Keep free from damp and mould
If damp is being caused by penetrating dampness, rising damp or defective plumbing, you should have repairs done to fix the cause of the problem. It can take weeks of heating and ventilating to dry out. Hiring a dehumidifier will help.
If you do not think the damp comes from any of these causes, it is probably condensation.
There's always some moisture in the air, even if you can't see it. By just breathing, a family of four adds 30 - 40 litres of water a week to their home as moisture.
If the air gets colder, it can't hold all the moisture and tiny droplets of water appear in places where there is little air movement. Places like corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards.
This is condensation. It is made worse by poor ventilation, insulation and heating. It is common to find black mould on this type of dampness.
- Showering, cooking and bathing can add 15 - 20 litres of water a week into your home. Make sure you:
- use your extractor fan and open windows during and afterwards
- keep pans covered whilst cooking
- Drying clothes indoors can add 10 - 15 litres of water a week into your home. Make sure you:
- dry clothes outdoors where possible, or on a maiden in a room with the door closed and the windows open. It's best to not dry clothes on a radiator
- make sure the vent of your tumble dryer goes outside.
Keep the property well heated. Try to have your living rooms at 18-21°C for a comfortable temperature.
- In cold weather, keep low background heat on all day.
- Open windows regularly to ventilate the property, or use trickle vents if you have them.
- Wipe your windows each morning with a cloth to remove excess moisture.
- Make sure your furniture doesn't touch your walls. A small gap will let the air flow behind the furniture.
- Using a dehumidifier can help to reduce moisture in a home. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Avoid using paraffin or flueless bottle gas heaters.
How to get rid of mould
- Carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth then throw it away. Do not brush mould as it releases spores into the air.
- Wipe affected areas with a fungicidal wash (mould and mildew cleaner) or diluted bleach. These are available at most supermarkets and DIY shops. Wear rubber gloves and goggles. Follow the instructions carefully.
- After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint or fungicidal wallpaper paste. Don't paint over with ordinary paints or wallpapers. If necessary dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets.
Ways to prevent condensation
- Make sure your loft is insulated to the correct height.
- Draught-proof windows and external doors.
- Consider cavity wall insulation and secondary glazing.
- Make sure your property is watertight and free from leaks.
- Mark sure your windows can open, or allow ventilation.
- Make sure your heating system heats your whole property.