A tenants guide to damp and condensation
This guide is intended to give you an understanding of what damp and condensation is and tips to avoid condensation and the damage caused by it. If you think you have a problem relating to damp or condensation then please make sure you contact your letting agent (if your property is managed by us then please call 01454 316718) or landlord as soon as possible. Mould is expensive to remove and treat, and as a tenant, the landlord has a right to request that you make good their property if damaged by mould due to negligence.
What is condensation?
Simply, condensation is the moisture caused by everyday living and occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with cooler air, or a cold surface, which is at a lower temperature. It is by far the most common form of damp in our properties today. Condensation is obvious when it occurs on impermeable surfaces, most commonly windows, ceramic tiles and cold water pipes but it can form on any surface and it may not be noticed until mould growth,rotting of material, peeling of decorations or damage to clothes occurs. This is also normally coupled with a strong musty smell. “Dew Point��? is the term describing the temperature when air containing a given quantity of moisture will condense on that surface. So any surface that is below or at “Dew Point��?which can include walls with paint, plaster or wallpaper.
What causes condensation?
Condensation moisture in the air can come from a variety of sources in your property. Water vapour is produced in relatively large quantities from normal day to day activities which inevitably can lead to condensation in the property. For example, a five person household puts about 10 litres of water into the air every day. More examples include:
- Breathing (asleep) 0.3 litres
- Breathing (awake) 0.85 litres
- Cooking 3 litres
- Personal washing 1.0 litres
- Washing and drying clothes 5.5 litres
Tips to avoid condensation and damage caused by it
- Open bedroom windows when you go to bed at night, even if it’s just a crack. Modern windows sometimes come with trickle feeds – leave these open at all times. If you really don’t want to open a window, then always wipe away with a dry cloth the moisture on the windows first thing in the morning or alternatively you can buy gel or moisture crystals that will absorb the water in air. DON’T THEN PUT THE DAMP CLOTH ON THE RADIATOR TO DRY…IT’LL CREATE MORE CONDENSATION.
- In bathrooms, make sure you use an extractor fan or ventilation fan if it’s there.Yes we know the noise is very annoying, but it’s better than a mouldy bathroom.If you don’t have a fan in your property, open the window to let the steam escape whilst keeping the bathroom door closed to prevent it dispersing to the rest of the house.
- The kitchen care is pretty much like bathroom care. Use an extractor fan if you have one available and if not, open windows and keep the door shut. Make sure pots, pans and kettles do not boil for too long as it’ll reduce the amount of steam produced.
- Draughts are good! Do not block up vents, air bricks or chimneys. Allow air circulation.
- STOP! Don’t use that clothes horse/airer inside the house! Drying washing on or near radiators are one of the biggest causes of condensation in the winter months. Look into purchasing a tumble drier or visit the local laundrette.
- Keep your house warm and toasty in the winter months by providing a reasonable level of heat within the house for example the minimum temperature in a room hardly used is 10oC with 16oC in a well-used room. Try to maintain the property at a low level of heat throughout the day rather than wacking it up to Caribbean level in the morning and night-time.
- Windows, doors and tiles should be kept of clear of moisture as much as possible. Just wipe it away with a soft dry cloth.
- If you find that you are getting black speckled mould within the window and generally on the ceilings above the window and to the sides, then purchase a mould and mildew fungicide. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. You can also use a mild bleach solution. Remember, wear gloves and if needed, a mask.