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Black mould on curtain

As our minds begin to drift towards Christmas and the nice surprises that lay in store for us, one thing we will all definitely hope to avoid over the festive season is Condensation problems.

The introduction of the Homes Act (Fitness for Human Habitation) earlier this year made it clear that the responsibility for taking care of damp problems such as Rising Damp and Penetrating Damp falls upon the landlord. However, if your property begins to display evidence of damp stains did you know that the most likely culprit is in fact simple condensation?

This has proved to be a contentious issue for two reasons. Firstly because many underestimate the effects condensation can have on our homes - ranging from the relatively benign like water droplets appearing on windows to decaying window frames, damp patches appearing on walls, the germination of black mould, and in extreme cases the growth of wet rot. Secondly because tenants are generally liable to ensure that they take necessary steps to reduce the amount of condensation causing damp air they release into the property.

Today’s guide is aimed at providing some simple damp proofing steps you can take around the home to ward-off the worst effects of condensation over the winter.

 

What Causes Condensation

 

First of all it is important to recognise what causes condensation to form in the home. Any moisture we release into the home through unavoidable daily tasks like showering or cooking can remain trapped in the property if there isn’t a sufficient source of ventilation to carry it outside. The problem develops when this warm, humid air reaches a colder surface like windows, tiles or walls, and reaches the ‘dew point’ where it releases the moisture it holds as water droplets on whatever surface it has landed on.

Seeing as we are unlikely to give up showering or cooking in our homes any time soon, tackling condensation then becomes a matter of how we can reduce the amount of humid air trapped in the property at any given time.

 

Tip 1: Increase the Ventilation to the Property

 

Although unpleasant during the cold winter months, having your window open for at least a portion of the day is the most effective way to improve the air flow into the room and flush out any lingering damp air.

You should also conduct a quick check of the property to ensure that air bricks and vents haven’t become blocked or clogged in order to provide a path for fresh air to move freely into the home.

 

Tip 2: Maintain a constant temperature

 

Setting your thermostat to maintain a constant temperature in the home will help to reduce the chances of condensation settling on problematic ‘cold spots’ in the property, especially in rooms that you don’t often occupy.

 

Tip 3: Dry Clothes Outside

 

We recognise that this isn’t always practical given our climate is prone to the occasional rainstorm at the best of times never mind through winter, however drying your clothes indoors means that all the water held in the material is released into the room. Did you know that drying clothes indoors has been shown to increase the moisture level in that room by 30%?

If you have to dry clothes indoors then it is recommended that you do so in a room with the door closed and a window open to allow the moisture a path to disperse before it can settle on your surfaces.

 

Tip 4: Consider Professional condensation solutions

 

If you have tried the above measures yet find that you still cannot prevent condensation causing problems in your home then you may need to consider consulting with a damp and condensation specialist to determine if your home would benefit from installing a home ventilation unit.

Usually installed in the loft or hallway of the building, these units are designed to provide the ventilation required to remove even the most stubborn and persistent condensation problems.

Do You Need Professional Condensation Help?

 

We hope that the guidelines above will help you solve your condensation problems on your own. If, however, you feel that you require a professional damp proofing surveyor to attend the property then we would recommend that you seek out the services of an experienced firm accredited by the Property Care Association - the trade body for the industry.

 Guest blog supplied by Paul Lawless of property preservation experts Peter Cox