Q: I have noticed condensation on my walls, particularly after I cook. How can I prevent this from causing mould?
A:Condensation affects one in five British homes and is formed when warm air comes into contact with a cold surface. Everyday activities such as cooking, boiling the kettle, using hot water in the shower or bath, drying clothes inside or even turning on the heating can contribute to this.
On average, a family of four produces 14 litres (24 pints) of water vapour each day, so keeping a house correctly heated and well ventilated is an important part of preventing condensation. There are six things you could do to address a condensation issue.
- Ventilate: Where possible, ventilate the house to let the build-up of water vapour escape, particularly if you are drying clothing indoors. If you have double glazing, keep the trickle vents open. When cooking or boiling a kettle in the kitchen, or using hot water in the bathroom, close the doors and put on the extractor fan to stop the moisture entering colder rooms.
- Central heating: When you turn on the central heating, heat the whole property at a low heat, rather than leaving some rooms cooler and susceptible to condensation. Yo-yo heating does not warm the fabric of the building or reduce the risk of condensation forming.
- Avoid dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers merely mask the condensation problem and do not address the real cause. They can require frequent emptying and will stop once the collector is full. Moreover, they’re noisy and can be costly to run.
- Don’t let condensation settle: If you spot condensation forming, always wipe damp surfaces down. When it is allowed to settle on a surface for more than six hours, it creates the conditions for mould to form.
- Regular maintenance: This is key to preventing continuing issues. Identify any problem areas as they occur and seek professional advice to address them immediately: call a surveyor or a condensation, damp or mould specialist. They will be able to evaluate the causes, as every situation is different.
- Positive input ventilation: PIV units are sophisticated whole-home ventilation and condensation control units. Surveyors may recommend the installation of a PIV system, which will help to ventilate the building by diluting and displacing the damp air. From installation, the unit gently ventilates the home with fresh air, which is pushed into the house and redistributed. The Drimaster-Eco range starts at £295; allow an extra£100 for installation (nuaire.co.uk).
Click here to view Sunday Times artilce 5th February 2016