Managing damp and mould
Condensation is the most common cause of damp problems, affecting more than half a million homes in the UK! It occurs when moisture in the air touches a cold surface. Cold, poorly insulated homes are particularly at risk, but the good news is that condensation can be tackled with a few simple changes.
Mould is a soft, green or black substance that forms in wet conditions. In the home, it is often found in bathrooms and kitchens or on walls and ceilings where there’s been a leak from a pipe or from outdoors.
Mould is unpleasant to look at and can spread very quickly. The spores can produce allergens which might lead to respiratory conditions, allergies and even asthma.
Mould spores grow where excess water has not been removed. This can be from leaking pipes, holes in external walls and general household use in kitchens and bathrooms.
Prevent condensation by keeping your home warm and reducing the moisture within your home.
Keep the temperature in your home above 15°C. The World Health Organisation recommends setting the thermostat to between 18 and 21°C.
Insulated walls keep your home warmer. If your walls don’t have insulation, you may notice that the ones that separate indoors from outdoors feel slightly wet to the touch, particularly in winter. Single glazed windows are also prone to fogging up.
Daily activities can create moisture. For instance, drying clothes indoors can add 10-15L per week, washing in the kitchen and bathroom can add 15-20L and even breathing can add 30-40L for a family of four!
Open windows (or trickle vents) and use extractor fans to get rid of moisture that builds up. It’s also a good idea to move furniture away from walls and corners to improve air circulation around them.
Try to limit how much moisture gets into the air in the first place. If you can, dry clothes outside, keep lids on pots and pans when cooking, take shorter showers and close off rooms like bathrooms when bathing to drive wet air out through a window or extractor fan instead of into other rooms in your home.
If you notice condensation, get rid of it as soon as you can. A surface that is damp with condensation is a breeding ground for mould and it can be more difficult to heat a space if the surfaces are damp.
If you find small patches of mould around your home, remove them as soon as you can. Wear protective clothing and open windows. You can use a cloth soaked in a weak solution of bleach and water to wipe away mould, followed by a dry cloth to dry the area.
For extensive mould problems, call a professional for help.
You may, in rare instances, encounter other forms of damp, like from leaky plumbing, rain infiltration through cracks in the building or a defective or missing Damp Proof Course. Home maintenance and repairs should be carried out to fix these issues. If you rent, these are the responsibility of your landlord.
A lot of homes experience condensation, but a few changes to your habits can significantly help reduce or prevent this from resulting in mould. If you’re having difficulty keeping your home warm enough, or you can’t afford to install insulation, contact us for tailored advice and support.