Condensation and Mildew

Condensation and Mildew

Winter time and the cold weather can result in signs of condensation inside your home. This is quite common, even in a new property. The first signs are usually the appearance of black mould spots and a musty smell in the coldest parts of the house – usually bedrooms and bathrooms. If your property has been free from these signs in the warm summer months, then it is unlikely to be a damp problem created by the defects in the property – condensation is the most likely cause.

What is Condensation

Condensation is a process where moisture (steam) in the air inside your home is condensing into water droplets on cold surfaces. This is most noticeable on hard surfaces like glass or tiles, where pools of water may appear on window sills. With soft surfaces like wallpaper, carpets, bedding and clothes, you will not notice the water but it will be absorbed into these items making them cold and damp over time resulting in mould and mouldy smells.

What causes Condensation

There are three main causes of condensation in a home:

  • Rooms that are too cold and inadequately heated, creating lots of cold surfaces.
  • The production of too much steam from cooking, washing, showering, drying clothes etc., all result in moisture laden warm air which will rise to the highest and usually the coldest part of the house, where the condensation takes place.
  • Inadequate ventilation of the steam produced at source, which keeps it all in the sealed envelope of the house.

Modern houses with double glazing and draft proofing are effectively hermetically sealed boxes, with little or no venting of excess moisture as and when it is produced, for example a bathroom shower or kitchen cooker. As a tenant you can do a lot to prevent condensation in your home and it’s all fairly simple to do as described in the following steps;

  • Maintain a minimum and consistent temperature in all your rooms, especially bathrooms and bedrooms –temperatures should not be allowed to fall below 18 Celsius.
  • It costs less to maintain a consistence temperature rather than heat the property from cold and is also much more comfortable.
  • Minimise the production of steam example while cooking, keep the lids on, using the extractor fan while cooking and showering (where available).
  • Drying of wet clothes outside rather than on radiators indoors also if a tumble dryer is available, it is has an external vent.

Measures mentioned above can cure most condensation and mould problems however if the property has become very cold and damp over a long period of time, it may take a long time to thoroughly dry out with the aid of good heating.

Please ensure that as a tenant you take the necessary steps to ensure the property does not become permanently stained through condensation damage as the cost to rectify this may be taken from your deposit.