There are three main causes of condensation:
Some people do not realise that this mould growth is often caused by condensation from normal activities, mistakenly thinking these are signs of damp caused by problems with the property itself. The following information gives helpful advice on how to treat condensation in the home.
How much moisture can be produced in your home in a day?
Two people active for one day 3 pints
Cooking and boiling a kettle 6 pints
Having a bath or shower 2 pints
Washing clothes 1 pint
Drying clothes 9 pints
Using a paraffin or bottled gas heater 3 pints
Total amount of moisture produced in your home in one day 24 pints
There are three main ways to tackle the problem
• Stop moisture building up.
• Ventilate, or air, the home.
• Keep your home warm.
To stop moisture building up you should;
• Wipe down surfaces where moisture settles.
• Cover boiling pans when cooking.
• When cooking, bathing or washing and drying clothes, close kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent steam going into colder rooms, even after you have finished.
• Cover fish tanks to stop the water evaporating into the air.
• Dry clothes outside where possible.
• Make sure tumble dryers are vented to the outside.
• Avoid using bottled gas or paraffin heaters as these produce a lot of moisture and can also be a health and safety risk if not used and stored appropriately.
To ventilate, or air, the home you should;
• When cooking or washing, open windows or use extractors.
• Where drying clothes inside is necessary, do so in a small room with windows open.
• Open windows for a while each day or use the trickle/night vents.
• Do not block air vents – this is also important where gas and heating appliances are concerned as they need a supply of oxygen to work effectively and allow gases, such as carbon monoxide, to escape.
• Allow air to circulate around furniture and in cupboards – you can do this by making sure cupboards and wardrobes aren’t overfilled and there is space between the furniture and the wall.
To keep your home warm you should;
• Draught proofing will keep your home warmer – and help reduce fuel bills. When the whole house is warmer, condensation is less likely to form.
• Maintain a low heat when the weather is cold or wet – this is more effective than short bursts of high heat.
• Do not block permanent ventilators.
• Never block a chimney opening.
• Do not draught proof:
• Do not put furniture against cold external walls.
What to do if your home already has mould?
The tips set out should help prevent mould, but what if you already have the problem? How do you get rid of it?
• Do not disturb mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning. This can increase the risk of respiratory problems.
• Mould is a living organism and needs killing to get rid of it. To do this, wipe down affected areas with a fungicidal wash – one which carries a Health and Safety Executive approved number – making sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not use bleach or use washing up liquid.
• Treat any mould you may already have in your home then do what you can to reduce condensation. This will restrict new mould growth.
• Mildewed clothes should be dry cleaned and any affected carpets shampooed.
• After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. This paint is not effective if overlaid with ordinary paints or wallpaper.
I have followed the advice in this article, what do I do next?
If you have followed the advice given in this information, then you should begin to notice a considerable improvement within a few weeks (around four to six weeks). If the problem persists, it may be due to another cause of damp.
There are four main causes of damp.
• Condensation – as discussed in this information.
• Rising damp – this is rare as a damp proof course prevents this but can usually be seen by a tide mark above the skirting board.
• Penetrating damp – caused by a problem with the fabric of the building which means rainwater is able to get through the walls, roof, windows or doors.
• Plumbing - Plumbing faults or broken leaking pipes.
Rising damp and penetrating damp can usually be easily identified at the early stages. A leaking pipe can be more difficult to identify, and if you suspect you may have a leaking pipe then this should be reported to your Landlord or representative as soon as possible.
Always allow air to circulate!
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