Condensation, damp and mould

It is not always easy to work out the cause of condensation, damp and mould, unless it’s obvious, such as a leaking roof.

As your landlord, we take the problem very seriously. If your home is affected, we are here to help and to work with you to resolve the issues. Making sure your home is safe is our priority.

This page offers guidance and tips on how to best prevent the build-up of condensation, damp and mould, or you may review our guidance leaflet, link here -  ChristianActionHousing_DampMould guidance [pdf] 2MB

Please let us know about the condensation, damp and mould issue in your home as soon as it happens, by reporting a repair, link here.

What is condensation?

Condensation comes from the moisture in the air in your home, when the moisture meets a cold surface. A build-up of condensation can lead to problems with mould. The cold areas where condensation usually forms is around windows, the corners of the room, and external walls.

Top contributors to moisture in the home include:

  • heating water
  • leaks
  • cooking
  • baths and showers
  • drying laundry indoors

What is damp?

There are many forms of damp.

Rising damp is when moisture is able to travel through the damp proof course of your home (just above ground level) and may result in damp up to 1m high above the ground floor. You will not get rising damp if your home is in a flat above the ground floor.

Penetrating damp is caused when water soaks a wall and travels through into your home. This may be caused by leaks, flooding or defective guttering and seals around your bath, shower, basin and sink.

Construction damp is where damp is caused by a problem in how the property was designed, rather than a structural defect like rising or penetrating damp.

Condensation damp is the most common form of damp and generally happens when a property cannot deal with normal levels of water vapour in the air because of a lack of insulation, ventilation or heating, or a combination of all of these things. It will occur in moist places that may never fully dry out, usually where there is little air movement. Normally, this may be easily controlled by keeping surfaces dry.

Should black mould appear, however, and you can’t remove it with a mild bleach, or you notice any of the other forms of damp described, please report this as a repairs, link here.

What is mould?

Mould is caused by excess moisture. It often forms in cooler points, such as:

  • windows
  • in the corners and edges of rooms
  • behind and inside wardrobes and cupboards (especially if they are against an external wall)

Mould can even grow on clothes, handbags and shoes if they are placed in wardrobes. This happens when we store them whilst they are still damp, wet, or stored tightly and preventing air from circulating.

Mould grows and multiplies in moist areas, slowly at first, then quicker. In most cases, black mould is caused by condensation.

The chances of your home being affected by mould is reduced if you keep your home warm, well ventilated and minimise the amount of moisture that’s released into the air within your home.

Help and advice

There are a number of things you can do to reduce the chances of damp and mould appearing:

1. Minimise the amount of moisture in your home

  • Dry clothes outside where possible, or in a room (preferably the bathroom) with a window open, or extractor fan running, and doors closed. Only use a tumble dryer if it is venting outside, or has a condenser
  • Do not dry wet clothes on a radiator - they fill the room with moisture in seconds. Use a clothes horse or airer where possible, it can make a big difference
  • Keep lids on saucepans when cooking and ventilate the room and keep your extractor fan on
  • You aren't allowed to use stand-alone paraffin or bottled gas heaters - as they’re a safety risk and will also release large amounts of water vapour into your home
  • Always run the extractor fan or open a window when showering or cooking, and wipe away any excess water on floors, tiling and worktops
  • Trickle vents must remain open
  • Run cold water in the bath before adding hot, this can reduce steam by 90%.

2. Improve air movement around areas prone to mould

  • If possible, place furniture against internal walls, not outside walls. Try to leave a gap between the wall and furniture to allow ait to circulate around
  • Make sure vents are always open and the vents and air bricks are clear
  • Don't add a seal to kitchen and bathroom windows or to windows in rooms that are prone to damp
  • If possible, open windows to increase ventilation and air your home regularly
  • Do not overfill cupboard, shelves or your rooms with possessions, furniture and belongings.
  • Minimise the number of cold surfaces by heating your home to a reasonable level of warmth. It is recommended to keep living rooms heated to 21 degrees and keep bedrooms at 18 degrees.

3. Wipe down small patches of mould

  • Use an anti-fungal spray purchased from a hardware store (or supermarket) in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. This helps to limit any spread.

4. Wipe down condensation from windows and other areas each morning and open windows for a while

  • Use a cloth or window vacuum cleaner to remove moisture that has formed overnight.

How to tackle small amounts of mould yourself

If you are worried about mould, we want you to contact us. If you feel confident to tackle a small amount yourself, here are some tips.

What to do:

  • Open windows and close the door in the room you’re cleaning.
  • Wear protective gloves and a facemask.
  • Use a domestic cleaning product or mould remover from a supermarket, DIY store or high street retailer. These products are specifically designed to tackle mould. Follow instructions carefully.
  • After clearing the mould, wipe down and clean all surfaces in the room to remove spores that may have spread.

What NOT to do:

  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner on the affected area. This can cause it to spread further by transferring mould spores.
  • Do not use bleach as this can sometimes make the situation worse.