Preventing mould and dampness in your home
Condensation is a common cause of dampness in homes. The good news is that with a few precautions, it can also be prevented.
What causes condensation?
Most of the time, the air around us is wet rather than dry. An average home with five people living in it produces around 10 litres of water a day. This is mainly caused by our breathing, cooking, personal washing and washing and drying clothes. That moisture is held within the air until it comes in contact with a cooler surface like a wall or window and turns to water. A typical example of condensation is when a bathroom mirror steams up after a bath or shower. Condensation indicates there is dampness in your home rather than being its cause.
Heating and condensation
Warm, moist air in your home is drawn towards cold surfaces such as windows and outside walls. Condensation can then form in areas with poor ventilation including the space behind furniture and corners of rooms. The biggest cause of condensation and resulting dampness in your home is not heating it properly or using intermittent heating.
Your home will benefit far better from low background heat which comes on at set times rather than short bursts of high temperature heat. This constant heat warms the whole property, including your walls.
By using heaters in your home rather than central heating you are failing to heat the walls of the room. Once the moisture comes into contact with the cold surface of your walls it will create moisture and potentially dampness in your home.
If you need further advice or are struggling to pay the bills to heat your home, contact us as soon as possible. You can also download a leaflet containing further advice on how to prevent condensation here.
Other tips to prevent condensation
- Ventilate your home by opening windows every day to allow moist air to escape
- Close the doors to kitchens and bathrooms to prevent moist air escaping
- Keep a gap between doors and furniture to allow air to move freely
- Dry clothes outside if possible. If not, use a closed and well-ventilated room
- Ventilate built in wardrobes and cupboards and do not store wet clothes or footwear without drying them first
- Cover pots and pans when cooking and try to avoid them being on for too long
- When running the bath, run the cold tap first to avoid creating steam.
Mould can form in areas affected by condensation, particularly the side of windows or corners of external walls near skirting boards and ceilings. Mould and fungi spores are present in our homes all the time. However, they can only grow in areas where there is a ready supply of water such as damp patches caused by condensation.
How can I remove mould
Mould can be removed using most anti-fungicides which are available from DIY stores. You can choose one designed for removing condensation mould or alternatively, use a cheaper weak bleach solution. While these will remove the mould, it is likely to grow back if the condensation problem is not dealt with.