Many of us are now spending much more time at home than ever before. As a result of this, we have seen a surge in condensation and mould inspections.

Controlling moisture levels and preventing condensation and mould is essential to maintaining a healthy home.

What is condensation?

When warm air collides with cold surfaces, condensation occurs, releasing droplets of water onto the surface. 

If condensation is not dealt with, it can cause mould and mildew to grow.

What is mould?

Mould is a fungus that breaks down dead material. It can affect your health, producing allergens, irritants, and sometimes, toxic substances. 

Individuals with respiratory problems, including asthma, are particularly at risk.

How can you prevent condensation?

Produce less moisture

Always cover saucepans with tight-fitting lids. Covering saucepans will mean that you can turn down the heat which also saves you money.

Paraffin and bottled gas heaters produce a lot of moisture – one gallon of gas or paraffin produces about one gallon of water, so avoid using these if at all possible.

Always put washing outdoors to dry when you can. If you are unable to dry your washing outside, then it’s preferable to hang them in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open. Also if you have a fan make sure it’s working.

If you have a tumble dryer make sure you vent it to the outside, unless it is a self-condensing type. Ventilation kits to enable your tumble dryer to vent to the outside can be bought at most local DIY stores and cost around £12.

Ventilation

Open windows wide when you can, and make sure that extractor fans are working.

Allow space for air to move in and around your furniture, open doors to ventilate cupboards and wardrobes. Leave space behind wardrobes and where possible position them and other furniture against internal walls.

Insulate and draught-proof

The warmer your home is, the less likely it is that condensation will occur. One way of making your home warmer is to ensure that you have sufficient loft insulation and cavity wall insulation where possible. However, remember that some ventilation is there for a reason, for example, you should never block up permanent ventilation in rooms where there is a fuel-burning heater such as gas fire or cooker.

Introduce low-level heating

By keeping your heating on throughout the day at a low temperature, you raise the temperature of surfaces which should prevent condensation from forming.

Causes of damp

There are two main causes of damp in a property, either there is a defect that is allowing water in, or there is condensation.

Defects that could cause dampness to include:

  • leaks from cracked or burst pipes, wastes or overflows,
  • a missing or broken roof tile or slate,
  • a defective lead flashing,
  • spillage from a blocked or broken gutter,
  • penetration around window or door frames,
  • defective or no damp proof course.

It is important to check your home for defects such as this on a regular basis and report any problems. By doing this we can ensure that repairs are carried out to avoid your home becoming damp.

Damp often leaves a ‘tidemark’, and even when the defect has been put right it may take some time for the affected area to fully dry out.

In extreme cases, we may be able to help speed up the drying out process by providing dehumidifiers. If you do not think the damp comes from any of the listed causes then it is probably condensation.