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Housing repairs - damp and mould

This page contains some information on damp and mould which can sometimes be a problem in some of our Council properties. The information below will advise you on some things to consider which may help to resolve this problem.

Damp can cause mould on walls and furniture and make timber window frames rot. Damp housing encourages the growth of mould and mites and can increase the risk of respiratory illness. Some damp is caused by condensation.

What is condensation?

There is always some moisture in the air, even if you cannot see it. If the air gets colder, it cannot hold all the moisture and tiny drops of water appear. This is condensation. You notice it when you see your breath on a cold day, or when the mirror mists over when you have a bath. Condensation occurs mainly during cold weather whether it is raining or dry, it does not leave a 'tidemark'. It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little movement of air. You can see it in corners, on or near windows and in or behind wardrobes and cupboards.

Is IT condensation?

Condensation is not the only cause of damp. It can also come from:

  • leaking pipes,
  • rain seeping through the roof where a tile or slate is missing, spilling from a blocked gutter, penetrating around window frames, or leaking through a cracked pipe and
  • rising damp due to a defective damp-course or because there is no damp-course.

These causes of damp often leave a 'tidemark' and require weeks of drying out by heating and ventilation. Sometimes the use of a dehumidifier is helpful. If you do not think that the damp comes from these causes then it is probably condensation.

How to avoid condensation

These steps will help you to reduce the condensation in your home:

Produce less moisture

Some ordinary daily activities produce a lot of moisture very quickly. To avoid this:

  • cover pans and do not leave kettles boiling,
  • avoid using paraffin and portable flue less bottled gas heaters as these heaters put a lot of moisture into the air,
  • dry washing outdoors on a line or put it in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or a fan on and
  • vent any tumble dryers on the outside, unless it is the self-condensing type. Do-it-yourself kits are available for this.

Ventilate to remove moisture

You can ventilate your home without making draughts by:

  • keeping a small window ajar or a trickle ventilator open when someone is in the room,
  • ventilating kitchens and bathrooms when in use by opening the windows wider or using a humidistat-controlled electric fan. These come on automatically when the air becomes humid and are cheap to run,
  • closing the kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use, even if your kitchen or bathroom has an extractor fan. A door closer is advisable, as this will help prevent moisture reaching other rooms, especially bedrooms which are often colder and more likely to get condensation and
  • ventilating cupboards and wardrobes. Avoid putting too many things in them as this stops the air circulating. Where possible, position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls.

Insulate, draught proof and heat your home

Insulation and draught proofing will help to keep your home warm and will also cut fuel bills. When the whole home is warmer, condensation is less likely.

For our properties, particularly flats where there are issues of damp and condensation, our Maintenance Section will carry out a survey and have various measures to put into place to try to alleviate the problems. Please contact us if this is a particular issue to you and if it is causing you health problems by telephone on Leicester (0116) 2888961.

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