Dealing with Condensation and Mould
REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE
In the autumn and winter months when the outside temperature falls and the temperature inside your home is warmer, the water vapour in your home will condense from the air into water.
The coldest parts of your home are the outside walls and windows, and this is where the moisture will form.
If it is not wiped off, the water on your windows will drip down and leave pools on the windowsills.
If this pooled water is not removed, it will dry and leave a black dust. This is mould. In bad cases of condensation, the mould also shows on walls around the windows, in corners of rooms and even on floors and windows.
What Causes Condensation?
The main causes of condensation are the use of unvented tumble dryers, cooking, bathing, showering, fish tanks and drying clothing on radiators or a clothes horse.
Ten top Tips to beat Condensation
Keep your home well ventilated by opening windows every day. You should also make sure that the drip/trickle vents in your windows are open all year as these allow additional airflow that will combat condensation. If you have condensation on windows it is likely that it will be elsewhere in your property too.
Make sure you wipe down your windows every day if they have condensation on them. This is the quickest and easiest way of preventing mould. Make sure that you remember, however, that on some of our newer, more energy efficient windows, the condensation will form on the outside of the window – this is ok and you do not need to take action.
When you are cooking always make sure that you open the windows for ventilation. This will help extract any excess moisture from boiling pots and pans. If you have an extractor fan in your kitchen, either above the cooker or a fan in the wall, make sure it is turned on (on a high power if it has one) every time you cook. It is also a good idea to leave the extractor fan on for longer than you are cooking as there will be excess moisture in the air which you cannot see and this will help remove it.
Always keep the lids on pots and pans whilst cooking so that the moisture does not escape from the pans. If the lids are off, moisture will be rising from the pans even if you cannot see it. Just as you can only see your breath in the air on a cold day, you can only see the moisture rising from a pan when the temperature is lower.
After taking a bath or shower there will be excess moisture in the air. To stop condensation forming, the bathroom windows should be opened and extractor fans turned on. Try to keep the bathroom door shut as much as possible so the moisture doesn’t escape into other parts of your home.
When you are drying your clothes you should dry them outside whenever possible. If you cannot do this then put them in an enclosed room and keep the window open. If you use a tumble dryer to dry your clothes it is extremely important that the ventilation pipe runs to the outside of your property (unless it is a condensing dryer of course!).
If you dry your clothes on radiators, always make sure that the room containing the radiator you are using is well ventilated with the windows open.
You should leave a small gap between the walls of your home and your furniture as this allows the air to move away from the bottom of the walls and circulate around the room. If air lingers between the furniture and walls it will condense onto walls and could eventually form into black mould.
Your property’s airways such as airbricks and chimneys should be clear to allow airflow in and out of your home. Air ventilation is extremely important as you don’t want moist air to be trapped in one part of your home as it will condense on your walls.
During the winter and at other cold times of the year you should try to maintain a constant temperature in your home. This is because it is cold air that causes the warm air to release moisture. If the air is all the same temperature, then this cannot happen.
Check your roof to see if there are any problems such as water leaking in. If you suspect any issues with your roof, please let us know immediately by contacting us.
Check the guttering and down pipes. Make sure that they are carrying the water away and that there are no damaged/blocked guttering or drainpipes causing the external wall to become soaking wet. If you suspect any issues with your gutters or downpipes, please let us know immediately by contacting us.
Unfortunately, even following all of the above tips and measures may still not totally prevent condensation and subsequently, the forming of mould.
If you’re removing mould caused by condensation, the NHS recommends that you wipe it away with a cloth dipped in soapy water.
When you’re done, use a dry cloth to remove any moisture, and throw both cloths away. It advises to ‘Be careful not to brush the mould, as this can release mould spores.
Mould can also be removed by wiping down with a fungicide or bleach. In some very bad cases it may be necessary to treat the affected area with a special paint. For more advice on this and the best products you can use, please contact us.