Yes, its that time of year again and we have already had our first phone call from a tenant saying they have a “mould problem”. This is something we come across every year and we at this time every year we contact every tenant with hints and tips on how to minimise the problem. If condensation is left unchecked it can damage the plaster thereby leading to redecoration being necessary with special paints.
In most cases this problem is caused by condensation and not damp and is usually a result of not opening windows or turning extractors on whilst washing or cooking and therefore no fresh air is getting in.
Condensation is one of the most common problems in houses and flats and can usually be minimised relatively easily. Condensation occurs when warm moist air meets a cold surface. The water in the air then either settles as water droplets on the surface (as it does on windows for example), or, if the surface is absorbent, it soaks into the surface. In the latter case condensation is often not noticed unless or until mould appears. Condensation can be prevented or reduced in the property by controlling the excess moisture in the following ways:
• Close kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent steam going into other, colder, rooms.
• Open the kitchen or bathroom windows (if applicable) when cooking or washing.
• Open windows in other rooms to allow a change of air.
• Keep trickle vents open (these are small devices on new windows which can be opened without affecting the security to your property). These are worth hovering on a regular basis as well.
• Curtains and blinds should be kept open during the day as this will help to minimize the condensation in the property.
• Wipe down surfaces where moisture settles to prevent mould forming.
• Use the extractor fans if supplied in the property (do not isolate fans in bathrooms). Consider changing fans to ones that are triggered by excessive moisture in the area and do not switch off until this is bought down to an acceptable level.
· Dry clothes outside if possible.
· Do not hang wet clothes over radiators or in rooms without suitable ventilation.
• Ensure that tumble driers vent to the outside.
• Maintain a low background heat – it is advised that the property thermostat is kept at a minimum of 13 degrees during cold periods to prevent the hot and cold effect which causes condensation.
• Ensure that the insulation in the loft is at a good level. This can prevent cold spots forming where condensation will collect.
When you do decide to redecorate your property there are some really effective paints on the market now which help to control condensation and mould in areas where you know there could be a problem. We would strongly recommend you consider this.
We always remind new and existing tenants on how to prevent and deal with condensation and would recommend that you do the same. For more useful tips, follow our blog.