Damp and mould in the home
Damp can cause mould to form on walls, furniture and clothes and also make timber window frames rot. Some damp is caused by condensation. Finding out how condensation is formed and how you can keep it to a minimum, will educe the risk of dampness and mould growth.
Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather, whether it is raining or dry. It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. You can find it in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards. Condensation isn’t the only cause of damp.
Damp can also come from:
- Rain, as it can seep through the roof where a tile or slate is missing, or spill from a blocked gutter. It can penetrate around window frames if not sealed properly, or leak through a cracked pipe.
- Leaking pipes, gutters or overflows
- Rising damp due to a defective damp-course or because there is no damp-course. Any damp mark will be at a low level.
These causes of damp often leave a ‘tidemark’. If your home is damp for any of these reasons it will require works to remedy the situation. If you do not think the damp comes from any of these causes, then it is probably condensation.
To prevent Condensation
Follow these three steps to help prevent condensation in your home:
- Produce less moisture (for example do not dry clothes on radiators, do not leave kettles boiling)
- Ventilate your home (for example keep your windows slightly open, close kitchen and bathroom doors when they are in use)
- Insulate, draught proof and heat your home (for example insulate your loft, draft proof around external doors and windows)
Details to check for
- Do not block permanent ventilators e.g air bricks. Look around your property internally and external to look to see if air bricks are blocked.
- Do not completely block chimneys. Instead, leave a hole about two bricks in size and fit a louvered grille over it.
- Do not draught proof a room where there is a cooker or a fuel burning heater, for example, a gas fire.
- Do not draught proof windows in the bathroom and kitchen.
How to treat mould
To kill and remove mould, wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash, which carries a Health and Safety Executive ‘approval number’. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. Dry-clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets. Disturbing mould by brushing or vacuum cleaning can increase the risk of respiratory problems.
- If you have dealt with the basic problem of condensation, mould should not reappear.
- After treatment, try redecorating using a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. Note that this paint is not effective if overlaid with ordinary paints or wallpaper.
The only way of preventing severe mould growth is to eliminate the cause of the dampness.
Heating and insulation grants
You may be eligible for a heating and insulation grant if you are:
- on a low income and aged 60 or over;
- on a means tested benefit and aged 60 or over;
- on means tested benefit and with children aged 16 or under; or
- on means tested benefit and disabled.
Contact Coldbusters on 0800 358 6668 for more information.
If you have any questions or would like more advice contact the Residential Team:
Telephone: 020 8891 7857/7893/7894/7896
Fax: 020 8831 6404