Experiencing damp and mould in your home can be worrying and have a negative affect your general mental health and risk of respiratory illnesses.
But it can be difficult to work out the cause of the damp and mould.
Is there water ingress into your home either penetrating or rising dampness or plumbing problems or is condensation to blame?
Guidance has recently been produced by central government and can found in full at the following address: Understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould in the home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
While this guidance is focused on landlords, there are details of practical steps that can be taken both to address damp and mould and prevent them within the guidance. Specifically, under the headings of Identifying and addressing Damp and Mould and Reducing the Risk of Damp and Mould.
You may need the help of a damp specialist, plumber or energy efficiency advisor to find the cause of your Damp and Mould but some tips to help with condensation can be found below:
In the Autumn and Winter Months, some people will start to see an increase in the amount of condensation forming around their homes.
Did you know that a family of four can add the equivalent of 30 – 40 litres of water a week just by breathing! Showering, cooking and bathing can add up 20 more litres; drying clothes inside can add an additional 10 to 15 litres. That is a lot of moisture!
Condensation typically occurs when warm, moist air meets cold surfaces. A build-up of condensation can lead to black mould forming.
What you can do to help
To keep on top of condensation it is important to let warm moist air out regularly, and this can be done by controlling ventilation and air circulation.
In the bathroom
- Use mechanical extraction fans, allowing them to run for at least 20 minutes after bathing or showering, and open the windows if safe to do so.
- A ‘squidgee’ is a great way of clearing moisture away from hard surfaces like tiles, shower screens and windows.
- Dry any wet surfaces with a cloth that can be squeezed out. Putting a small amount of cold water in the bath before adding hot drastically reduces steam.
In the kitchen
- Make use of extraction fans and open windows if you can.
- Placing lids on saucepans will not only speed up cooking times, but also reduce steam and moisture into your home.
As the weather cools down, drying clothes inside becomes more common. Try these tips:
- Give clothes an extra spin in the washing machine to enable quicker drying times.
- If you’re using an airer, position it in a room where you can close the door and open the window and open the window for a short time.
- Keep a small gap between large items of furniture like wardrobes and beds to allow warm air to circulate and try not to overfill cupboards.
- Whilst energy bills are a concern, maintaining an even temperature, ideally above 18oC throughout your home will help prevent condensation build up. Warmer temperatures are recommended for living spaces.
- If you are concerned about energy costs, please see the Councils Cold Homes and Fuel Poverty pages for latest information.
It is essential that mould is removed promptly using an appropriate mould and mildew cleaner. Larger areas of mould should only be addressed by qualified professionals.
Take photos and make a record of the extend of the mould growth, location and any patterning that has formed to aid any future investigation.
Regardless of the extent of mould, the person removing the mould should wear protective equipment, such as a mask, gloves and goggles, in order to avoid contact with mould spores or cleaning products.
Doors should be shut to help prevent mould spores from being spread to other areas of the house, but windows should be left open during and after the clean-up activity. Protective equipment and clothing should be washed or carefully disposed of afterwards to prevent contamination and the product use guidance should be followed.