Understanding what causes damp and mould can help to get rid of it and stop it from coming back.
Many people confuse a home with a condensation problem as one with ‘damp’.
The good thing is you can normally do quite a lot yourself to solve the problems caused by condensation. But it can be harder to cure structural damp.
Below are some of the reasons damp and mould happen in your home and some tips on what you can do to avoid them.
This is what rising damp normally looks like
This is what condensation normally looks like
Structural damp explained
Rising damp is caused by ground water moving up through a wall or floor. Damp-proof protective material (sometimes called a ‘course’ or ‘membrane’) usually stops the water from causing damage
Penetrating damp is caused by leaking water. It’s usually caused by structural problems in a building, such as faulty guttering, or it can be caused by internal leaks, like pipes under the sink. This type of damp may expand across walls or a ceiling horizontally
Condensation happens when warm moist air meets a cold surface, like a window or an outside wall
It’s normally caused by the everyday things we do in our homes which cause moisture in the air
It mainly happens when:
We don’t open our windows often enough to let the warm moist air out (when we’re cooking or taking a bath, for example)
A home is not heated properly
When the extractor fan is missing or not working
Above windows, on the ceiling or the outside walls of a home
In places where there’s not a lot of air flow – such as behind furniture
The spores can spread to internal walls and furniture
Here are some great tips on how you can avoid condensation and mould from happening in your home:
Don’t overfill your cupboards
Leave space between the furniture and walls
Open your windows when you can to let the moisture out
If you have vents in your walls or windows, make sure they’re open
Dry your washing outdoors
If you have to dry it indoors, don’t hang it on the radiators. Use a clothes horse in the bathroom with the extractor fan on and the window open
Open the windows to let the moisture out if you’re drying clothes indoors
If you use a tumble dryer, make sure the ventilation pipe leads outside. If it’s a condensing tumble dryer, you still need to open a window to let the moisture out
Use the extractor fans in your kitchen and bathroom
Keep a lid on sauce pans to reduce heat (this can also save you money as you can cook on a lower heat setting)
When filling your bath, run the cold water first then add the hot water – this will reduce the steam, which leads to condensation, by as much as 90%
While in the bath or shower, keep the door closed to stop the moist air getting all around your home - when you finish, open the window for 10 minutes or so to let the moist air out
Don’t over-heat or under-heat your home. Use a hygrometer to measure temperature and humidity. This will help you keep your home at the right temperature
Don’t heat your home to a high temperature very quickly as it makes condensation worse. It’s also expensive
A stable temperature is better than a swinging one. Between 18-21 degrees, with a humidity of 40-60% is best
Wipe down windows and window-sills when they get wet or you see condensation
Wipe down surfaces with a mould cleaner (always follow the manufacturer’s instructions)
When you’re decorating use an anti-mould paint in areas where you’ve had problems (area must be completely clear of mould first)
Don’t brush or hoover the mould as this can spread the number of spores in the air
If your mould is really bad and you can’t get rid of it
Step 1 – Tell us more
We’ll need to find out the type of mould it is and what might be causing it. Once we know this we can work out how to fix the problem.