31 January 2014
Jersey’s Environmental Health team has issued a seasonal reminder about the advice available to Islanders concerned about condensation, dampness and mould growth in their homes.
Condensation is a natural phenomenon that can be particularly pronounced in the winter when homes may not be well-ventilated. If the causes of condensation are not addressed, it can lead to mould growth.
Stewart Petrie, Head of Environmental Health, said there were a number of simple measures that could be taken in order to ensure homes were well-heated, but also adequately ventilated, in order to reduce moisture levels. These include:
- hanging thick curtains on windows and doors
- laying a carpet with a good underlay beneath
- the use of draught excluders, and condensation strips, which collect moisture, on window sills
- leaving heating on for longer periods if possible, at a lower temperature (condensation often forms during the day and night when heating is off)
- drying clothes in a tumble dryer with an effective condenser or vent, or outside – wet clothes put lots of moisture into the air
- the use of extractor fans in bathrooms, when cooking or drying clothes
- opening a window while cooking, covering steaming pans, and not letting kettles boil unnecessarily
- avoid the use of paraffin or bottled gas heaters
- wiping down cold surfaces where moisture has formed, and wringing out cloths instead of drying them on the radiator
Problems with mould can be dealt with by:
- wiping down affected areas with a fungicidal wash or spray
- shampooing mildewed carpets – this is better than brushing or vacuum cleaning, which can disturb mould and increase the risk of respiratory problems – and dry cleaning clothes
- the use of fungicidal paints in any redecoration work – these can help stop mould coming back, but won’t be effective if covered with ordinary paints and wallpapers. Fungicidal wallpaper paste is also available
- stopping mould coming back by controlling condensation
“Most condensation issues are caused by the way we live and our everyday household activities,” said Mr Petrie. “Fortunately, this means that householders can learn how to control condensation in their home so that any problems are minimised.”
Environmental Health is also able to offer further help to those affected, whether they lived in private rented accommodation, States accommodation, lodging houses or private homes.
“Anyone who has tried unsuccessfully to deal with persistent damp or mould in their home, or who has concerns about someone suffering health problems as a result, should contact the Environmental Health Department,” he added. “We will be able to inspect your home and suggest further action which may help.”