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Condensation is caused when excess warm moisture in the air (steam or water vapour) meets a cold surface and turns into water. This can cause patches of mould to form. Everyday activities cause condensation, such as cooking, showering/bathing and drying clothes indoors. You can take some simple steps to reduce condensation, helping to prevent damp and mould.

Preventing condensation and mould

  • Open windows when cooking, showering, bathing and washing clothes and keep them open for at least 15 minutes afterward, keeping the door to the room shut.
  • Ventilate your home and dry your clothes outdoors when possible. If not possible, dry your clothes next to an open window.
  • Heat your home at a constant temperature – around 21°c for living areas and 18°C for bedrooms.
  • Keep your heating on for longer at a lower temperature rather than having shorter bursts of a high heat.

For more detailed help to how to tackle condensation in your home check out the advice below.

  • Reduce moisture being produced in your home
    • Dry washing outside or in a bathroom with the door closed and the window slightly open
    • Make sure non-condensing tumble driers are venting to the outside
    • Cook with pans lids on, turn heat down to simmer and use as little water as possible
    • Run the cold water into your bath first, it reduces the steam by 90%!
    • Wipe down windows and sills daily to remove moisture.
  • Ventilate your home
    • Use your extractor fan or open a window when cooking or washing up
    • Open windows on all levels on opposite sides of your home for 30 minutes each morning, keeping internal doors open so dry air can circulate. Don't forget to close the windows if you go out!
    • Close kitchen and bathroom doors when in use to stop moisture escaping
    • Keep a small gap between large items of furniture and the walls. If possible keep external walls clear
    • Don't overfill wardrobes and cupboards, and remove 'false' wardrobe backs or drill air holes though them. 
    • Raise furniture on blocks so air can circulate.

     

  • Warm up cold surfaces

    Condensation forms more easily on cold walls and ceilings. You can make these surfaces warmer by improving insulation and draught-proofing - which will also cut your bills! However...

    • Don't draught-proof rooms that are affected by condensation or where there is a heater or cooker that burns gas or solid fuel
    • Don't block permanent ventilation or air-bricks installed for heating or heating appliances
    • Don't draught-proof kitchen or bathroom windows.
  • Warm up your home

    Warm air keeps hold of the moisture better than cold air.

    • Keep your heating on low throughout in cold weather. Don't heat one room high while others are cold.
    • Keep the doors of unheated rooms open to allow some warmth in.
    • Don't over-ventilate when it's cold - that just makes the temperature drop, making condensation more likely - and increases your heating bills!
  • Removing mould

    Deal with your mould before tackling the condensation that caused it.

    • Wipe down walls and window frames with fungicidal wash approved by the Health & Safety executive (widely available).
    • Don't use a brush or vacuum cleaner to remove mould.
    • Redecorate using fungicidal paint and fungicidal resistant wallpaper paste.
  • Other causes of damp

    Penetrating damp can be caused by water entering your home from the outside, for example from a leaking pipe.

    If you see a white, salt-like substance on the surface of your walls up to a metre above ground level you may have a rising damp problem.

    These damp problems are likely to be due to a structural issue within your home, so if it is becoming a problem for you, please contact us.

There is no quick fix for condensation and mould. Before reporting either of these please make sure you have read the above advice. You should follow the advice for several weeks before contacting us. If there is no improvement please contact us. You can report a repair by logging into My West Kent or emailing repairs@wkha.org.uk