Condensation is probably the biggest cause of damp in homes.

18th November 2015

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Condensation on window

It’s that time of year when we shut windows, turn on the heating, light a fire and snuggle up indoors. It’s also the time of year that we notice condensation and dampness in our homes, in the corners of rooms, north facing walls, on or near windows and in areas of little air circulation such as behind wardrobes and beds. Cooking, washing, drying clothes indoors, even breathing all produce water vapour. This can be seen when tiny drops of water (condensation) appear on colder surfaces.

Condensation can cause dampness and mould growth which can damage your home and your health. With many properties being affected by this, MacConvilles has put together a guide to help you reduce or even eliminate condensation.

Produce less moisture

Put lids on saucepans whilst cooking.

Avoid drying laundry on radiators or clothes airers. If you can’t, open the window and close the door to enable moisture to escape outside.

If you use a vented tumble dryer, ensure it is properly vented to an open window or through an outside wall. If you use a condensing dryer ensure filters are cleaned regularly.

Avoid using flueless gas or paraffin heaters as they produce a lot of moisture

Stop moisture spreading in your home

When bathing, washing and cooking, use an extractor fan and/or open a window, and keep the door closed. Keep the door closed and leave the extractor fan on and/or the window open for 15- 20 minutes after you have finished.

When condensation appears, wipe it away.

Ventilate moisture away

Make sure trickle vents (slotted vents in the window frames) are open when rooms are occupied – even in the winter when your heating is on. These vents provide constant ventilation which removes water vapour.

Where condensation is a persistent issue consider the installation of an  extract with humidity sensor or a continuously running low energy extract

When able, put free-standing furniture against internal walls and leave a gap between walls and furniture so that air can circulate around the room. Try not to overfill cupboards, wardrobes and drawers so that air can circulate around the contents.

Provide even heating

Keep your home warm to avoid cold surfaces.

Leave the heating on during the day to maintain an even temperature. The temperature can be set a few degrees lower while you are out and turned up when you return, or use a heating timer so that your property is warm by the time you return home. During very cold weather, it is better to keep an even temperature at all times.

If you don’t use all of the rooms it is still better to keep all rooms heated to a low temperature to avoid cold spots where condensation can accumulate.

Treating mould

Treat any mould you notice growing in your home straight away to stop it from spreading and causing more damage and affecting your health.

Use a suitable fungicidal wash (available from most DIY stores), following the manufacturer’s instructions to sterilise the affected area.

Check the affected area and retreat if the mould reappears.

Once treatment is successful, you can redecorate. Use a good quality fungicidal paint, but remember this will not be effective if it is later covered by ordinary paint or wallpaper. If wallpapering, use a paste containing a fungicide.

Dry clean any clothing or carpets affected. Don’t disturb mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning, as you can increase the risk of respiratory problems.

If you require any further support or advice contact us and speak to a member of our Building Surveying team.

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