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Recognising and reducing condensation in your home

Do you think your house might be affected by dampness? Damp can cause mould on walls and furniture and make window frames rot. Damp, cold housing encourages the growth of mould.

Most damp is caused by condensation and the way in which we live our lives.

There is always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it. If air gets cold, it cannot hold all the moisture produced by everyday activities and some of its moisture appears as tiny droplets of water, most noticeably on windows on a cold morning. This is condensation.

Condensation can occur in kitchens, bathroom, bedrooms and, in fact, any room where there is excess moisture combined with cold surfaces and little ventilation.

Dampness caused by excessive condensation can lead to mould growth on walls and furniture, mildew on clothes and other fabrics and the rotting of wooden window frames. Condensation mould often appears as small black dots.

By dealing with the causes of condensation you will automatically deal with the problem of mould.

There are a number of steps for you to follow to reduce condensation in your home and to treat any black mould which may be present.

  1. Produce less moisture:
    Dry clothes outdoors, cover pans when cooking and do not use paraffin or bottled gas heaters.
  2. Remove excess moisture:
    Always wipe the windows and window sills of your home every morning to remove condensation.  If your bathroom has an extractor fan use this during and for a short time after you have a shower/bath to help remove the excess steam (moisture).
  3. Ventilate to remove moisture:
    It is very important to remove condensation and excess moisture that you ventilate rooms. You can ventilate a room without making draughts or causing to become cold.  You only need to open the window slightly or the trickle vent on new UPVC windows. This allows warm (but moist) air to escape to the outside and let in cool (but dry) air.
  4. Heat your home a little more:
    In cold weather, the best way to keep rooms warm and avoid condensation is to keep low background heat on all day rather than short bursts of high heat when you are in the house.
  5. Dealing with any black mould:
    • Carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth and throw away after.  Do not brush mould as this will release the spores into the air.
    • 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.  These products are widely available from supermarkets and DIY shops.
    • After treatment redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould.  When wallpapering, use a specialist wallpaper paste containing a fungicide to prevent further mould growth.
    • Shampoo carpets and other soft furnishings affected by mould with a suitable cleaning agent.  Brushing and vacuuming mould can release spores.
    • Dry clean mould affected clothing.

You can view more information by accessing the 'recognising and reducing condensation in your home' guide:

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