In the colder months condensation can become a problem in many homes.
It is caused when warm, moist air hits a cold surface such as a window or external wall and condenses, creating water droplets. If left this can develop into mould.
In a week, a family of four can add 40 litres of water to the air just by breathing. Showering, cooking, bathing, and washing can add another 20 litres and drying clothes indoors adds another 15. That’s equivalent to a bath full of water!
Condensation is most likely to be a problem in homes that are underheated. Try to keep temperatures in all rooms to above 15oC.
Use extractor fans and keep air vents clear of furniture and large items.
To kill and remove mould wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash, it will not go on it’s own.
Dry washing outside whenever possible. Don’t dry clothes on radiators - this will make your boiler work harder to heat your house and cost almost as much as using a tumble dryer, whilst creating a lot of condensation.
If you must dry clothing indoors and don’t have a tumble dryer, place clothes on a drying rack in a sunny room where a window can be opened slightly and keep the door closed.
Open windows whilst bathing or showering and leave them open for about 20 minutes afterwards. Use an extractor fan. Take shorter and cooler showers. When running a bath put the cold water in first; this results in significantly less condensation. Wipe down windows/mirrors/tiles/shower doors with a squeegee and mop up the moisture with a cloth and wring out in the sink. Don’t leave wet towels lying around.
Close internal doors whilst cooking and open a window. Use an extractor fan. Put lids on pans (this also reduces boiling times and helps save money). Only boil as much water as you need in a kettle to reduce steam and save money.
Use mould-resistant paint on areas prone to mould such as ceilings above windows. Don’t put furniture, including beds, against any outside walls and try to leave a gap between the wall and furniture to allow airflow.
The best way to deal with mould is to remove it from walls using a special fungicidal wash. Special paints are also available that will delay the return of the mould, but unless you take steps to reduce condensation it will eventually grow back.
The major difference between condensation and other forms of dampness is that you can reduce or solve the problem just through changing behaviour in the homes.