Damp and mould - non-council tenants
When the weather turns colder, damp and mould may form around the home. It's important to know what damp and mould look like and what to do if it arises.
What is mould?
Mould is a type of fungus that grows and develops in damp or humid conditions where condensation is present. Mould is reduced by keeping your home warm, well ventilated and minimising the amount of moisture that is released into the air within your home.
What is damp?
There are four main types of damp that could affect your home:
Rising damp - This is caused by water rising from the ground into the home. Signs include crumbling plaster, a "tide mark" low down on ground floor walls and white salts on affected areas.
Penetrating damp - This is caused by a defect outside the home, such as missing pointing to the brickwork, faulty guttering, cracked rendering or missing roof tiles. Signs include damp patches on walls or ceilings which darken after rain.
Defective plumbing - Leaks from water and waste pipes, most common in bathrooms and kitchens. Signs include areas feeling damp to touch and remaining damp regardless of the weather conditions.
Condensation - This is caused by moisture in the air turning into water from activities, such as cooking, cleaning, bathing and even breathing. Condensation mainly occurs during cold weather. Signs include water droplets and black mould appearing on colder surfaces such as walls, windows, ceilings or mirrors.
How can I prevent this from happening?
The best way to protect your home from damp and mould is to use preventative measures, such as:
- On dry days open windows for ventilation
- Keep the doors to the bathroom closed when you are bathing - during and immediately after is a key time to drive the warm wet air out, ideally through a fan with an over-run
- Keep the doors to the kitchen closed when cooking and use an extractor fan where possible
- Wipe excess moisture from windows
- Limit the number of pot plants in your house
- Keep furniture away from outside walls to allow air circulation
- On cold days try to keep indoor temperatures at atleast 18°C
- Wherever possible, dry your clothes outside
- If you use a tumble dryer, ensure that it is vented outside
- If you dry your clothes on a clothes rack inside, do this in a well-ventilated room with doors closed to the rest of the house
What should I do if there is damp and/or mould in my home?
- Wipe down walls and window frames with a fungicidal wash or mould spray.
- After treatment, redecorate using a good quality anti-fungal paint to help prevent mould from recurring
Where can I get assistance?
- Apply for Grant Funding to Insulate your Home
- An important measure to help fight damp and mould in the home is by installing effective insulation. Insulation keeps the warm in without having to rely heavily on heating and radiators. Insulation is also great to tackle problematic areas of the house that are prone to damp, such as cavity walls, basements, and lofts.
- British Gas provide grants for customers and non-customers to help with energy bills, even if you get your gas and electric elsewhere, you can still apply for help.
- Double glazing will help to reduce the amount of heat that is lost from your home. Having well installed, energy efficient windows will help to keep the property's temperature high which can have a huge impact on condensation and mould growth.
- Report the problem to your Landlord, agent or Housing Association as soon as possible.
- Shelter - Damp and mould in rented homes (Video: What you can do about damp and mould in your home)
Further information and enquiries
If you still have damp, mould and condensation after following these steps, you can report the problem to us. If it turns out that the problem arises from condensation due to lifestyle and the property has adequate heating and ventilation, then we may not be able to assist you. Please direct enquiries to our Environmental Health service on 01268 533333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.