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Damp & Mould

Damp and Mould

What is the difference between damp and condensation?

Condensation is generated where warm air meets a cold surface and forms water droplets that then encourage mould growth.

Damp is due to water penetration or leak and will require a repair to resolve.

If the area has a ‘tidemark effect’ this is not condensation, it is damp and is caused by a water leak internally or from water getting in from the outside.

What is the other side of the wall? Please check:

  • If it is your bathroom you may have a leak, or the silicone may have deteriorated around the bath?
  • Is it your kitchen? You may have a leak.
  • Is there a radiator? This may be leaking.

If it is an outside wall, please check:

  • Is there pointing missing from between the bricks?
  • Is the guttering outside blocked, can you see plants growing in it?
  • Have you recently replaced a patio? It could be above the damp course and need a drain fitting.

What is condensation?

There is always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it. You notice it when you see your breath on a cold day, or when the mirror mists over when you have a shower or bath.

Condensation is caused when moisture held in warm air meets a cold surface, like a window or wall, and condenses into water droplets.

If this happens regularly, mould may start to grow. This usually appears on cold outside walls and surfaces and in places where the air does not circulate well. The moisture created can also damage clothes, furnishings and decoration. It leaves a musty smell.

Condensation can aggravate health problems like asthma, bronchitis, arthritis and rheumatism

How to reduce condensation

There are three steps to help reduce the condensation in your home:

Step 1: Stop moisture building up Some daily activities produce a lot of moisture very quickly.

  • Always place lids on pans.
  • Dry washing outdoors on a line, or put in the bathroom with the door closed, fans on and windows open.
  • Ensure your tumble dryer is vented outside.
  • Cover fish tanks to stop the water from evaporating into the air.
  • Ensure your loft insulation has not been moved as this causes cold spots.

Step 2: Ventilate to remove the moisture You can ventilate your home without making draughts. Some ventilation is needed to get rid of moisture being produced all the time, including that from people’s breath.

  • Keep a small window ajar or a trickle ventilator open all the time if possible, and especially when someone is in the room.
  • Close doors when cooking in the kitchen and ensure that the kitchen fan is left switched on and is working.
  • Bathroom: ensure that you close the bathroom door whenever anyone is in the bath or using the shower. Ensure that the humidistat fan is left switched on and is working.
  • Do not block air vents.
  • Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes regularly to allow air flow.
  • Avoid putting too many things in cupboards and wardrobes as this stops the air from circulating and may cause condensation and encourage mould growth on clothes and belongings.
  • Where drying clothes inside is necessary, do so in a small room with the windows open.
  • If you have a Positive Air Fan located in your hallway or on your landing, please leave this switched on at all times. If this has been fitted, it means that your property has had high levels of condensation in the past and this has been fitted to manage the levels.
  • Move furniture away from walls to allow air flow.

Step 3: Heat your home In cold weather, the best way to keep warm enough to avoid condensation is to keep low background heating on all day, even when there is no one at home.

  • Keep heating on during the night or when away from home, set to 15 degrees.
  • Do not turn off radiators in rooms via the thermostatic controls, keep them on at least 2 to keep the room at a constant temperature.

Steps to treat condensation and mould

  • Dry your windows and windowsills every morning, as well as any surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom that have become wet. Wring out the cloth after use.
  • To kill and remove mould, wipe down or spray the walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash that carries a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘approval number’ and ensure that you follow the instruction for its safe use. These are available at all DIY or local supermarkets and are often called mould and mildew removers.
  • Wash clothing that has mildew or mould forming.
  • After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint and a fungicidal resistant wallpaper paste to help prevent mould from re-occurring.

Frequently asked questions

What if I can’t afford to have my heating on?

Please contact us and we will be able to check that you are receiving the right benefits and we can also offer support with budgeting.

Will the fans cost too much to run?

We only fit low energy fans that use the same level of electricity as a light bulb.

If I need insulation in the loft, will I be charged for this?

No, we will arrange for this free of charge.

Where can I get further information from about condensation and mould?

Log onto mybdht, or click here for our leaflet.