How to avoid Damp, Mould and Condensation
What is Condensation?
Condensation usually occurs in winter when warm moist air (humidity level) produced by ordinary activities such as showering or cooking comes into contact with a cold surface such as an external wall or window. The moisture laden air will remain in the house if there is not proper ventilation and will settle on nearest cold surface where it condenses.
Moisture also naturally occurs in the air and when air temperatures drop it will release this water in droplet form. This is known as the dew point.
Moreover, condensation will also appear in microclimatic areas where there is little movement; for example, behind a cupboard. This will often lead to the formation of mould growth and mainly occurs in corners of rooms, in cupboards or on north facing walls, as these are generally the coldest.
Why it happens:
Lack of insulation at construction:
Areas where this can occur are areas of a property that were difficult to insulate at construction such as above or below balconies or under crofts. Insulation causes a warming effect which helps to counteract the conditions under which condensation can develop.
Certain construction elements such as concrete beams by their very nature are cold and that insulating them to bring them up to modern standards can prove to be difficult. As a consequence, many properties have cold spots or suffer from thermal bridging. Equally, when properties are refurbished, insulation can be removed which increases the possibility of cold bridging.
Lack of ventilation:
The development of condensation can be controlled in part by increasing ventilation throughout the property. In tenanted properties there is a presumption that ventilation means higher heating bills and as such there are growing examples of condensation which is exacerbated by the blocking up of trickle vents.
Interesting facts about moisture
- Drying clothes produce ten pints of water in an unvented tumble dryer.
- Having a bath produces two pints of moisture.
- Washing clothes produces one pint of moisture.
Causes of Damps other than Condensation:
Prevalent in ground floor flats as well as houses due to damp proof course failure, something that generally occurs over a long period of time.
Rain may also seep through cracks in brickwork or through missing tiles on external roof surfaces.
Block guttering causes water to spill over and saturates external walls.
Cracked external plumbing may allow seepage into internal parts.
How to avoid condensation
- Improving ventilation (opening windows, trickle vents).
- Improving heating (constant temperature space heating).
With the correct balance of heating and ventilation, condensation can be avoided. The heating helps keep the property warm and the ventilation will enable excess moisture laden air to escape. Do not adjust the thermostat manually when set but trust the system to regulate itself. Make sure there are no cold zones in the home by turning all radiators on.
How to avoid Moisture
- Cover saucepans.
- Dry clothing outside rather than on radiators
- Wipe away condensation as quickly as it’s spotted.
- Keep window trickle vents open constantly and open windows as much as possible (especially after cooking or showering) to allow through flow of air at the same time as maintaining a heat balance.
- Ensure extractor fans are operational, you can test pull by holding a sheet of tissue paper against it and seeing if it sticks.
- Turn on the cold tap of the bath first so that when the hot water hits it doesn’t produce as much steam.
- Close doors in wet areas to stop the spread of moisture to other rooms.
- Where possible, position cupboards and drawers etc. against internal walls.
How to avoid Mould
- Remove mould growth by wiping down walls and windows with a fungicidal wash recognized by a Health and Safety Executive ‘approval number’. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. Dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Take care because disturbing mould can increase the risk of respiratory problems.
- After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring.
- Ensure insulation to external walls is in place
- For landlords who want to take more intrusive measures to deal with structural problems consider:
- Increasing insulation (EWI, IWI, cavity Ffill, double glazing)
- Improving ventilation (fan installation, opening windows, trickle vents, Passyfier Vents)
- Improving heating (constant temperature space heating)
If you need more information, please contact Care4Properties:
- Give us a call on 0113-2488181 for a free consultation
- Or email us at [email protected]
- Or text us at 07528 793486.