Condensation is the most common causes of damp and mould growth in our households. The level of moisture is determined by the activity of occupants - cooking, washing, drying clothes indoors, even breathing - all produce water vapour that can only be seen when tiny drops of water (condensation) that appear on colder surfaces such as walls, windows, ceilings or mirrors.
If ignored, excess moisture causing damp or mould can lead to the deterioration in the decorative condition of the property, stained curtains and decay in window frames. Whether you live in an old or new house, making an effort to remove excess moisture and ventilate should be part of your everyday routine.
Follow these steps to keep on top of condensation.
Produce less moisture in the house
- Dry your clothes outside. If the weather doesn’t make this possible, dry in the bathroom with the door closed and a window open / or extractor fan on.
- When cooking, cover pans when boiling water.
- Vent tumble driers to the outside (never into the home) or even better, buy a condensing type.
- Avoid using paraffin or liquid petroleum (bottled) gas heaters. They produce large amounts of water vapour (and are very expensive to run!).
Remove Excess Moisture
Always wipe the windows and windowsills of your home every morning to remove condensation. This is especially important in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen - just opening the window is not enough.
Ensure you are always ventilating rooms when producing moisture, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom. Ventilating allows warm (but moist) air to escape to the outside and let in cool (but dry) air. Slightly opening the window can allow the moisture to escape a room. Or use the trickle vent found on new UPVC windows. You may only need to open the window slightly to create enough ventilation to let moisture escape.
Opening immediately after rising in the morning and throwing back bedding helps immediately eliminate excess moisture from overnight. Continue to ventilate rooms for a short amount of time after cooking or showering.
An alternative to heating and ventilation for the control of moisture in the air is a dehumidifier. This is a device which draws in air, cools it to remove moisture which is collected in a reservoir and reheats it to an acceptable temperature before re-circulating it.
Other useful ways to ventilate you home:
- Clear window sills of clutter that will restrict opening the window.
- Leave space between the back of furniture and cold walls.
- Ventilate cupboards, wardrobes and avoid overfilling them as this prevents air circulating.
Keep your household warm
Keeping your house warm is a crucial element to avoiding condensation. Intermittent heating and cooling of the property can aggravate condensation problems- during cold weather its better to have the heating on low heat all day, rather than short bursts of high heat. This is also energy efficient!
Treatment of mould
- Carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth and throw away after. Or if possible use a vacuum cleaner and empty after. Do not brush mould as this releases spores into the air.
- Wipe down affected areas using a fungicidal wash or diluted bleach – remember always use rubber gloves and wear safety glasses.
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