Damp, condensation and mould

Tips for avoiding condensation

Why does reducing condensation matter?

In some cases, damp and mould is caused by condensation. Damp and mould that is caused by condensation generally happens when a property can't deal with normal levels of water vapour because of a lack of insulation, ventilation or heating, or a combination of all of these things. Your landlord (whether it is a private landlord, the Council or a housing association) should ensure that everything is working to ensure moisture can escape, and reduce the risk of water vapour condensing against walls and windows, leading to damp.

In some cases, there are things you can do to minimise the water vapour that is in the air, which can help with condensation-related damp and mould. This can be especially effective if your house has lots of people living there, as more people means more water vapour is generated.

Making sure everything is working in your property

Your home should have an extractor fan in the kitchen and bathroom to help steam escape. Make sure these are turned on and working. If they aren’t working, or your property does not have them, report this to your landlord.

If airbricks are installed in your property, make sure these are high up on the walls, and that they are not covered up or filled in.

Tips to reduce condensation

General tips

  • Use your windows to ventilate your home and allow water vapour to escape. If your windows have trickle vents at the top, keep these open at all times. If there are no trickle vents, you can use passive vapour vents if there are no trickle vents, or alternatively open small windows/top lights a small amount.
  • Where possible, keep your heating on low all day long, especially in colder times of year. Keeping your home at 18 degrees Celsius or higher will help to prevent walls getting cold and water vapour condensing on them.
  • Don’t dry laundry on radiators.  Dry washing outdoors if possible, or put it in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or extractor fan on.
  • Don’t use bottled gas heaters (Calor Gas etc.) as they produce around 8 pints of moisture from an average-sized gas bottle
  • Allow space for air to circulate around your furniture. You can place furniture on blocks to allow air to circulate beneath.
  • Open doors to ventilate cupboards and wardrobes.
  • Dehumidifiers can help to reduce the amount of moisture in the air, and running one while you dry your clothes can also help them dry more quickly. However it is important to note that dehumidifiers will not solve the cause or causes of condensation or damp.
  • Consider draught-proofing windows and doors in your home. However it is important not to draught-proof kitchen or bathroom windows, rooms where there is a fuel-burning heater (like a gas fire), block unused chimney breasts, or block up air-bricks.

Tips for reducing condensation in your kitchen

  • Opening windows when cooking
  • Cooking with pan lids on
  • Turning the heat down once the water has boiled
  • Only using the minimum amount of water for cooking
  • Making sure that your tumble dryer is vented to the outside (DIY kits are available for this) or that the tumble dryer is of the new condensing type
  • Not using your gas cooker to heat your kitchen as it produces moisture when burning gas and you will notice the windows misting up
  • Closing the kitchen door when using this room

Tips for reducing condensation in your bathroom

  • Open the windows when having a shower or bath to let the steam escape
  • Keep the bathroom door closed when using this room, and just afterwards, to stop the moist air escaping
  • When filling the bath, running the cold water first then adding the hot – it will reduce the steam by up to 90%

Tips for reducing condensation in your bedroom

  • Leave space between the backs of wardrobes and the wall – this lets air circulate
  • Where possible, position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls (i.e. walls which have a room on both sides rather than external walls) as these tend to be less cold and have a lower risk of damp
  • Allow air to circulate round clothes by removing ‘false’ wardrobe backs or drilling breather holes in them
  • Where possible, do not over-fill wardrobes and cupboards as it restricts air circulation