Advice for council tenants, private tenants and home owners
Condensation happens where warm, moist air comes into contact with a cold surface. This can happen anywhere in the home.
Condensation is caused by:
- Too much moisture in the air (humidity)
- Too little heat
- Too little ventilation.
Too much condensation causes mould.
Common Areas for Condensation
Warmer, moist air is naturally drawn to the coldest part of a room.
Your windows may not be the coldest spot in the room, especially if they are double glazed. Condensation can appear on walls, floors and ceilings even if your windows are not steamed up.
Condensation is usually found:
- In cold corners of rooms.
- In wardrobes and cupboards.
- Behind furniture against an outside wall.
- On cold surfaces such as mirrors, single-glazed windows and metal-framed windows.
- In kitchens and bathrooms (where moist air is more common).
- On walls of unheated rooms.
Keeping your home heated to a low level will help reduce condensation, by minimising the cold surfaces in your home. Home insulation can also help with this, as well as reducing your fuel bills.
The average family can produce up to 20 litres of water per day, just from everyday activities.
There are things that you can do to reduce moisture in your home:
- When cooking, cover pans with lids, keep the kitchen door closed and make sure a window is open or the extractor fan is on.
- Make sure your tumble dryer is vented to the outside.
- If you have to dry clothes indoors, put them in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or fan on, or put them on a clothes dryer in another room with the room door closed and the windows open.
- When bathing, run cold water into the bath before the hot water to minimise steam production.
It is important to allow plenty of fresh air into your home to avoid the indoor air becoming stale and humid, leading to unhealthy conditions.
To maximise ventilation in your home:
- Always keep a small window ajar or a vent open when someone is in the room - it is best to keep vents open all the time.
- After a bath or shower, open the bathroom window for a while until the steam has cleared or use the extractor fan.
- When cooking, close the kitchen door and open a window or use the extractor fan.
- Do not switch off or tamper with any ventilation equipment provided in your home.
If you already have a small amount of mould in your home, you will have to use a fungicidal cleaner.
You can also manage or avoid mould by:
- Wiping down the inside of windows if they become wet with condensation.
- Not placing beds, wardrobes or other large furniture against outside walls.
- Not overfilling wardrobes and cupboards, as this stops the air circulating.
- Redecorating bathrooms and kitchens using a specialised paint.
- Not using ordinary paint or wallpaper on walls or ceilings that have been decorated using fungicidal paint.
- Reporting to us any repairs to extractor fans and heating systems.
If you would like to save money but also stay warm and maintain a healthy, condensation and mould free home during the colder months, here are some tips:
- Turn thermostats down to 5°C if you go away in the winter – this keeps the home aired and can prevent pipes bursting in cold weather
- Turn down radiators in rooms you don’t use often – but ensure rooms are heated to at least 16°C (61°F)
- Keep furniture away from radiators as this restricts the heat output
- Tuck curtains behind radiators and close them at dusk to stop heat escaping. Open the curtains when the sun shines to warm up the room
- Switch off your appliances when not in use, such as TVs, microwaves, games consoles rather than leaving them on standby. Extractor fans are to be left switched on to allow background
For more advice on how to keep warm and well during colder months visit www.nhs.uk/staywell
Keeping your home safe, warm and dealing with condensation
When we carry out everyday activities, such as cooking, showering, bathing, drying clothes, washing the dishes, and even breathing we create moisture in the air.
As soon as this warm air hits a cold surface it cools down and is forced to let go of some of the moisture it carries, making the cold surface wet. This is called condensation. Without adequate heating, insulation, and ventilation it provides the ideal conditions for mould spores to flourish.
This mould can be damaging to the home and harmful to your health.
Tips to keep your home condensation and mould free
- Try to maintain a constant temperature within the home during cold weather.
- Do not dry clothes and towels on radiators. Instead, use washing lines or place wet washing in one room, open the window to let moisture escape and keep the door closed. If you use a dryer please ensure that tumble dryers are vented outside or if a condenser dryer, ensure water collected is emptied regularly.
- Open windows when you are at home and when the weather permits to increase ventilation. If windows have trickle vents, make sure they are opened regularly. Remember to never leave windows open when you go out.
- Ensure extractor fans are not isolated, blocked, or disconnected and use the extractor fan when bathrooms are in use or you’re in the kitchen cooking, to remove excess moisture.
- Keep internal doors closed to contain the moisture and always use fans when boiling water in pans, bathing, or showering. Always try to keep lids on pans of boiling water to prevent moisture from escaping. This will also ensure less energy is lost when cooking.
- Leave a small gap between the walls of your home and the furniture to allow air to circulate around and help to prevent mould growth.