Condensation and dampness
Condensation and dampness can become a major problem, but there are some simple things you can do to prevent it.
What is condensation?
Condensation is the water produced when moist air, vapour or steam comes into contact with a cold surface, such as windows, walls and floors and places with little air moving around. You can see it on bathroom mirrors when you bathe or shower.
It can cause mould to grow on walls and ceilings which can damage clothes, bedding and floor coverings.
What is damp and mould and how does it grow?
Damp can cause mould on walls, furniture and furnishings. Damp housing encourages the growth of mould - some mould is caused by condensation.
What are the signs to look out for?
Mould is easy to spot as it will appear as dark/black spores in damp/moist areas. Often it is in the corner of rooms and around windows or where there is cold bridging where moisture is penetrating from the outside.
Damp can be less obvious and may present itself from paintwork bubbling or wallpaper coming away from the wall. Damp normally rises so check the bottom of your walls and behind furniture.
The best way to treat mould is to minimise the amount of condensation in the property, however, once mould appears, kill and remove the mould using an approved fungicidal wash when wiping down walls and window frames.
How can dampness and mould be tackled?
Damp and mould can increase the risk of respiratory illness, therefore it is really important to report and treat it by taking proactive action as a resident, but also to ensure the necessary repairs are made to the property.
Dealing with condensation is a key first step - there are immediate measures you can take by wiping down windows and sills every morning.
The best way to combat condensation is to minimise the moisture in the air, as condensation is more prevalent during cold weather.
Following these simple steps will help you reduce condensation problems:
- Cover pans when cooking and avoid leaving kettles boiling.
- Leave dry clothes outside, if you have to dry them inside it is advised to put the washing in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or the extractor fan on.
- Ventilation helps to reduce moisture so keep a small window ajar or trickle vent open when a person is in the room as humans emit a lot of moisture when breathing!
- Close doors to stop moisture from spreading especially from the kitchen and bathroom.
- Keep furniture a few centimetres away from walls to help air circulate and reduce the conditions for mould growth.
- Keeping a home warmer reduces condensation so insulation of lofts/walls and draft proofing of windows and outside doors can really help coupled with keeping a minimum background temperature using your thermostat can keep condensation at bay. However, we understand that this may not always be possible as the cost of heating our homes continues to rise.
- Ventilation and wiping down surfaces on a regular basis are critical to controlling mould growth.
For more information on dealing with mould and condensation, read keep your home free from damp and mould [PDF, 869KB].
What we can do to help
If you are doing everything you can to reduce condensation and your home is still damp, this could be due to a building fault or because the damp-proof course is damaged.
We work with tenants to control condensation by giving advice, treating mould and providing additional thermal insulation and ventilation. We will also inspect your home to eliminate other causes of dampness such as:
- leaking pipes, waste pipes or overflows
- rain leaking through the roof or through gaps around windows or door frames
- rising damp due to a faulty damp proof course.
Report it for an inspection
If you think your home is damp and the cause is not condensation, please email our Repairs Team who will arrange an inspection.
Please state in the subject line ‘damp and mould’ along with your full address. If condensation is the cause, the responsibility may be with you but we'll discuss this during the visit.