As we go about our everyday lives we put water vapour into the air around us. Cooking, washing, drying our clothes – even breathing – warms the air and adds water to it. When this warm, wet air comes into contact with cold surfaces such as windows, outside walls, tiles or mirrors, the vapour turns back into droplets of water and forms condensation. If that condensation is not cleaned up quickly, mould can form.
Ways to reduce or remove condensation
- When you’re cooking or using the shower, open the window or use an extractor fan. Try to leave the fan on or the window open for 15 minutes after you’ve finished, as this will allow the steam to clear.
- Remove or wipe away any condensation that forms on windows and surfaces. Doing this will help prevent mould.
- Only boil kettles and use pots and pans when necessary, and don’t use them for longer than they’re needed.
- Use pan lids when you are cooking and turn the heat down once the water has boiled.
- Leave gaps between the walls and large items of furniture such as wardrobes, chests of drawers, sofas and beds to allow for ventilation and space for the walls to breathe.
- Close the kitchen door (if possible) when you’re cooking to prevent steam entering the rest of the property.
- When drying laundry avoid doing it inside on your radiators. If possible, dry clothes outside or somewhere with good ventilation. The best place to dry washing is in the bathroom on an airer, with the window slightly open and the door closed to rest of the property.
- Using a tumble dryer can also help reduce condensation, as long as it has good ventilation.
If left unchecked mould and condensation in your home can lead to health concerns such as respiratory conditions.
Condensation can lead to mould
Condensation is found on cold surfaces within the home. Some common problem areas:
- Corners of rooms
- Insides of windows
- External walls
- In or behind cupboards or wardrobes.
In the winter we tend to keep our windows and doors shut to contain the heat. This reduces a home’s ventilation causing condensation and this can lead to mould. Mould can develop on walls, ceilings, furniture, curtains, cushions and even on clothing stored in wardrobes and drawers.
How to fight and remove mould
- To remove mould, wipe down or spray the walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash that carries a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘approval number’, ensure that the instructions are followed to allow safe use. These types of washes are usually available in supermarkets. You can also use a diluted solution of household bleach to wipe down and clear mould.
- After treating mould, if redecorating is necessary, use a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould reoccurring. Not all tenancy agreements allow redecoration – check your agreement or get in touch with us if it’s not clear.
Showering and bathing
- When bathing, fill the bath partly with cold water before filling with hot water.
- Close the bathroom door to prevent steam from entering the rest of the property.
- Open a window or use an extractor fan to allow the steam to escape.
Keeping the home secure
When opening windows to allow air to escape be aware of your surroundings and ensure the house is secure and not easily accessed by the public. Make sure that all windows and doors are shut and locked when the property is empty.
How to heat your home while managing condensation
- When the home is heated it is less likely that condensation will occur. It’s best to set the home thermostat to provide a low background heat (for example 16 degrees) throughout the day, even when the house is unoccupied, to warm up the whole property. This will ensure that there will be minimal warm, wet air coming into contact with cold walls and surfaces and causing condensation.
- It is not recommended that you use bottled gas or paraffin heaters. They can produce moisture and are a health and safety risk. Most tenancy agreements do not permit this type of heater.
- If you have night storage heaters as your main heating source and you are unsure how to use them correctly, please contact Ethical Lettings and one of the team will be more than happy to come out and offer you advice on the best method of operation.
Here is a rough idea of how much moisture can be produced from everyday activities in the home:
If you need any further advice or information about controlling mould and condensation in your home then please do not hesitate to contact Ethical Lettings on 01483 429157 or complete our contact form.