Damp and mould

Dampness and mould inside the home can cause health problems such as allergies and asthma.

What is condensation?

Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather, regardless of whether its raining . It does not cause a 'tidemark' on your wall. This is caused by rising or penetrating damp.

The key points to avoiding condensation are to ventilate and heat.

Provide adequate ventilation

You can ventilate your home without making draughts

  • keep a small window ajar or a trickle ventilator open when someone is in the room
  • ventilate kitchens and bathrooms when in use by opening the windows wider
  • close the kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use, even if your kitchen or bathroom has an extractor fan. A door closer is advisable, as this will help prevent moisture reaching other rooms, especially bedrooms, which are often colder and more likely to get condensation
  • ventilate cupboards and wardrobes
  • if you replace your window units at any time, make sure that the new frames incorporate trickle ventilators
  • dehumidifiers remove moisture in the air and can be used in rooms where there is warm moisture such as kitchens and bathrooms. They should not be used in cold damp rooms

Insulate draughtproof and heat your home

Insulation and draught-proofing will help keep your home warm and will also cut fuel bills. When the whole home is warmer, condensation is less likely.

  • insulate your loft
  • consider cavity wall insulation
  • consider secondary and double glazing of windows as a means of reducing heat loss and draughts
  • in cold weather, if possible, keep low level background heating on all day, even when no one is at home

The following grants are available to help with the cost of insulating your home:

How can I get rid of mould?

  • to kill and remove mould, wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash, which carries a Health and Safety Executive's 'approval number'
  • dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets
  • after treatment, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring
  • if you notice any condensation after the mould has been removed then wipe away immediately with a dry cloth

Is it condensation or damp?

Damp in a property can be caused by factors others than condensation.

  • leaking pipes, wastes, overflows or cracked pipes
  • water coming through the roof where a tile or slate is missing or spilling from a blocked gutter
  • rising damp due to a defective or missing damp course

These causes leave a tidemark. If you do not think the damp comes from any of these causes and there is no 'tidemark', it is probably condensation.

Persistent mould or damp that does not disappear after repeated treatments could be a sign of rising damp.

If you require any information or advice on treating mould or condensation please contact Environmental Health.