What is dampness?
Dampness can originate from:
- Leaking pipes, wastes, drainage and overflows
- Rainwater from defective roof coverings, blocked or leaking gutters and broken pipes
- Penetrating dampness around windows, through walls and due to raised ground levels
- Rising damp due to lack of, or no effective, damp proof course
‘Condensation dampness’ is a condition that affects many homes and has probably become the major cause of ‘environmental’ dampness within a property. Condensation is particularly common in homes which are poorly heated and poorly insulated and usually gets worse in the colder winter months i.e. ’the condensation season’.
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 also notice it when you see your breath on a cold day, or when the mirror mists over when you have a bath.
Condensation can often develop in kitchens and bathrooms. Moisture is released into the air through normal daily activities in these areas such as washing, cooking, drying clothes, showering and bathing. Condensation can occur commonly on windows or external walls, or cold surfaces within the fabric of the property. Look for it in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards. It often forms on north-facing walls.
How can damp and condensation problems affect my home?
These can lead to staining and mould growth, which can damage wallpaper, wall surfaces, window frames, furniture and clothing.
The development of mould growth is the most tell-tale sign that is frequently associated with condensation. The appearance of mould may be black, white, yellow or green in colour, depending on the specific type of mould and the surface that it grows on. Black spot mould for example, forms pyramid shapes in wall corners and at wall/floor or wall/ceiling margins because of condensation. Tiny spores produced by the mould and the higher numbers of dust mites due to the moist conditions can increase the risk of asthma and respiratory illnesses in some people.
Is your home damp?
If you think you may have a damp/condensation problem in your Council home, please let us know so that we can help you with this. Please get in touch by completing the short survey below.
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are concerned about damp and mould in a privately-rented home, please read our guidance on problems when renting privately at the link below.
Maintaining a reasonable balance between heating, ventilation and insulation can reduce excessive condensation. In the short-term, you should wipe off the condensed water from windows and sills every morning during the condensation season. Wring out the cloth into a sink rather than drying it out on a radiator.