What is condensation?
There is always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it. If the air gets colder, it cannot hold all the moisture and tiny drops of water appear. This is condensation. You notice it when you see your breath on a cold day, or when the mirror mists over when you have a bath.
Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather, whether it is raining or dry, it does not leave a ‘tidemark’. It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. Look for it in corners, or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards. It often forms on north-facing walls.
Is it condensation?
Condensation is not the only cause of damp. It can also come from:
- Leaking pipes, wastes or overflows.
- Rain seeping through the roof where a tile or slate is missing, spilling from a blocked gutter, penetrating around window frames, or leaking through a cracked pipe.
- Rising damp due to a defective damp-course or because there is no damp course.
If you home is newly built it may be damp because the water used during its construction (for example, in plaster) is still drying out.
If your home is damp for any of these reasons it may take weeks of heating and ventilation to dry out. Hiring a dehumidifier will help.
If you do not think the damp comes from any of these causes, then it may be condensation. If damp is as a result of one of these causes please contact the Customer Contact Centre and report the problem.
How to avoid condensation
Produce less moisture by:
- Cover pans when cooking.
- Dry washing outdoors on a line, or put it in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open. Do not dry clothes on radiators.
- Vent any tumble dryer on the outside, unless it is the self-condensing type. DIY kits are available for this.
Ventilate to remove moisture:
- Keep a small window ajar or a trickle ventilator open when someone is in the room
- Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when in use by opening the windows wider.
- Close the kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use, even if your kitchen or bathroom has an extractor fan.
- Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes. Avoid putting too many things in them as this stops the air circulating. Cut a ventilation slot in the back of each shelf or use slatted shelves. Cut ‘breather’ holes in doors and the back of wardrobes and leave space between the back of the wardrobe and the wall. Where possible, position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls.
First steps against mould
- First treat any mould you may already have in your home. If you then deal with the basic problem of condensation, mould should not reappear.
- To kill and remove mould, wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash which carries a Health and Safety Executive ‘approval number’. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. Dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Disturbing mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning can increase the risk of respiratory problems.
- After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to prevent mould recurring. Note that this paint is not effective if overlaid with ordinary paints or wallpaper.
Need more information?
For more information about this service please contact us