Condensation is the bane of many homes. It quickly causes unsightly mould if untreated in the short term but can cause tenant health and building structure problems if not halted in the long term.
Condensation is caused by moisture in the air that settles on a cool surface. It is a particular problem when there are several people living in a property during cold periods. But there are simple ways to avoid it.
1. Heat your property well
If water droplets form on windows, your room is too cold. To avoid this:
- Keep heating at a constant temperature of around 18 degrees centigrade, instead of heating your property at a higher temperature every once in a while.
- This is because heating a home for three or four hours a day at the coldest times of year is not enough to stop temperatures dropping.
- The NHS recommends that you should certainly not heat at below 16 degrees for elderly people and those with impaired mobility.
- Check that all of your radiators are working properly. If they aren’t, you should bleed them to remove trapped air. Simple instructions on how to do this are here.
- If water droplets form – particularly on sills or walls, wipe them off regularly.
- If you are experiencing energy poverty, you may find help here.
2. Make enough ventilation to prevent condensation
- Open windows completely for a short space of time, rather than leave ajar for longer.
- The best approach is to create a draught where possible: For example by opening two windows that are far away from each other.
- Experts say you should air every two hours in winter, leaving windows open for short periods each time:
- December, January, February: 4 to 6 minutes
- March, November: 8 to 10 minutes
- April, October: 12 to 15 minutes
- May, September: 16 to 20 minutes
- June, July, August: 25 to 30 minutes.
- Keep trickle vents open on windows where available.
- Don’t block ventilators, air bricks and chimneys.
- Don’t put too many things in your cupboards and wardrobes. This stops air circulating and can lead to mould.
- Always have (and use) extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens. If you don’t have them, keep windows open for short periods of time.
- Clean extractor fan units in kitchens and bathrooms regularly and replace filters if needed. Excess dust reduces fan efficiency
3. Other anti-condensation measures
- Air your bedroom in the morning and your bathroom after showering. Humidity collects in these spaces and moves to other parts of the house. Always open your windows fully. Opening a crack is often not enough.
- If there are no windows, leave the door to somewhere the air can move through – like a hallway – for as long as possible.
- Keep your curtains and blinds open in the day to help air circulate.
- Keep doors open around the house when you’re out to allow air to circulate.
- Don’t stack stuff up against walls or ceilings. This slows airflow and lets condensation build up.
- Clean black mould as soon as you see it with a mixture of clear white vinegar and water. This will kill the mould spores and prevent build-up.
- If you do not have a clothes dryer, make sure the room that you use to dry your clothes has a window you can open.
- If you use a condenser dryer, empty out the condenser collector regularly. Otherwise moisture will release back into the air.
For more information and advice about looking after your property, contact your nearest Property Management team here.