Water vapor is always in the air. Condensation occurs when this water vapour, meets a cold surface like a window, tile or outside wall. This contact turns the vapour into little drops of water, known as condensation.
You can see it when your bathroom mirror mists over when taking a shower, or when you can see your breath outside on a cold day.
Because it is the contact with the cold that causes condensation, it is worse during the winter months.
It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air such as in corners, near windows, or behind furniture that is up against a wall.
If you get condensation in your home, unfortunately, we can’t get rid of it. It is a natural process that will always happen. However, there are steps you can take to prevent it.
If you get condensation and it’s not removed, it can cause dampness and black mold to grow. This can damage walls, ceilings, furniture, furnishings and clothing in cupboards and drawers. It can also make you unwell by increasing the risk of respiratory illness.
Condensation is not the only cause of damp, it can also be caused by:
• Leaking pipes.
• Leaking roofs.
• Blocked gutters.
• Cracks around window frames.
• Rising damp from the ground.
• Soil piled up against the outside wall.
Certain things we do around the home can produce a lot of moisture very quickly, such as cooking and drying clothes. Here are some simple steps to reduce this:
• Cover pans when cooking.
• Don’t leave kettles boiling.
• Dry washing outside. If you can’t do this dry it in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open, or with the fan on.
• Don’t dry washing on radiators.
• If you have a tumble dryer vent it outside, unless it is a self-condensing model.
• Avoid paraffin and portable gas heaters.
• Ventilate the kitchen and bathroom when you use them by opening the window or using an extractor fan.
• Close kitchen and bathroom doors even if they have an extractor fan. This will help prevent moisture reaching the other rooms.
• Avoid putting too many things in cupboards and wardrobes as this stops the air circulating.
• Where possible, position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls.
• Some new PVC windows have trickle vents which should be opened to help reduce moisture in the room.
• Keep a small window ajar when someone is in the room.
Insulating and draught-proofing your home will help to keep it warm, it will also reduce your energy bills! When the whole home is warmer, condensation is less likely to happen. You can buy draught-proofing strips to stick around window frames. Always make sure the strip is the right size to fill the gap in your window. If the strip is too big it will get crushed and you may not be able to close the window. If it’s too small there will still be a gap. For windows that don’t open, use a silicone sealant.
Draught-proofing outside doors can save a lot of heat and will only cost you a few pounds. There are four main areas to consider.
• Keyhole – fit a keyhole cover.
• Letterbox – use a letterbox flap or brush, always measure your letterbox before you buy.
• Gap at the bottom – use a brush or hinged flap draught excluder.
• Gaps around the edges – fit foam, brush or wiper strips
It is important to treat any mould in your home. Mould is a fungus and it will grow if it is not dealt with. If you deal with it as soon as you notice it, you have better chance of killing it and before it spreads.
There are lots of products that you can buy to kill and remove mould. These ready-made solutions can be found in most supermarkets. Always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Or, you can use good old white distilled vinegar that can you buy very cheaply from the supermarket. Simply pour the vinegar into a spray bottle, spray it onto the affected area and leave it to work for at least an hour. Then wipe it clean with water and dry it the area well.
If clothes or carpets have been affected, you will need to dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets.
If the mould has damaged your decoration, after treating the area to remove the mould, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. This paint is not effective if you use ordinary paint or wallpaper over the top and it stops it from doing its job.
If you continue to prevent condensation, the mould should not reappear.
If you are affected by damp or mould and need our help, please contact us on 0300 561 1111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.