Damp mould and condensation advice
One of the biggest challenges that residents can face in their home is dampness, which can lead to the growth of mould and other health hazards.
There are simple things you can do in your home to keep it healthy and manage damp, mould and condensation.
About damp and condensation
Damp can be caused by:
- leaking pipes
- rainwater from blocked pipes
- lack of, or no effective damp proof course
- rising dampness
It can also be caused by condensation, which is a common issue in poorly heated and insulated homes during winter.
Condensation occurs when warm air meets cold surfaces. This leads to moisture build up and causes tiny droplets of water to appear on windows and behind furniture placed against external walls.
This can lead to staining and mould growth.
The amount of condensation and mould can be increased by factors such as overcrowding and furniture, clothing, and bags being placed close to external walls.
Mould growth is a strong sign that condensation is causing a damp problem.
Depending on the type of mould and the surface that it’s growing on, mould may be black, white, yellow, or green in colour,
- damage your home, including window frames, furniture, and clothing
- have severe health consequences, including respiratory problems and asthma.
It is crucial to tackle damp and condensation in your home as soon as you notice any signs.
Reducing moisture in your home
Many daily activities can produce moisture in your home. To reduce this, you can:
- wipe off condensation from windows, window frames and sills, and walls every morning
- keep low background heating on all day in cold weather, even when there is no one home
- close the kitchen door when cooking
- put lids on pans when boiling food
- close the bathroom door when showering
- open windows after having a shower to let air into the room
- regularly clean any extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens
- dry washing outside, if possible, if not dry it in the bathroom with the door closed
- make sure you vent your tumble drier outside
- leave trickle vents open and unblocked, even in winter
- move any furniture very close to an outside wall forward by 3 to 4 inches
- ventilate wardrobes and cupboards and don’t overfill them
If you are finding it difficult to adequately heat and/or ventilate your home due to affordability, these links provide information about support that may be available to you:
- Cost of living support
- Save energy and keep warm this winter
- Find ways to save energy in your home GOV.UK
- Energy advice service GLA
Treating mould growth in your home
The only way of avoiding mould is to stop the cause of the dampness, but regular removal of mould is vital.
To remove mould, wipe down walls and window frames with a mouldicide or fungicidal wash.
You can get spray containers of mouldicide from chemists and supermarkets or get a mould kit from a specialist supplier.
Make sure you choose one which carries a Health and Safety Executive approval number.
You can also:
- dry clean mildewed clothes
- shampoo carpets
- when repainting, use a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould
- when wallpapering, use a paste that has a fungicide to prevent further mould growth
What to do if you are a tenant
If you are a tenant and have any property issues that cause dampness, you should notify the property owner at once. It’s their responsibility to fix the problem.
If you are a council tenant, the Barnet Homes’ website has more information about damp and mould and how to report property issues.
If you are a resident living in other social housing, such as a resident of a housing association, you should report any damp and mould issues directly to your landlord.
If you are renting privately, check our mould and damp advice for private tenants page. It has more information about how to report property issues.