How do I combat condensation and mould?

Water dripping down your windows? Black mould spots on your ceiling and walls? Musty stale and damp smell in your property?  These are all classic signs that your property is suffering from condensation.

What is condensation?

Condensation is caused by water vapour inside the property coming into contact with a colder surface, such as a window or wall. The fall in temperature causes water to form on the surface which may then soak into the wallpaper, paintwork or plasterwork. Mould spores are invisible to the naked eye but are in the air all around us all of the time and will quickly grow on surfaces where condensation has formed into a visible covering. 

Condensation mainly occurs during the colder months and is usually found in the corners of rooms, external walls and on or near windows. It can also be found in areas of little air circulation such as behind wardrobes and beds, especially when they are pushed up against external walls, and sometimes on clothing and furniture. 

Mould is almost always seen with this type of dampness and is normally the first symptom to cause concern. 

All homes are affected by condensation at some point however certain activities can increase the problem and good practices can eliminate this from becoming a problem. Condensation and mould growth are often due to habits and lifestyles that can be simply reduced or remedied by the householder. Cooking, washing, drying clothes indoors, even breathing, all produce water vapour that can only be seen when tiny drops of water condense on colder surfaces such as walls, windows, ceilings or mirrors and often unseen on clothing, shoes and furniture.

What are the best ways to prevent condensation?

There are a number of ways to combat the build up of condensation in a property but the most proven and effective way involves combining them all together.  By dealing with the causes of condensation you will automatically deal with the problem of mould.

  1. Reduce the amount of moisture produced in the property. This can be by putting pots on lids when cooking, running the cold water in the bath before the hot water, dry clothes outside and not on radiators, ventilate dryer to the outside
  2. Remove excess moisture in the property. It’s vitally important to ventilate the property as frequently as possible but especially when showering/washing and cooking.  Keep more than one window open/ajar for 30 minutes or more a day to increase air circulation. Try to wipe away any excess water on any windows. Ensure you have good quality and working extractor fans in all wet rooms.  Leave space around furniture and try not to overfill the property, it is important that air can circulate around the property.
  3. Heat the property adequately. 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. Do not be tempted to turn off the radiators in unused rooms as this could give rise to dampness and mould growth that you will be unaware of. Good heating controls on your radiators, room thermostats and a timer will help control the heating throughout your house and manage costs.  Where possible try to improve the insulation in the property by having double glazed windows and loft insulation.

By following the steps and guidance above you should see a reduction in moisture and condensation in the property.  Unfortunately, it’s not always practical and/or possible to completely eradicate condensation.  In some instances, you might be able to consider installing an air circulation and heat recover system although they can be expensive and you might need the permission from the landlord owner before doing so. 

Should you wish to read more about please click on following link has been produced by ARMA to help advise about the subject. Condensation and mould