Condensation, damp and mould

Damp and mould can affect any home and at Sanctuary condensation is the source of most of the reports we receive. Condensation is when excess moisture in the air settles on a cold surface, like a wall or window, causing water to appear.

We know ‘lifestyle’ factors are sometimes unavoidable. Condensation can result from a home being too small for the number of people who live there. Some residents cannot heat or ventilate their home due to fuel poverty, with many on expensive pre-paid meters. A need to dry clothes indoors is another factor that can lead to condensation, as this increases the level of moisture in the air.

For further information please see our Condensation, damp and mould (PDF 168KB) leaflet.

Practical tips to prevent condensation

If you find areas of damp and mould in your home, condensation will be the most likely cause. We know it’s not always possible but a small change in how you live at home can have a big impact on condensation, potentially solving the problem. We’d encourage you to try the steps below to reduce the amount of water vapour in your home.

  • When cooking, close your kitchen door and cover pots and pans with a lid so any steam is contained. Where possible have the window open or extractor fan on so steam can escape.
  • When showering, close your bathroom door to contain any steam and have the window open or extractor fan on so steam can escape,
  • Drain the water from your sink or bath as soon as it’s no longer needed. This denies the water time to evaporate which, in turn, moistens the air.
  • Dry your washing outside where possible, or in the bathroom with the door closed plus window open or extractor fan on so moisture can escape.
  • Open the door of any rooms in your home which aren’t being heated – warm rooms are less likely to be affected by condensation.
  • Open your windows plus any wall and window vents so any moisture can escape.
  • Keep your heating on a ‘low’ setting all day, whenever the weather’s cold – warm rooms are less likely to have condensation.
  • Remove clutter from rooms and cupboards so air can flow through your home.
  • Regularly wipe down windows, windowsills and walls to prevent condensation build-up.

What is damp?

Damp looks like a wet patch on a wall or ceiling and appears when condensation is left for a long time.

What is mould?

When damp isn’t treated, mould can appear as small black spots on walls and ceilings. Mould is known to cause coughs, respiratory problems and can also damage your home, furniture and clothing.

How to treat mould

Mould can be removed by scrubbing with a mould-specific cleaning product from your local store or supermarket. Please don’t use a vacuum cleaner, bleach or washing up liquid on mould – none of these measures will be effective.

When removing mould you should wear protective gloves and a face mask.

Once the mould’s removed, it is a good idea to redecorate using a good quality anti-mould paint.

I’ve taken steps to reduce the condensation in my home but am still having problems

Working out what’s causing damp or mould in your home isn’t always easy. Damp or mould can be due to a combination of factors and therefore need several visits and inspections.

The measures we can take to help you tackle the problem include washing down walls, repairing a leak, installing ventilation and providing dehumidifiers and/or temporary heaters.

If the issue appears to be with the structure of the building, a specialist surveyor will inspect your home to inform any adaptations we might need to make.

Sometimes damp can only be eliminated with ongoing treatment. This outcome can lead to people wrongly feeling the issue hasn’t been taken seriously. Please be assured that it’s as much in our interest as it is in yours that damp’s treated as soon as possible.

If our tips haven’t stopped the damp or mould issues in your home, please contact us using one of the options below and we’ll take steps to investigate the issue further: