Most condensation issues are caused by the way we live and our everyday household activities. Fortunately, this means that you can learn how to control condensation in your home so that any problems are minimised.
What is condensation?
When warm air hits a cold surface, it releases moisture - meaning that droplets of water form. You might have noticed this on window panes or other cold surfaces in your home. It's these droplets of water, or condensation, that can cause dampness when it isn't controlled.
The best thing you can do to avoid condensation and damp is to make sure your home is warm, but also well-ventilated.
To keep your home as warm and well-ventilated as possible, you can:
- hang thick curtains on windows and doors
- lay a carpet with a good underlay beneath
- use draught excluders
- leave your heating on for longer periods if possible, but set the thermostat to a lower temperature (condensation often forms during the day and night when heating is off)
- dry your clothes in a tumble dryer or outside - wet clothes put lots of moisture into the air
- if you dry clothes in a room with no window, make sure it has a good extractor fan that works well
- open a window while cooking; cover steaming pans, and don't let kettles boil unnecessarily
- close the bathroom door and use an extractor fan while using the bath or shower; if you don't have one, open a window instead
- wipe down cold surfaces - where you see moisture forming - and wring out cloths instead of drying them on the radiator
- use condensation strips, which collect moisture, on your window sills
Dealing with mould
Condensation can sometimes cause mould to grow in your home. If you don't treat it, it can grow and spread to other areas of your home. Sometimes mould can cause respiratory (breathing) problems.
If you notice black spots of mould in your home, you should:
- wipe down the affected area with a fungicidal wash or spray - make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Keep an eye on the area for at least a week and wipe it down again with the fungicidal wash if the mould returns
- shampoo any mildewed carpet, and dry-clean clothes - this is better than brushing or vacuum cleaning, which can disturb mould and increase the risk of respiratory problems
- if the treatment seems to have worked, you can then redecorate if you need to. Fungicidal paints can help stop mould coming back, but are only effective if you don't cover them with ordinary paints and wallpapers (you can also buy fungicidal wallpaper paste)
- stop mould coming back by controlling the amount of condensation and dampness in your home
Persistent mould and health issues
If you have persistent damp or mould in your home that you have tried to treat, or if you think the health of someone in your household is being affected by it, you should contact Environmental Health. We will be able to inspect your home and recommend a different treatment plan.
Controlling damp and mould booklet