Advice for tenants

If you are in rented accomodation there are many things you can do to look after the property. This section offers guidance to our tenants.

 

Guidance on keeping your home free from damp and mould

What is condensation?

Condensation in your home is caused by warm, moist air meeting a cold surface such as glass (windows and mirrors), walls, tiling etc. When the air cools, it is unable to retain the moisture and some of it condenses into small droplets of water on these cold surfaces. You can see this happening on the bathroom mirror when the room is steamed up from running a bath or a shower.

Modern features such as double glazing and loft insulation are important to keep your home warm but they can also introduce problems associated with poor air circulation. Where there is inadequate ventilation in your home, condensation and stale air may well result. With the relatively high cost of heating, nobody wants to keep their windows open when it is cold outside so the condensation problem has to be reduced as much as possible.

Recognising condensation.

Condensation is very much a seasonal problem occurring during the colder months – October to April in the UK. During the summer, the problem is seen to go away. During the winter, ventilation of your property is usually low (windows and doors closed, draught-proofing measures in place etc.). This in turn allows the build-up of water vapour in your property which, in some cases, is sufficient to cause condensation and the following signs begin to appear:-

  1. Water droplets form on cold impervious surfaces
  2. Slightly damp wallpaper (often not noticed)
  3. Development of black mould, frequently in areas of little air movement such as window reveals, floor/wall and floor/ceiling junctions, behind furniture up against cold walls and the well known triangular pattern in top and bottom corners.
  4. Where the problem is very severe, water will even collect and remain on double-glazing.

In some cases, condensation may be a long term but intermittent problem, forming only at certain times of the day or night. In these cases the only sign of condensation may be mould growth with the water perhaps evaporating during the day.

You should be aware that the problem can occur well away from the site of water vapour production. For example, water vapour produced in the kitchen may diffuse through your property into a cold bedroom where it will condense on cool walls leading to mould growth.

Steps YOU can take to minimise condensation.

1. When cooking:-

a) cover pans with lids

b) avoid leaving kettles on the boil

c) always use the cooker extractor hood fan (if fitted)

d) always use the kitchen extractor fan (if fitted)

2. When washing clothes it is always better to dry them outside. If, however, this is not possible then

a) dry them in the bathroom

b) ensure the bathroom door is closed

c) make sure bathroom extractor fan (if fitted) is ON

d) ensure the bathroom window is OPEN

If you have a tumble dryer then make sure the vent pipe is run outside (unless it is the self- condensing type). A simple DIY kit is available so the vent pipe can be adjusted to run to the outside.

3. It is important to make sure your home is properly ventilated. There will always be some moisture present in the home and there should be some form of ventilation available – usually air bricks on the outer walls and on some inner walls.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD AIR BRICKS BE COVERED OVER.

4. When using the kitchen and bathroom always keep the door closed whenever possible. This will help to contain the moist or stale air in that particular room.

5. Where furniture (such as cupboards, wardrobes, chests of drawers etc) are up against the wall, try to keep a small distance between the back of the item of furniture and the wall (particularly if the wall is generally a cold one). Some form of ventilation in cupboards, wardrobes, chest of drawers etc is a good idea to keep the air circulating.

6. If moisture droplets have formed on windows and doors they should be wiped off

7. Whilst it is a good idea to draught-proof your home, it is important to remember 

not to block airways that will prevent air circulation.

     A. DO NOT BLOCK FIXED VENTILATORS SUCH AS AIR BRICKS

B. DO NOT BLOCK CHIMNEYS COMPLETELY

C. DO NOT DRAUGHT-PROOF ROOMS WHERE PROBLEMS WITH CONDENSATION OR MOULD ALREADY EXIST

D. DO NOT DRAUGHT-PROOF THE KITCHEN OR THE BATHROOM

8. Cold air causes the problems associated with condensation.

Particularly in cold weather, you should try to keep your home warm, with some form of background heating, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This applies, in particular, to bedrooms and especially in flats and bungalows.