1. A guide to damp in your home
How to deal with the main causes of damp within your home
Do you think you have damp, in your home?
Reports of damp rise significantly from October – March, for 3 main reasons:
This is caused by moisture produced by everyday activities, not enough ventilation and cool temperatures within your home. Moisture forms on the surface of cold areas creating condensation that turns into black spotty mould. Condensation primarily occurs during October to March when the temperatures drop and predominantly over night when they are at their lowest.
This is very rare, it is when the damp proof course of your property has failed or your property was built before damp proof courses were introduced. Typical symptoms include a tide mark up to 1 metre on your solid brick or stone walls.
A type of damp is the result of water seeping through a wall due to a defect in the building
Moisture in your home
Wet clothing accounts for one of the largest amounts of moisture generation in the home, as the moisture from the clothes will naturally move to the dryer air.
Drying them on a radiator is the worst thing that you can do in terms of managing condensation mould. If clothes must be dried inside, it is best to use a clothes airer and keep the radiator clear.
Airers should be positioned in the bathroom, where possible. If the bathroom doesn’t have a fan, open the window slightly and close the door. This will contain the moisture in that area. For a small flat, a clothes airer that can straddle the bath and therefore not take up floor space. Kitchens can also be used as long as these are warmer and have some background trickle ventilation and the door is kept shut.
What we do affects the amount of water vapour held in the air. Warm air holds more moisture than cold, it’s better to keep your home at a constant temperature, we recommend 19-21oC. The temperature of the air dictates how much of this moisture it can hold per day see below:
Cause of moisture
How much water produced each day
2 people at home
A bath or shower
Drying clothes indoors
Cooking and the use of a kettle
Total added moisture to your home
23 pints or 13.07 litres each day
Bringing in dry air
The quickest and easiest way to bring in dry air, is through opening and shutting windows. It is advised to open a window, count to five, and then close it immediately. This is enough to reset the room as ‘water as a gas’ is always looking to get out of the house as fast as it can. It is also important to not to let heat out and cold in. There is no waste of heat.
A good rule of thumb is you get cold while opening the window then that is too long. The object is not to air the house for hours at a time-that’s only for the summer.
The golden rule is to do this in each room before you do any activity such as having a bath or shower or cooking. It should also be done as you get up in the morning to allow any moisture that has built up in the house overnight to dissipate.
Wiping down visible condensation from window sills etc. after a shower can help, as can closing the door, to prevent the warm air from escaping into the rest of the house.
How can I prevent condensation?
Try the following steps:
- Mould only grows on clean water i.e. condensation
- Keep your home warm (ideally heat the lounge to 21oC and all other rooms to 19oC).
- Keep kitchen and bathroom doors shut during and after cooking and bathing/showering
- Stop moisture building up by wiping surfaces where moisture settles
- Leave trickle vents on windows open
- Keep a small gap between large pieces of furniture and walls
- If you have one, use your extractor fan, please call repairs at Exeter city council if it is faulty or you don’t have one
- Ventilate or air your home
- Cook with pan lids on
- Make sure tumble driers are condensing or vented to the outside
- Dry clothes outside where possible, if unavoidable restrict drying to one room, keep the door closed and windows open to remove the moisture
- Avoid overloading cupboards and wardrobes and ventilate regularly.
How can I treat mould, now I’m taking steps to prevent it?
To kill and remove mould:
- Clean the black mould areas using a fungicidal wash/spray that carries a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approval number. Please make sure you follow the instructions of the product.
- Dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets.
- After treatment use a good quality fungicidal paint and or fungicidal resistant paper and paste.
- Avoid cleaning mould with household chemicals i.e. washing up liquid. Although the mould will temporarily disappear, it will feed the mould and come back worse than before.
If you have followed the suggested steps you should begin to notice a considerable difference within 4-6 weeks.
What do I do now that I’ve completed all the recommended steps, and I still have mould?
Contact the housing repairs team online or call 01392 265031 and we will book an appointment for the Works Surveyor to come out and visit you.