What actions can I take to stop condensation and damp in the property I rent?
Condensation often leads to damp which can cause serious problems in rented properties, especially during the colder winter months, if left ignored. There are however simple steps that you can take to prevent condensation and mould growing in your home. As a tenant you have a duty of care to the property and may find yourself responsible for damage caused by damp if it can be shown that you haven't taken the neccessary measures needed to stop damp forming, or if you have interfered with steps the landlord has taken to limit condensation/damp problems.
Condensation is the most common form of damp that can appear in your property; it can be the cause of peeling wallpaper, damp patches on walls and moisture on the inside of windows and windowsills. If nothing is done about excesssive condensation it can create mould growth which is potentially hazardous to health, especially if you suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions and will also likely cause damage to the property.
Many things that we do in our day to day lives, such as showering, cooking and drying clothes put water vapour into the air which can then cause condensation to accumulate in certain areas of the property. Following these tips will help you to keep condensation in your home under control:
- Keep your home well ventilated by opening the windows every day. You should also make sure that the drip vents in your windows are open if fitted as these allow additional airflow that will help combat condensation. If you have condensation on windows it is likely that it will be elsewhere in your property as well.
Your property’s airways such as airbricks and chimneys should be clear to allow airflow in and out of your home. Do not cover them, or put furniture in front of them. Air ventilation is extremely important, as you don't want moist air to be trapped in any one part of your home, as it will condense on your walls.
You should leave a small gap of about 50mm between the walls of your home and your furniture as this allows the air to circulate around the room. Where possible, try to put wardrobes and cupboards against internal walls which will be less cold than external walls. If air lingers between the furniture and the walls it will condense and could eventually form into black mould- also try not to overfill your bedroom wardrobes and kitchen cupboards. Any lack of ventilation and trapped warm air are a breeding ground for mould.
When you are cooking always turn the extractor fan on in the kitchen if you have one- this will extract any excess moisture from boiling pots and pans. If you don't have a fan then open the kitchen windows to allow extra ventilation. Fans should be left on and windows open for at least 15 minutes after you've finished cooking as there will still be moisture in the air. You should also remember to keep the lids on pots and pans whilst cooking to stop moisture escaping!
Baths and showers unsuprisingly cause a lot of excess moisture in your home- make sure bathroom windows are opened, extractor fans turned on and try to keep the bathroom door shut during and straight after your bath or shower. Once you've finished wipe down any surfaces in the bathroom that moisture may have settled on as if left this may eventually cause mould to grow.
Drying clothes indoors is one of the biggest causes of condensation in the home- just one load of washing can release up to 2 litres of water! If possible dry your clothes outside or use a tumble drier (make sure the ventilation pipe runs to the outside of your home!) If you need to dry your clothes indoors try to do so in an enclosed room with the window open which will allow the moisture to escape.
During the winter and at other cold times of the year you should try to maintain a constant temperature in your home. It is better to have a lower regular background heat throughout the whole day, rather than spikes of hot and cold temperatures when you are in and out of your home. Also try and make sure all rooms are at least partially heated by keeping bedroom and living room doors open to allow air to flow throughout.
- Fish tanks and indoor plants emit a lot of moisture- if you're experiencing problems with damp and condensation these won't help so it may be worth considering removal or at least keep tanks covered and keep plants to a minimum.
- If mould has started to grow in your property this should be dealt with immediately with a propriatory mould remover which can be purchased from a supermarket. Mould can grow very quickly so it's important to deal with it straight away.
Following these tips will help to limit the amount of condensation in your property but there may be other underlying issues with the structure of your home which are also contributing to the damp. If ignored, damp can cause serious structural problems and can spread quickly from walls onto soft furnishings, clothing and furniture causing further disrepair. You should always report such issues to your Property Manager or Landlord so they can investigate and ensure there are not other problems resulting in damp at the property.
25th February 2017
DISCLAIMER: Neither ludlowthompson nor their ‘experts’ take any responsibility for any action or loss incurred by readers of these pages. The reader acts on advice at their own risk. Answers to questions are not exhaustive. Financial advice must always be sought from a professional financial adviser
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