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A Brief Guide To Condensation And Damp

A Brief Guide To Condensation And Damp

Information for tenants

This article is designed to give you a brief guide to the occurrence of condensation in your property, outlining the reasons why it may occur and stating actions which may reduce its effects

take note

What Is Condensation?

Condensation forms because the moisture in the air can no longer be held as a vapour so it returns to liquid form. This occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with either cooler air or a cooler surface. `Dew point` describes the temperature when air containing a given quantity of moisture vapour will condense onto that surface.

While condensation is obvious when it occurs on the most common impermeable surfaces such as window glass, cold water pipes and ceramic tiles; it will also form on any surface which is at, or lower than the dew point. The presence of condensation on more absorbent surfaces (such as plaster or wallpaper) becomes obvious when disruption, damage or mould growth forms on that surface.

Mould growth is a typical sign of chronic condensation and occurs as spores which are always present in the air. These spores find water (condensate) and organic material (dirt and grease) that support their life cycle. Mould is a significant health risk to asthmatics, anyone with other respiratory conditions, the very young and elderly people. The high humidity levels associated with condensation also enables house dust mites to flourish.

How to recognise condensation

Practically, diagnosis of condensation cannot be just visual. Measurement of temperature, humidity, ventilation and condensation of insulation qualities and heating patterns need to be undertaken. However, typical signs of condensation to look out for are:

Mould growth on wall surfaces, around external openings and in areas of low air circulation or poor ventilation Misty wall surfaces Water staining and streaking on walls, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens Patches of damp with no obvious edges What action is required ?

Double glazing and improved insulation means we have warmer homes but unless a property is adequately ventilated it can become damp.

We ask all tenants to ensure that our properties are sufficiently ventilated by taking a few simple precautions stated below in order to avoid condensation and the build up of damp

General

Make sure that any ventilation bricks or openings are not obstructed.

Bedrooms

Open bedroom windows when you go to bed at night; a 10mm gap will do. If it really is too cold to do this, wipe the condensation off the windows first thing in the morning, but please do not put the cloth you used on the radiator to try as this will create more condensation.

Shower and Bathroom

Ensure full use of extractor or ventilation fans. Where these are not provided, open a window after bathing or showering to give the steam and damp air a chance to escape. Wipe windows, walls and mirrors to remove condensation (a microfiber cloth is the most efficient means of doing this) and dry the shower tray or bath. Keep the door closed while in the bathroom is in use to prevent the steam escaping to other parts of the property.

Kitchen

Cover pans and use extractor or ventilation fans where provided when cooking. These precautions will help to reduce steam and therefore moisture in the air. Keep the door closed while the kitchen is in use to prevent the steam escaping to other parts of the property.

Living Areas

Where there are chimneys, do not block them up. If a wall appears to be damp, do not put furniture right up against it; allow some circulation of air.

Windows

Keep glass as clear of condensation as you can. Wipe away any moisture that has formed using a soft cloth. Leave open any ‘trickle’ vents in double glazed units. Get into the habit of opening windows to keep the moisture content in the air down and to air the property whenever you can.

Laundry

Avoid drying clothes on radiators. Tumble dryers should be vented to the outside, unless fitted with a condenser.

Heating

Provide a reasonable level of heating (no less than 10°C in an unused area or 16°C if in use) as cold rooms are susceptible to condensation. Remember, the best way to heat a room and avoid condensation is to maintain a low level of warmth throughout the day rather than to turn the heating off while you are out put it on at a high level when you return home.

Portable Heaters

Portable gas and paraffin heaters can create a significant amount of damp and condensation within properties.

Remedies

Mildew may be removed from clothes by using a dry cleaning process.

Remove and kill mould by wiping the affected areas with a fungicide which carries a Health and Safety Executive approval number, precisely following the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively a mild bleach solution will have the desired effect but do test on a small area first.

Do not disturb mould by vacuuming or brushing as this can give rise to respiratory complaints.

Ventilation and extractor fans are not prohibitively expensive to use and used correctly can in fact save dilapidation expenses at the end of your tenancy.

We hope you have found this information useful and that it might help to resolve any issues concerning condensation and damp before they become a serious problem.

If you follow the advice given, the risk of mould and damp conditions should be kept to a minimum and the possibility of deductions from your dilapidation deposit are less likely.

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