Why has my home got damp or mould?
Some damp is caused by condensation. Condensation is perhaps the most common form of dampness that can appear in your property. It can cause wallpaper to peel, damp patches to appear on walls and a build up of moisture on your windows. This can lead to a growth in mould that appears as a cloud of little black dots.
Condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with a colder surface like a wall, window or mirror.
The air can’t hold the moisture and tiny drops of water appear. It also occurs in places the air is still, like the corners of rooms, behind furniture or inside wardrobes.
The reason condensation appears in your property is due to a lack of ventilation. As we spend more time indoors and use more energy, the build up of moisture and humidity levels increase.
There are a few ways to reduce this.
Simple things make a huge difference, like keeping lids on pans when cooking, drying clothes outdoors (not on radiators), venting your tumble dryer to the outside and avoiding paraffin heaters or flue-less bottled gas heaters.
Extractor fans are a good way to get rid of moist air and steam so that less condensation forms. Some of our homes have extractor fans which run continuously, fitted in the ceilings of bathrooms, shower rooms and toilets. They use little electricity and don’t add much to your bill.
To stop moist air getting into the rest of your home make sure you keep doors shut when cooking or bathing or alternatively open the window to let the steam out.
Meanwhile, let fresh air circulate to avoid mould forming where the air is still. Make sure there is a gap between your furniture and the walls, and give wardrobes and cupboards a good airing sometimes.
While you don’t want to waste money heating rooms you don’t use, very cold rooms are more likely to get damp and mould. Set the thermostatic radiator valve to 1 in unused rooms so the radiator gives out a little bit of heat whenever you have the heating on.
If you don’t have central heating, consider using a room heater with a timer and temperature control. Remember, unused rooms will need a good airing from time to time.
Top tips to reduce condensation, damp and mould
You can catch condensation dripping from windows with condensation channels and sponge strips (available from DIY shops). If you wipe down windows and sills in the morning this will also help, but be sure to wring out the cloth rather than dry it on a radiator. In extreme circumstances you may need to invest in a dehumidifier.
And finally, if you already have mould on your walls and ceilings then you need to clean it off properly. An effective method is to start by cleaning off the mould with spray containing bleach. This will help remove the staining that persistent mould can leave behind. Leave to dry overnight and then spray the affected area with an anti-fungal wash and allow that to dry. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consider wearing a face mask when spraying.
You could also treat the affected area with a mould-resistant paint, available from most major hardware stores.
If you have condensation or damp, the most important thing is to report to it us.