Homes and property Dampness and leaks

Keep free from damp and mould

If damp is being caused by penetrating dampness, rising damp or defective plumbing, you should have the necessary repairs done to tackle the cause of the problem. It can take weeks of heating and ventilating to dry out. Hiring a dehumidifier will help.

If you do not think the damp comes from any of these causes, it is probably condensation.

Condensation

There's always some moisture in the air, even if you can't see it. If the air gets colder, it can't hold all the moisture and tiny droplets of water appear. This is condensation.

Condensation is mostly a problem in cold weather. It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little air movement - in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards. It is made worse by inadequate ventilation, insulation and heating.

It is common to find black mould on this type of dampness.

Reduce condensation

  • cover pans and open windows during and after cooking
  • dry clothes outdoors where possible or in a room with the door closed and the windows open
  • use the bathroom extractor fan during and after washing or showering
  • have the vent of your tumble dryer outside
  • keep the property well heated
  • in cold weather, keep low background heat on all day
  • open windows regularly to ventilate the property
If you rent and you already do all of these things, get in touch with your landlord to sort the problem out.

How to get rid of mould

  • carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth then throw it away; do not brush mould as it releases spores into the air
  • wipe affected areas with a fungicidal wash (mould and mildew cleaner) or diluted bleach. These are available at most supermarkets and DIY shops. Wear rubber gloves and goggles. Follow the instructions carefully
  • after treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint. Don't paint over with ordinary paints or wallpapers. If necessary dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets.

Prevent condensation

  • Insulate the loft
  • Draught-proof windows and external doors
  • Consider cavity insulation
  • Consider secondary glazing

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