Damp and condensation

One of the main causes of damp in a home is condensation.

Condensation forms when warm, moist air contacts cold surfaces such as windows, floors or walls. Condensation occurs mostly during periods of cold weather. It can damage:

  • floor covering
  • clothes
  • bedding
  • decorations

Over time, the damp areas attract black mould, which grows on the surface.

What is the most common cause of condensation?

  • too much moisture being produced in your home
  • not enough ventilation
  • the temperature in your home not being kept at an ambient temperature of at least 18ºC

How can you reduce condensation?

  • increase ventilation in your home
  • reduce the amount of moisture in the air
  • try to keep an even, constant temperature
  • Maintain a low level of heating in your home to assist in keeping wall temperatures warmer


Preventing condensation in your home

Some of the things you can do to reduce the build-up of condensation in your home and lessen its effects are:

  • Do not dry washing on radiators if you do you need to have windows open or ensure the room is ventilated.
  • Dry laundry outside; if that’s not possible, use the bathroom with the window open.
  • Properly vent tumble dryers.
  • Cover pans and switch off kettles as soon as they have boiled to minimise steam.
  • Close kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent moisture escaping when cooking or bathing.
  • Maintain low-level heating, such as turning radiators to a frost setting in rooms likely to be unoccupied for prolonged periods of time.
  • Do not use portable gas heaters as they produce very high levels of condensation, and the conditions of tenancy mean you are not allowed to use them.
  • Do not block or obstruct air vents.
  • Use extractor fans, where provided, when cooking and bathing.
  • Wipe condensation from windows daily.
  • Run cold water first then add the hot water when having a bath; this reduces condensation by up to 90%.
  • Ventilate rooms daily for at least 30 minutes or use your window vents for long periods.
  • Keep furniture away from direct contact with external walls to prevent dampness occurring.

How to remove mould?

Walls and surfaces

  • Wipe down or spray affected surfaces with a fungicidal wash that has a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approval number. Make sure that you follow the instructions for its safe use. Fungicidal washes are available in most supermarkets or D.I.Y. stores.
  • After treating mould, redecorate using a good quality fungicidal paint and a fungicidal wallpaper paste to help prevent mould recurring.
  • Do not cover fungicidal or anti-condensation paint with ordinary paint or wallpaper as it will stop it working.

Clothes and carpets

  • Dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets and soft furnishings. Do not try to remove mould by using a brush or vacuum as this may help mould growth spread.
  • The only lasting cure for severe mould is to cure the moisture.

 If you find damp or mould in your home then contact West Lancashire Borough Council immediately on 01695 577177.