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  • Luke Apps

Condensation; not just a load of hot air.



Most landlords will have had a call about condensation - and as so often the case this will be (wrongly) reported as; damp.


For the avoidance of doubt this blog will cover identifying and preventing condensation and black mould, actual, proper, real life damp will be covered separately.


When is damp not damp? When it's condensation


Let's be perfectly clear, condensation is not damp, damp is not condensation, damp can cause condensation, damp can cause mould, but condensation can't cause damp, mould won't cause damp, but condensation will cause mould.


Like I said; perfectly clear....


The most common reports of this are either black spots on a bathroom ceiling, or black marks to cold corners in properties. This is condensation - warm, moist air reaches a cold(er) surface, the moisture is released and sits on the new surface turning into the black spores you see on your ceiling, walls, backs of wardrobes, etc. The root cause is essentially a lack of ventilation.



Not wanting to grow mould together


So, how can you avoid the issue of black mould accruing in the deep, dark, cold, corners of your property....some obvious, some less so...

  • lets start with the obvious, extractor fans, in particular humidistat* versions

  • where possible dry clothing outdoors, and especially NOT on radiators

  • taking a the shower? door closed, window open, that steam you will be without

  • put lids on your pans, all that steam has to go somewhere, and, bonus, get your dinner sooner

  • wipe down condensation covered windows (but don't then put that cloth on a radiator....!)

  • heat your home - warm homes condensate less (which is why the issue is always worse in winter) leave the thermostat at 15 degrees or above for best results

  • have the luxury of unused rooms? Fit TRV's and use these to provide the required 15 degrees

  • redecorating with vinyl silk (or "mould resistant" paint) in the bathroom, though this will still require wiping down - however it does make the wall covering more impenetrable to moisture ingress.

  • use a dehumidifier to help control a bad case of condensation

*humidistat fans operate automatically when they sense a certain level of humidity in a room (which you can set) so they are not reliant on a timer, the lights being on, nor a tenant remembering to use them....they require a permanent live electrical connection - in layman's terms; if you have a timer fan now then you can definitely swap, if not we would need to visit and assess.



A house too efficient...?


Modern day property thinking is very energy efficient minded, we are constantly trying to make a property more efficient, require less heat, and be heated more cheaply.


The flip side of this is that loft insulation, double glazing, secondary glazing, and the removal of chimneys can all exacerbate your condensation issue. Period properties were designed to "breathe" - all of the above affect the amount of "natural" ventilation you will get in a property.


The complete sealing of loft space, window openings, and a houses natural vent (the chimney) can all have a knock on to the ventilation and therefore the natural escape of (moist) air. These also help avoid any "stale" air areas (the extreme example being the back of wardrobes) which again can cause condensation issues.


Hopefully this has provided an insight into the issues you may be experiencing - for some free advice (promise no hot air) or to book our friendly team in to take a look just call 020 7993 8277.


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