How to Keep Your Home Free From Damp


Main types of damp

There are four main types of dampness that could affect your home:

  • Rising damp, Penetrating damp; Damp from faulty plumbing; and Condensation

It is importance to understand the difference between each type AND what you can do to help prevent damp

  1. Rising damp

Rising damp is caused by water rising from the ground into the home.  It will usually only affect cellars and ground floor rooms.  Rising damp will be present all year round but it is more noticeable in winter.  If left untreated, it may cause plaster to crumble and wallpaper to lift in the affected area

  1. Penetrating damp

This type of dampness only appears on the outer walls (external walls) of a property, or in the case of leaking roofs on a ceiling.  It only appears because of a fault outside the home enabling water to pass through the fault

  1. Damp from faulty plumbing

Water and waste pipes, especially in bathrooms and kitchens can leak from time to time. They can affect ceilings and both internal and external walls.  The affected area looks and feels damp to touch and stays damp whatever the weather is doing

  1. Condensation

Condensation is by far the most common cause of dampness.  It is caused by water vapour or moisture inside the home coming into contact with a colder surface such as a window or a wall.  The water drops (condensation) then soak into the wallpaper, paintwork or plaster.  In time, black mould grows on the surface of the damp areas

Condensation arises mainly in colder months, whether it is rainy or dry outside.  It is usually found in the corners of rooms, on walls that face north, and on or near windows.  It is also found in areas where there is little ventilation and air circulation

Black mould is frequently seen in this type of dampness

Mould needs pure water to grow and it will thrive where there is:

  • moisture (from condensation);
  • food (such as wallpaper or emulsion paint);
  • a suitable temperature;
  • and oxygen

By dealing with the causes of condensation, you will automatically deal with the problem of mould, in your home


Six steps to reduce condensation and the growth of mould

  1. Produce less moisture
  • Dry clothes outdoors where possible
  • If you have to, use a clothes airer in the bathroom with the door closed and an extractor fan on or a window open
  • Vent tumble dryers to the outside or use a condensing dryer
  • Cover pans when cooking
  • Do not leave the bath, sink or basin full when you have finished washing. The water will begin to evaporate and cause condensation.
  1. Remove excess moisture
  • Wipe windows and windowsills of your home every morning to remove condensation. This is especially important in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.  Just opening the window is not enough
  1. Ventilate rooms to remove moisture
  • Always open a window or use an extractor fan when using the kitchen or bathroom, and close the doors to prevent moisture in the air spreading to other parts of the home. Continue to ventilate these rooms for a short time after a bath, a shower or cooking, and keep the door closed
  • Open bedroom windows as soon as you get up and throw back the sheets or duvets to air the bed and bedding
  • Leave a space between the back of furniture and cold walls
  • Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes, and avoid overfilling them as this prevents air circulating
  • Do not block air vents, flues or chimneys
  1. Heat your home a little more
  • In cold weather keep a low background heat all day rather than short bursts of high heat. This will keep the room warm and avoid condensation
  • Heating controls on your radiators and room thermostat and timer will help you control the heating and manage the costs too
  1. Insulate and draft proof
  • This will help to keep your home warm and save money on heating bills
  • All Highstone Housing Association accommodation already has adequate loft and cavity wall insulation
  1. Deal with mould
  • Black mould can grow on walls, ceilings, silicone sealant around windows, bedding, carpet, clothes, leather goods and toys. This can be very upsetting and expensive to replace
  • How to kill and remove mould:
    • Carefully remove excess mould with a damp cloth or sponge. Throw the cloth or sponge away after using it
    • Clean the item with a fungicidal wash that carries a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approval number. You can buy fungicidal wash from supermarkets and DIY stores

Clothes affected by mould should be dry-cleaned. Use carpet shampoo on affected carpets