Every winter comes the threat of condensation or damp getting trapped inside your home and causing mould. They can damage your walls, carpets, furniture and clothes and can even lead to health problems.

In this guide we set out how to spot condensation, damp and mould – and what you should do if you find them in your home.

What are condensation, damp and mould?

Condensation is the result of moisture in the air hitting a cold surface, such as a window or outside wall, and turning back into water.

Damp comes in two forms – penetrating damp (where water comes in from outside) and rising damp (where water comes up from the ground through the brickwork).

Mould is the result of condensation or damp, and is usually black. The longer water stays on surfaces, the more likely it is that mould will grow. Condensation is the most common cause of mould in the home. Once you have mould, it can spread.

What do they look like?

Condensation is easiest to see on windows or glass as water droplets, but can also be found on tiles or other cold surfaces.

Damp looks like wet patches on a wall. Penetrating damp, such as a leak, will look like a tea stain.

Other signs of damp include moss growing on the outside of your brickwork.

Why are they a problem?

If they are not dealt with and allowed to grow, mould can cause health problems, such as coughs and even symptoms of asthma.

What should you do if you spot a problem?

Damp

If you see signs of damp, please contact us to book a repair. Please give us as much detail about where the damp is and what it looks like, and we will come and fix the problem.

Condensation

If you start to see condensation, the first thing to do is to wipe it away – squeegees are great for shower screens and tiles.

How can you reduce condensation?

It is impossible to stop condensation from forming completely. There is moisture in the air we breathe out! But you can cut the amount of condensation created – and you can wipe it away as soon as you spot it.

Here are our top tips for reducing condensation:

Throughout the home

If possible:

  • Keep your home warm – keeping your heating on at a low temperature is cheaper and more efficient than just turning it up when it is really cold. Moisture condenses on cold surfaces, so keeping your home warm reduces the cold areas.

  • Ventilate your home – air flow cuts condensation, so keeping vents clear from blockage, opening trickle vents at windows, and opening windows in some rooms can make a big difference. It is also useful not to crowd cupboards and to leave a gap between furniture and walls to provide space for air to flow.
  • Shut doors in rooms with a lot of moisture – normally your bathroom and kitchen. Shutting the door and opening the window will allow the moisture to escape, whereas just opening the door can spread it to the rest of your home.

In the kitchen

Always cover pots and pans when cooking. This will cut the amount of steam released into the room. Use extractor fans and leave them on for a little while after you finish. If you can, keep a window open.

In the bathroom

If you are running a bath, put the cold water in before the hot – you will end up with the same temperature water but less steam.

Drying clothes

Avoid drying clothes on radiators – it is a major cause of moisture in the air. Only use a tumble drier if it vents the heat out of the property. Otherwise it will keep all the moisture in your home. If it is not possible to dry clothes outside, such as in winter, use a clothes horse and shut the door to the room – and if possible, do it in the bathroom.

How to treat mould

Mould can be treated very easily. To kill and remove mould:

  • Wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash, following the instructions precisely. These washes are available from most supermarkets and DIY stores
  • Dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo affected carpets
  • Don’t use a vacuum cleaner or brush – this can release damp spores, which may make the issue worse and can increase the risk of respiratory illness
  • When you redecorate after treating a wall or window frame, you should use fungicidal-resistant paint or wallpaper paste
  • Dry any windows, windowsills and surfaces that are wet with condensation each morning, especially in the kitchen and bathroom
  • Wring out the cloths used for this – do not dry them on a radiator or heater