Damp in the home can be caused by condensation. There are a number of steps you can take to address this. Keeping your home warm and well-ventilated is key.
Trapped moist air can cause condensation, which can make your home damp and increase the risk of mould. Mould spores can be harmful in high concentrations or over long periods of time – wherever you see mould, wipe it away using a mild bleach solution. Heating and ventilation are key, so that the air is too dry for mould to grow. Remember: the moist air is created inside your home and does not come in from outside.
If you have trickle vents on your windows, these need to be opened all the time. Open windows, even just a crack, if you are using a room that is vulnerable to condensation. After bathing, cooking or sleeping, open a window to air the room and keep it dry. If your kitchen or bathroom has an extractor fan, use it and make sure it is unblocked and dust-free.
If you are experiencing issues with condensation, the hints and tips below may help to keep your home warm and well ventilated. Please click on the boxes to get some useful information.
Put up thick curtains at doors and windows and lay a carpet with a good underlay. Also use draught excluders – making sure that there’s good ventilation elsewhere. Make sure rooms are adequately aired every morning. If furniture is against a cold external wall, make sure air can circulate to keep the wall and furniture dry.
Heating is vital to combat damp. But your home does not need to be excessively warm. Nor should you leave it unheated for long periods as condensation forms when temperatures drop. A lower temperature for a longer duration is therefore more effective in stopping condensation than a high temperature for a short time.
Use your heating programmer to ‘time’ your heating, instead of using ‘on demand’ with the thermostat. Set the heating to come on first thing in the morning and then again in the evening when cooking or bathing. During cold months, your home only needs to be slightly warmer than outside for the damp air to be driven out. Make sure that radiators are left uncluttered so the heat can escape.
Try to avoid using paraffin or portable bottled-gas heaters as these put a lot of moisture into the air.
Try to dry clothes outside when you can. Vented tumble dryers are excellent – make sure they are vented outside. Condensing tumble-dryers are effective, but some need to be in a ventilated room – use the windows.
Try to avoid drying clothes on a radiator, but if you do, keep the room ventilated.
The alternative is to dry clothes in a bathroom or kitchen where you have an extractor fan. Make sure the fan is working and is clean and free of dust. Keep that room heated, ventilated and close the door.
Ventilation is one of the most important factors to reduce damp.
Cold air from outside is dryer than warm air inside and acts like a sponge when it is warmed up. The warm air inside is laden with moisture; you need to let it out.
Where windows have trickle vents fitted, keep them open all the time, especially at night.
Keep windows open, even slightly, in rooms that you are using where there are signs of condensation.
After sleeping, bathing or cooking, use windows to air those rooms thoroughly.
Use the doors in your home to stop moisture moving around: moisture from warm bathrooms or kitchens can sometimes cause problems in cooler rooms like bedrooms.
Kitchens are a major source of moisture.
When you are cooking, open a window or use your extractor fan – or preferably both.
Keep the kitchen door closed so that steam doesn’t escape into the rest of your home.
Using saucepan lids will save energy and reduce condensation.
Air your kitchen once you have finished cooking.
This is one of the rooms in your home most vulnerable to condensation.
Close the door while you’re in the bath or shower so that the steam doesn’t get into other, colder rooms.
Keep the bathroom warm so that moisture will stay airborne and be carried away.
When you are using the bathroom, open a window or use your extractor fan – or preferably both.
Make sure you keep the heater or radiator uncovered so that heat can escape into the room.
Air your bathroom once you have finished.
Wipe away the damp
If you see condensation on any surfaces or windows, wipe them down and wring out the cloth (if you’re using one) rather than drying it on a radiator.
To help control condensation, you could install condensation channels or sponge strips – available to buy at DIY stores.
Steps against mould
Wipe away any black spots of mould immediately with a mould-spray or wash that has a Health and Safety Executive approval number, making sure you follow the instructions. Do not let it accumulate.
Dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Brushing or vacuum cleaning can increase the risk of breathing problems.
Mould is an indicator of damp, so think what could be done to reduce that damp, perhaps changing how the room is heated or ventilated – or both.