Condensation & Winter Advice

Posted on Monday, 19 January, 2015

Advice on Condensation

With winter on its way we usually around this time of year start getting contacted by tenants reporting “damp” in the property, the vast majority of the time this turns out to be condensation caused by tenants or the occupier. I have therefore put together below some helpful information on how condensation forms and tips for reducing condensation in your home. However, if you do feel there is damp problem in the property caused by a property defect or that it should be investigated further then you should notify your landlord immediately or Lakin & Co where we manage the property on behalf of your landlord. Tenants should remember that they are responsible for any damage caused by condensation and should limit the build up by ventilating and heating the property adequately. With condensation being a common problem in many properties and is responsible for most types of visible mould growth on wall surfaces, often affecting external walls, windows and the corners of the ceilings and stored items in wardrobes, particularly clothes, shoes etc.


Why does condensation occur?

Condensation occurs due to the moisture produced by; cooking, cleaning and occupants etc, being unable to disperse from the property due to lack of ventilation. A typical household of four is likely to produce around 10-15 litres of water vapour each day, through breathing, washing and cooking. During the winter months occupants tend to keep windows shut and heat the property causing an increase in humidity. Whilst the air in the property is warm, moisture is retained in the atmosphere. However once the air temperature cools, the airborne moisture condenses onto the wall surfaces and can result in unsightly mould growth. We usually find bedrooms are affected the most this is due to occupants sleeping with the windows shut and often two people exhaling water vapour for long periods during the night, many occupants will then go to work in the morning, meaning the vapour never escapes. Traditionally, older properties tended to have less regard to air tightness and were difficult to heat; these drafts dilute the high humidity. Modern living habits have resulted in many properties having much smaller rooms reducing airflow and air leakage has been reduced dramatically. Additionally many properties remain empty during the daytime.


How can I prevent mould growth?

I have provided some helpful tips below to help you reduce condensation in your home;

  • – Ventilate the property by opening windows more often
  • – Heat the property for longer periods
  • – Sleep with the window slightly open
  • – Use a dehumidifier – Use sauce pan lids
  • – Do NOT Dry clothes on the radiators
  • – Clean off any mould with bleach or mould killer
  • – Ensure the bathroom extractor fan is working properly and that the isolator is always switched on

We also have available on request a leaflet “Is your home damp?” from Hillingdon council, with some further helpful advice on reducing condensation. We are hopeful the above information will be helpful to you. Boiler Advice If you haven’t already put your heating on now would be a good time to check before it gets too cold. Often when heating hasn’t been used for a number of months problems can arise, we ask you to check now and report any problems to either your landlord or ourselves if we manage the property. There is information on bleeding and balancing the radiators and also a guide to topping up the pressure in the boiler using the filling loop. Additionally there are guides on frozen pipes and how to prevent this from occurring.


Going away?

Remember if you are going away over the winter remember to advise your landlord or us if we are managing the property. Every effort should be made to ensure the property is left secure and heating is left on to come on to prevent pipes from freezing. Should you wish to discuss any of the above further please contact our property management team at Lakin & Co who will advise you further.


Chris Lakin


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