Condensation and mould are common problems in today’s modern houses. Both landlords and tenants have to take steps to control it. If left untreated there is the risk of mould spores getting into the atmosphere and an increase in house dust mites. Both can be potentially hazardous to health.
Over recent years the drive to make houses more energy efficient through reducing drafts, double glazing, cavity wall and loft insulation means normal ventilation in properties is restricted. This has resulted in increased occurrences of condensation and mould in properties. The average household will produce 112 pints of moisture per week through breathing, cooking and bathing. When clothing is dried in the home the moisture increases.
If there is condensation and mould growth in a room it is a sign that the room is not being adequately heated and ventilated. There are several ways to reduce moisture:
- Ensure clothes are not dried indoors on radiators or clothes racks.
- Clothes driers should be vented to the outside either through a wall vent or a hose through the window.
- When cooking keep lids on saucepans. Keep kitchen doors closed and windows open. If there is an extractor fan use it.
- Don’t use liquid paraffin or bottled gas room heaters. These produce 8 pints of water vapour for every gallon of fuel burned. This will turn to moisture on windows and walls.
- In bathrooms it is possible to reduce steam by running cold water into a bath first. Open windows and keep them open for about an hour after using the bathroom. If there is an extractor fan use it. Any heating in the bathroom should be turned on and the room kept at a warm temperature around 21C. Keep the bathroom door shut to ensure no steam goes into the rest of the property.
- Open windows and ventilate the property. Wipe the windows so they are free of condensation or any potential mould growth.
- Keep the whole house at a constant temperature. When at work run the heating for at least 3 hours in the morning and in the evening. If the tenant is home all day the heating should be run all day. In extremely cold weather keep the heating on all the time on a low level even when not at home.
- Have furniture against an inside wall where this is not possible leave a gap between the outside wall and the wardrobe, cupboard etc. ensuring air can flow around. If needed put vents in the wardrobe and cupboards.
- Do not put mattresses directly on the floor
- When ironing ensure a window is open
- Fit extractor fans in the kitchen and bathrooms
- Use trickle vents for windows on the ground floor level. Upstairs windows can be opened with a security locks which will allow some ventilation into the property without risk of break-in.
- Have heaters in all rooms including downstairs toilets.
Condensation and mould are a lifestyle problem and not generally a problem with the property. Proper education for tenants on reducing the risk of condensation and mould are essential. Landlords should ensure regular checks are done at their properties and take action where necessary.
Post time: 09-07-2017