Damp can cause mould on walls and furniture and make timber window frames rot. Damp housing encourages the growth of mould and mites, and can increase the risk of respiratory illness.

First steps against mould

You should first treat any mould you may already have in your home. If you deal with the basic problem of condensation, the mould should not reappear.

To kill and remove mould:

  • wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash.
  • dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Disturbing mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning can increase the risk of respiratory problems
  • After treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. These can be purchased from any local DIY store. This paint is not effective if overlaid with ordinary paints or wallpaper.

What is Condensation?

There is always moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it. If the air gets colder, it cannot hold all the moisture and tiny drops of water appear. This is condensation.

Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather, whether it is raining or dry. It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. It may be found in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and in cupboards. It often forms on north facing walls.

Condensation is not the only cause of damp. It can also come from:

Leaking pipes, wastes or overflows

Rain seeping through the roof where a tile or slate is missing, rain spilling from a blocked gutter, leaking in around window frames or through a cracked pipe.

Rising damp due to a defective damp course or because there is no damp course

These usually result in a 'tidemark'.

If the damp has been caused by something other than the above, then it is probably condensation.

Reporting Damp

If you have taken steps to eliminate damp in your home and you still have a problem, you can contact the Customer Service Centre on 0800 085 65 75.

How to avoid Condensation

The following steps can help reduce the condensation in you home:

Produce less moisture

Normal daily activities can produce a lot of moisture very quickly, to reduce the problem you can:

  • Cover pans and not leave kettles boiling
  • Avoid using paraffin and portable flueless bottled gas heaters as these heaters put a lot of moisture in the air
  • Dry washing outside on a line or put it in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or a fan on.
  • vent any tumble driers outside.
Ventilate to remove moisture

Your home can be ventilated without making draughts. You can do this by:

  • Keeping a small window ajar or a trickle vent open when someone is in the room
  • Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when they are being used by opening the windows wider.
  • Using your extractor fan when cooking
  • Close kitchen and bathroom doors when the rooms are in use, even if these rooms have an extractor fan. This will help prevent moisture from reaching other rooms, especially bedrooms that are often colder and more likely to get condensation
  • Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes. Avoid putting too many things in them, as this stops the air circulating. Cut a ventilation slot in the back of each shelf or use slatted shelves. Cut breather holes in doors and leave space between the back of the wardrobes and furniture against internal walls
Insulate, draught proof and heat the property

Insulation and draught proofing will help keep the property warm and will also cut fuel bills. If the property is warmer, then condensation is less likely to occur.

Do not block openings under the eaves and ensure the roof is insulated. Insulation in the roofs of properties is carried out by Hounslow Homes. This has been done on a rolling programme and most properties have been completed. Should the insulation have been damaged e.g. by a leak in the loft we can replace the damaged insulation if neccessary.

In cold weather, keep a low background heating on all day, even when there is no-one at home.

Important :

  • Do not block permanent vents
  • Do not completely block chimneys. Instead, leave a hole about 2 bricks in size and fit a vent grill over it.
  • Do not draught proof a room where there is condensation or mould (i.e. do not draught proof on top of an area which already has mould/condensation)
  • Do not draught proof a room where there is a cooker or a fuel-burning heater, e.g. a gas fire
  • Do not draught proof windows in the bathroom and kitchen

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