Council tenants: Repairs and maintenance

Condensation and mould

Condensation can be a real problem for residents but simple to prevent.

What is condensation?

It's moisture on the surface of things like windows and walls that, if left, can turn into black mould and have an unpleasant odour.

Why homes have condensation and mould

Condensation is not a new problem. Before central heating, double glazing and fitted carpets homes were naturally ventilated and so condensation was less of a problem. But our lifestyles today have changed and the problem has escalated.

These day, with the long, cold winters and bills increasing many people close all their windows and doors to keep the heat in. Unfortunately, this traps humidity (water and steam) from cooking, washing, bathing and even breathing.

When humid air settles on cold surfaces it turns into condensation. If settled water droplets cannot dry off through good air flow or are not  wiped away this may become a problem and mould may grow.  

Where does it affect

Often, condensation can be seen on windows and sills. When more severe, condensation and mould will affect walls, or it even may soak into wallpaper, paintwork and furniture. It can often been found in corners of rooms where there is little airflow. 

How to prevent condensation and mould

Heat your home

Maintain a warm environment- constant low heating is better than extreme hot and cold

Keep your home ventilated

It is essential to have air movement - for example - by opening windows, using and extractor fan and not covering vents.

Reduce moisture levels

  • Dry clothes outside if possible, use a condenser tumble dryer or make sure the airvent goes outside
  • Cover pans when cooking
  • Open windows when running a bath/showering
  • Clear window sills of clutter ,so it's easier to open windows
  • Leave a gap between furniture and walls

Vacuum regularly

  • Vacuuming helps to remove mould spores and dust. Mould feeds on dust
  • Do not brush sills etc, as this spreads spores

Remove excess moisture

  • Wipe windows and sills with a clean dry cloth each morning to remove any water that has settled overnight

What to do if you already have condensation and mould  

Condensation

Use a dry cloth to wipe away moisture from windows, sills, mirrors or walls each morning.

Removing mould (wearing gloves)

  • Wash the mould growths with bleach and water (one part bleach to four parts water)
  • Clean with a mould spray (fungicidal spray)
  • Leave surfaces to dry with plenty ventilation
  • Do not reuse cloths infected with mould/spores as this will spread the problem

Damp vs condensation

Many people mistake penetrating damp for condensation. Condensation is trapped, settled moisture due to lack of airflow which may result in mould spores growing. 

But, sometimes people confuse more severe condensation that has soaked into wallpaper and paintwork with penetrating damp. Damp only occurs when water enters the fabric of a building from say a leaking pipe, roof or the foundations.

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