
  • Move furniture away from walls to allow air to circulate around your home

Important: once mould has formed it encourages more mould to grow, so you should remove it as soon as possible but don't:

  • Vacuum or brush mould, as its spores can spread if disturbed.
  • Do thoroughly clean any clothes or furniture affected by mildew.

Other causes of damp can also include:

  • Leaking pipes, wastepipes or overflows
  • Rain coming through the roof where a tile or slate may be missing
  • Rain spilling from a blocked gutter
  • Water leaking in through or around window frames or through a cracked pipe