Tackling mould, damp and condensation
Mould is a black fungus that can build up when there is too much moisture in a room. It is usually visible, but you can also often tell it’s there by the musty smell it gives off. Mould is often seen:
- around windows
- in the corners and edges of a room
- behind wardrobes and cupboards
It can spread to clothes, shoes and bags if they are in a damp wardrobe.
Mould is caused by too much still moisture in the air. This can happen because:
- the room is too cold
- there is no free flow of air into and out of the room
- condensation forms
Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes in to contact with a cold surface.
You can see it when you breathe onto glass or a mirror – your warm, moist breath causes mist to form on the cold surface.
If this process continues for a long period, the mist will pull together causing water droplets to form.
These water droplets can be seen on the bottom of windows on cold winter mornings, but are not seen in the warmer months due to warm air holding more water vapour than cold.
We can reduce the production of condensation by introducing heat to warm the air, preventing the creation of water droplets.
Dealing with mould and condensation
Apart from being an eyesore, mould is a problem because it can:
- cause health problems
- irritate existing skin problems
- ruin clothes and soft furnishings
Mould can spread quite quickly if nothing is done about it.
Tackling the cause of damp and mould in our properties is a priority for Salix Homes, so if your home suffers from damp, mould or condensation, please let us know about it.
We’ll be able to arrange either an inspection with our damp specialists or to confirm any necessary repair work needed.
There are three things that together can help prevent mould from occuring:
- reducing the moisture in the air
- improving the air-flow
- keeping the room warm
Condensation is the main cause of mould. This occurs when we do simple every-day activities, such as:
- boiling the kettle
- having a shower or bath
Even when we’re asleep, people release a pint of moisture into the air through their breath.
If you find that your windows and walls have condensation on them, wipe them down with a cloth and wring it out. Do not put it on the radiator to dry as it will release the water back into the air.
Here are some ways to help reduce the amount of condensation in your home:
- keep a window ajar when possible
- open windows on opposite sides of your home to let the air flow through
- use extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom if you have them
- keep window vents open
- dry washing outside if possible or on a clothes airer in a well-ventilated room with the door closed and window open
- tumble dryers should be vented to the outside unless the tumble dryer is a condensing dryer
- cook with the lids on the saucepans, as this can help reduce the moisture from the steam going into the room
- open a window and/or turn on your extractor fan when cooking
- if you’re having a bath, put the cold water in first
- don’t cover radiators as this stops them from radiating heat into your home
Good ventilation means that the air can flow freely through a room. It stops wet air condensing on the walls and windows.
Air circulation and ventilation can be key in reducing condensation and moisture.
In some instances it is possible to reduce condensation in your home by taking the following steps:
- opening the window or turning on your extractor fan when you are having a bath or a shower will help to reduce moisture building up
- leaving bathroom and kitchen extractor fans on for 30 minutes after cooking and/or showerin
- always turning on your cooker hood extractor fan before cooking, if you have one
- closing kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use, to help stop moisture spreading into other rooms
- not covering air-bricks or window vents can help maintain a good ventilation source.
- windows with a trickle vent function should be left in an open position throughout the day
We know it’s not always possible to keep windows open all the time, especially in the winter.
If ventilation does not work on its own, you can use your home’s heating to keep condensation at bay.
It’s better to keep the heating on all day at a low level than putting it on in short bursts, especially in bathrooms and kitchens.
Use the thermostat to keep rooms at between 18 and 20 degrees.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests 18 degrees is the ideal temperature for the majority of people and is the best temperature for sleeping.
Do not warm a cold room by leaving the door open. Warm damp air will enter the room and condense on cold surfaces.
If you find that your heating bill goes up, see if you can use better ventilation rather than heating to help tackle the condensation and try and find the right balance between ventilation and heating.
You can use the valve on the radiator to reduce the heat in rooms that you do not use very often.
If you’re struggling financially to pay your heating bills, speak to your energy supplier in the first instance and they might be able to switch you to a better tariff.
The Salix Homes Income Management Team is also available to offer advice and support if you’re struggling with the cost of your bills, rent and other expenses.
Contact us to access support.
For information on the government grants and funds available including the Winter Fuel Payments and Warm Home Discount schemes, visit the Citizens Advice website
There is short-term support available for people who are in a crisis. Please contact Salford Assist Helpline on 0800 694 3695 from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.