Is Condensation And Mould A Sore Subject In Your Tenancy?
As the colder weather draws in and washing is needed to be dried indoors, has condensation or mould become a sore point in your tenancy? Do your tenants think the property has a "damp" problem when really it's condensation? Take a look at our top tops in how to avoid condensation and mould growth.
Reduce moisture content of room air:
Good ventilation in the kitchen when cooking and drying clothes is essential. If there is an electric extractor fan, always use it when cooking or washing clothes and particularly whenever the windows show any signs of misting. Leave the fan on until the misting has cleared.
If there is no extractor fan, open the kitchen windows but keep the door closed as much as possible.
After bathing, keep the bathroom window open and shut the door for long enough to dry off the room.
In the other rooms provide some ventilation. In old houses a lot of ventilation occurs through fireplaces, flues and draughty windows. In modern flats and houses sufficient ventilation doesn’t occur unless a window or ventilator is opened for a reasonable time each day and for nearly all the time that room is in use. Too much ventilation in cold weather in uncomfortable and wastes heat. All that is needed is a very slightly open window or ventilator. Where there is a choice, open the upper part such as a top hung window. About 10mm opening will usually be sufficient.
Avoid the use of portable paraffin or flue less gas heaters as much as possible. Each litre of oil used produces the equivalent of about a litre of liquid water in the form of water vapour. If these heaters must be used make sure the rooms they are in are well ventilated.
If condensation occurs in a room, which has a gas, oil or solid fuel heating appliance with a flue, the heating installation should be checked as the condensation may have appeared because the flue has become blocked.
Do not use an unventilated airing cupboard or radiators for drying clothes.
If using a tumble dryer make sure it has an external vent or self condensing.
If washing is put to dry, for example in a bathroom or kitchen, open a window or turn on the extractor fan enough to ventilate the room. Do not leave the door open, as moist air will spread to other rooms where it may cause problems.
Provide reasonable heating:
Make sure that all rooms are at least partially heated. Condensation most often occurs in unheated rooms.
To prevent condensation, the heat has to keep room surface reasonably warm. It takes longer for a cold building structure to warm up, so it is better to have a small amount of heat for a long period of time than a lot of heat for a short time.
Houses and flats left unoccupied and unheated during the day get very cold. Whenever possible it is best to keep heating on even at low level.
In houses, the room above a heated living room benefit to some extent from heat rising through the floor. In bungalows and most flats this does not happen. Some rooms are especially cold because they have a lot of outside walls or lose heath through a roof as well as the wall. Such rooms are most likely to have condensation and some heating is therefore necessary. Even in a well insulated house and with reasonable ventilation it is likely to be necessary during cold weather to maintain all rooms at not less that 10°C in order to avoid condensation. When the living rooms are in use, their temperature should be raised to about 20°C.
What is condensation?
Condensation is formed when warm air, holding water vapour, comes into contact with a cold surface. The air near to the cold surface cools meaning less water vapour can be held. The water vapour that the cooler air is unable to hold is deposited on the adjacent cool surface. Condensation will appear where rooms are cold and inadequately heated and ventilated resulting in lots of cold surfaces. The production of too much steam from cooking, washing, showering, drying of clothes etc. will result in moisture laden warm air which rises to the highest and coldest parts of the house causing condensation.
What is mould?
Mould is a type of fungi that lives on plant and animal matter. Mould grows best in damp and poorly ventilated areas, and reproduces by making spores. Airborne mould spores are commonly found in both indoor and outdoor environments. When they land on damp spots indoors, they may begin to grow and spread. There is no particular way to eliminate all mould indoors; the way to control indoor mould growth is to control the source of moisture.
Controlling mould growth
Generally, if you can see or smell mould, you need to clean and remove the mould immediately because mould can damage what it grows on. The longer it grows the more damage it can cause. Mould only grows when there is sufficient moisture. When mould appears the first task is to try to establish where the moisture is coming from. Parts of the house that get wet or have poor ventilation are prone to mould growth, such as:· Kitchen, bathrooms and laundries because of condensation or high humidity· Cupboards and corners because of restricted ventilation· Walls or windows that are exposed to hot indoor air and cold outdoor air
Avoid conditions encouraging mould growth, by using heat, insulation and ventilation. As soon as you see the first signs of mould the spores need to be cleaned off either with a mild bleach solution or a mould and mildew remover spray.
Upon each property visit during the winter months (October - March/April depends when the weather starts to warm up) we leave a condensation and mould fact sheet at each property. Always, always do one property visit during the winter months to make sure the property is ok and being heated and ventilated sufficiently.
If you have any property related questions please do get in touch - I’d love to help you. Please feel free to contact me.