Guide To Preventing Damp/Mould
[ 5 Step Action Plan Included]
This is caused on the ground floor of a property where moisture passes through the brickwork where there is no damp proof course or where the DPC has been compromised.
It will only travel 12-24 inches high and usually leaves a ‘tide mark’ on the wall.
Rising damp will be present all year round but is more noticeable in winter. It will cause the plaster to crumble or the paper to lift. (Mould does not grow on rising damp)
By far the most common cause of damp resulting in a large number of enquiries/complaints to the council.
Condensation is caused by water vapour coming into contact with a colder surface, such as a window or wall. It usually occurs in the colder months whether it is wet or dry outside. Black mould will grow in damp areas, particularly where air circulation is restricted behind wardrobes and beds.
Black Mould is often seen on this type of damp!
Penetrating damp is the result of moisture ingress from a leak or building defect.
A damp patch on an external wall or ceiling during a period of rainfall is likely to be the result of a defect in the roof, chimney, guttering or external finish/ flashing or seal.
Mould growth is unlikely to be caused by penetrating damp, this is because it is often too wet and the salts picked up passing through the wall prevent mould growth.
5 Step Plan
To reduce condensation & thus black mould
1. Produce Less Moisture
Where possible, dry clothes outdoors.
If this is not possible, dry them on a clothes airer in the bathroom with the door closed and extractor fan on or the window slightly open
Use a Condensing Dryer.
This is the best way to dry clothes indoors as they collect the moisture. Alternatively, if you have a vented dryer, ensure it is vented outside via duct or a window when in use.
Use pan lids when cooking to contain moisture.
Do not leave kettles boiling unnecessarily and be conscious of moisture build up when cooking, this is a large contributor.
2. Ventilate To Remove Stale Air
Moisture NEEDS to leave your property and escape outside.
– Crack open your window or ensure the trickle vents are open
– Ventilate the bathroom during and after use. Ensure the door remains closed
Ensure Extraction fans are clean and operational. They should continue to run after you leave the room.
– Open bedroom windows for upto one hour as soon as you wake up, also throw back the bedding to air.
Allow Air to Circulate
– Pull furniture away from cold walls for airflow
– Clean clutter from window sills
– Do not overfill wardrobes, allow air to circulate between items.
3. Reduce Excess Moisture
Window Condensation is a sign of too much moisture!
Whether it’s when you wake up, after your morning shower or following your evening meal. Remove excessive moisture when it appears!
4. Consistent Heating
In cold weather, the best way to keep rooms warm and avoid
condensation is to keep low background heat on all day rather than
short bursts of high heat when you are in the house.
5. Dealing With Black Mould
Black mould can grow on walls, ceilings, furnishings and even on clothes and toys, which can be depressing and expensive.
1) Carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth and throw away after. Or if possible use a vacuum cleaner and empty after. Do not brush mould as this releases spores into the air.
2) Wipe down the affected area with fungicidal wash or diluted bleach. Tea Tree oil is also a natural disinfectant which is great for cleaning mould or mildew.
3) Redecorate with special fungicidal paint, do not repaint with normal paint.
4) Have soft items such as clothes and toys dry cleaned and shampoo the carpets.
Dealing with condensation is not easy. Only carrying out one or two of the above steps may not solve your problem. You need to do as many as possible every day, so that it becomes part of your habits and lifestyle.
What Mould Needs To Grow…
Common Household Moisture Producing Activities
Our everyday activities add extra moisture to the air inside our homes.
Even our breathing adds some moisture. One person asleep adds half a pint of water to the air overnight and an active person adds twice that rate during the day.
WARMTH VS VENTILATION
Striking the right balance between warmth and ventilation is important and can be very effective.
By opening windows or ventilating your home it may appear that you are losing some heat, but what you are actually doing is allowing warm moisture-laden air to escape and permitting cool dry air to enter your home. Dry cool air is actually cheaper to heat than warm moist air!
Many people who have double-glazing installed experience problems with condensation and mould growth that they never had with their old draughty window frames. This is because all the natural draughts around the poorly fitted windows have been sealed. However, by using trickle vents or opening windows slightly, then the necessary ventilation can be achieved.
Whether you are a tenant, homeowner or landlord, download a PDF version of this guide and eradicate damp and mould in your home!