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Banish Condensation & Mould this Winter

Tuesday, 2nd December, 2014

As the clocks change and the evenings get darker, we are reminded that the winter weather is just around the corner. During the winter months, we start to feel the cold more and spend more time inside our homes. This is when tenants start to notice the damp and condensation issues that may be lurking in their properties.

Condensation is perhaps the most common form of dampness that can appear in your rented property and can cause wallpaper to peel, damp patches to appear on walls and a build-up of moisture on your windows.

Many tenants tend to ignore the early signs of condensation and never mention it to their landlord until the problem has exacerbated, causing mould to spread across your walls, windows and ceilings. Despite the problem lingering for months beforehand the tenant will expect you to solve the problem in a timely manner.

The reason condensation appears in your property is due to lack of adequate ventilation and heating. As we spend more time indoors and make our property more energy efficient the build up of moisture and humidity levels increase.

In fact, four people living in a 3 bedroom property would create 112 pints of moisture a week from just breathing, cooking, showering and boiling the kettle.

So, how can you prevent condensation?

1. If you have a washing machine or tumble dryer in your property, ensure that it is vented correctly. From just one load of washing two litres of water is emitted into the air.

2. If possible, dry clothes outdoors to prevent excess moisture escaping into your property. If you live in a flat this might not be possible so always open your doors or windows if you really need to dry clothes indoors.

3. When boiling a kettle, taking a shower or cooking, ensure that your kitchen and bathroom doors are kept closed to prevent steam going into colder rooms which will cause condensation.

4. Cover your pans with a lid when cooking to reduce moisture. Also ensure that you have opened a window or you are using an extractor fan if you have one fitted. Don't turn off the extractor fan or close the window as soon as you finish cooking - leave it open for 15-20 minutes afterwards to clear the air.

5. Similar to when cooking in the kitchen, when you are taking a shower or bath ensure that you turn on an extractor fan or open a window to get rid of the steam that is created when running warm water in a cold environment. This will help reduce the amount of condensation that appears on your bathroom windows but won't eliminate the problem. 

6. Both pets and plants produce moisture. Make sure you cover fish tanks and if you are suffering from excess condensation look to move your plants outdoors.

7. If you don't have an extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen then make sure that you wipe down the surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen  when cooking or taking a shower. Excess moisture will quickly turn to mould which is difficult to completely remove.

8. Do not overfill bedroom wardrobes and kitchen cupboards. Overfilled cupboards are a breeding ground for mould as the air is not able to circulate freely inside.

9. For the same reason as above, make sure that any furniture is at least 50mm away from the surrounding walls so that air can move around the property. Also try to put wardrobes against internal walls in bedrooms; this will be less cold than external walls.

10. Ensure an adequate amount of heating is available in your property to improve the internal temperature of surfaces and reduce the likelihood of condensation.

11. If you use a room on a regular basis, such as a living room, open a window slightly to improve the ventilation in the room. Breathing is a major cause of condensation so this will help to improve the ventilation in your property.




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