Causes and treatment
Condensation occurs whether it is raining or dry outside. Condensation and mould growth is a sign that the air in your home is too wet.
The air around us contains moisture. Normal life in the home creates moisture. In fact, four people living in a 3 bedroom property can create 112 pints of moisture a week from just breathing, cooking, showering or bathing, and boiling the kettle.
Warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air. So when air is cooled rapidly the moisture it contains can turn into water droplets known as condensation.
If condensation is left on a surface for long enough black mould will begin to grow. This is one reason why it’s important to reduce and manage condensation properly.
Moisture is natural
The air around us contains moisture. Normal life in the home creates moisture. In fact, four people living in a three bedroom property can create 112 pints of moisture a week from just breathing, cooking, bathing and boiling the kettle.
Warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air. So when air is cooled rapidly the moisture it contains can turn into water droplets known as condensation, for example:
- When you can see your breath on a cold day, what you see is a cloud of tiny droplets as the warm air of your breath is cooled by the air around you
- When you breathe onto a mirror, what you see is tiny droplets forming on the surface as the warm air of your breath is cooled by the mirror
In these examples condensation is easy to see, but you may not notice condensation on your walls, ceilings or window frames. If condensation is left on a surface for long enough black mould will begin to grow. This is one reason why it’s important to reduce and manage condensation properly.
Ways to reduce condensation are:
- Using the heating in your property in the correct and most effective way
- Reducing the amount of moisture in the air
- Keeping the air moving by using ventilation: this helps to keep surfaces dry (think about how washing on the line dries quicker on a breezy day!)
- Reducing the number of cooler surfaces (by smart use of heating for example)
- Not letting steamy air from one room into the rest of your home
You can’t always prevent condensation, so you may need to manage it by wiping down surfaces.
Tips to reduce condensation in your home
Tip 1: HEATING
Rather than having your heating on for an hour in the morning and evening, or for short periods when the room temperature feels cold, it is more cost effective and better for the property to run the heating for longer periods at a lower setting. Keeping the heating on for longer periods of time, setting the room thermostat to between 18 and 21ºC and controlling the temperature within the individual rooms using the radiator controls (TRV’s) will keep both the property warm and reduce the risk of condensation.
Tip 2: VENT WASHERS AND DRIERS
If you have a washing machine or tumble dryer in your home, ensure that it is vented correctly.
From just one load of washing two litres of water is released into the air.
Tip 3: DRYING CLOTHES
Where possible, dry your clothes outdoors to prevent moisture from building up in your home.
Otherwise dry them in a bathroom or kitchen with the door closed and the fan on (or windows
open) until the clothes are fully dry. Drying clothes on radiators releases a lot of moisture into the air quickly, creating a high risk of condensation.
Drying clothes outside has many benefits, as it is very energy efficient and clothes smell fresher.
Tip 4: MANAGE THOSE STEAMY ROOMS
When cooking, showering or bathing:
- keep your kitchen or bathroom door shut to prevent the moisture in the air from going into cooler rooms and forming condensation
- keep the extractor fan on or the window open (not both – the air will just come in through the window and out through the fan instead of circulating through the room!)
- keep the door shut and fan on for about 20 minutes after you have finished to properly ventilate the room.
Tip 5: KEEP THE STEAM IN THOSE PANS
When cooking, cover your pans with a lid to contain the moisture being created from water boiling.
Keeping lids on boiling pans will also save you money by cooking your food more quickly.
Tip 6: MANAGE YOUR HEATING
Don’t let the walls and surfaces in your house get too cold: setting your heating to maintain a minimum temperature of 15°C will help to prevent condensation.
Struggling to pay your energy bills
If you are struggling with your energy bills, we will always listen to your concerns with an open and fair mind and we will help where we can.
Tip 7: MANAGE YOUR WINDOWS CAREFULLY
Your windows are often the coolest part of your room so are prone to condensation. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day and wipe off excess condensation from the windows. Open the windows slightly or use trickle vents if you have them. This will allow air to circulate which will reduce condensation and help moisture to evaporate.
Opening windows and letting fresh air into your home can have benefits to your health and wellbeing. Breathing in fresh air is better for you than stale air.
Tip 8: PETS AND PLANTS
You may have pets and house plants. These produce moisture too. Make sure you cover up your aquarium or fish tanks to prevent evaporation. If you start to notice mould or condensation near your house plants, think about moving them to a better ventilated spot or outdoors.
Tip 9: LET THE AIR GET AROUND YOUR CUPBOARDS
Do not overfill your wardrobes or kitchen cupboards. Air moisture trapped in warm overfilled cupboards can lead to mould growth because the air can’t circulate freely inside. If you notice a musty smell, or your clothes have a damp feeling to them, your cupboard or wardrobe may be overfilled.
Tip 10: LET THE AIR GET TO YOUR WALLS
Make sure that your furniture is at least 50mm away from walls so that air can circulate behind.
Internal walls are a bit warmer than external walls – try placing your furniture against internal
walls to reduce the risk of condensation.
You may have ventilation built in your home
Standard kitchen and bathroom fans
These operate on a pull cord or switch and should be used whenever cooking, bathing or drying clothes.
New ‘Envirovent’ kitchen and bathroom fans
These will come on automatically when there is too much moisture in the air. They also run very slightly all the time to keep air moving. These have a pull cord which provides a boost for when you are taking a shower or cooking.
Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) units
If you have one of these it will be installed in your landing ceiling. It very gently pushes air into your home all the time to keep it ventilated. You should not notice any drafts in your home from the PIV, so if you do please let us know.
We may have installed these in areas where more ventilation is needed (often in cupboards). Please don’t block them up, just let us know if they are creating drafts.
Information you may find useful
Advice to help you in winter is an article with useful information to help you during the winter months.
Keep a good supply of fresh air in your home whenever possible.
Open windows when it isn’t too cold.
If you spot condensation wipe it away.
If you get black mould starting to grow, wipe it away with a slightly damp cloth.
If the problem persists, report it to us and we will help you.
It's not condensation, what should I do?
If you've taken the above steps and the dampness will not go away, please call our Contact Centre on 0161 393 7117.