Black mould is very unsightly and also very unhealthy. In many cases the growth of black mould is due to condensation. The removal and cure of this problem is relatively less costly and simpler than other forms of dampness.
Condensation is like penetrating damp a condition that affects millions of homes throughout the UK and is particularly common in dwellings which are poorly heated and insulated i.e. have more cold surfaces and usually gets worse in winter. This problem can lead to staining and mould growth damaging wallpaper, wall surfaces, window frames, furniture and clothing. The tiny spores produced by this mould and other factors due to the moist conditions can also increase the risk of illness such as asthma and bronchitis. Children, the elderly and those with existing health problems are most likely to suffer from the effects of black mould. Most problems can be solved within a few weeks once treated correctly. They won’t reappear as long as the advice given is followed. Don’t forget…
No matter how clean you keep your house black mould growth is NOT down to hygiene but due to condensation.
What is condensation?
The amount of water vapour that air can contain is limited and when this limit is reached the air is said to be saturated. The saturation point varies with temperature – the higher the temperature of the air, the greater the weight of water vapour it can contain. Condensation frequently occurs when air carrying vapour comes into contact with a cool surface. At this reduced temperature less water can be held and it is then deposited. This is the reason your bathroom mirror steams up after a shower or a window when you breathe on it. Your average house can produce around 15 litres of water vapour a day. Many things create this water vapour; from hot baths and showers to boiling the kettle to cooking and breathing. So imagine all that water vapour being made throughout the day, it needs to go somewhere right?
Well unless decent ventilation and living practices are also present then some of that water vapour will condense mostly in the cooler parts of the house like external walls and windows leaving them misted and streaming while in the worst cases wall damp to the touch and growth of black mould.
The following areas are particularly prone to condensation:
- Cold surfaces such as mirrors, single glazed windows and metal window frames.
- Kitchens and bathrooms.
- Walls of unheated rooms.
- Cold corners of rooms.
- Wardrobes/cupboards and behind furniture against an outside wall.
Unlike other forms of dampness Condensation problems are actually one thing that we ourselves have the full ability to reduce or solve simply through adjusting behaviour in the home. Here are some great tips to keep those levels low:
- After a bath or shower, to ventilate the room to the outside, not to the rest of the house – just opening a window (and closing the door to that room) will help.
- Drying clothes outside when possible (not often in this country) or in a cool area of the dwelling (this may take longer but will reduce the amount of moisture being held in the air. If this isn’t possible try to ventilate the room in which they are being dried to prevent the build up of the moisture in the air.
- Increase the change of air in the premises – increase ventilation. Make sure your kitchen and bathrooms have suitable ventilation/extractor fans as these produce the most moisture. Extractor fans are available with an air-moisture switch so that they operate automatically while the moisture in the air is above a set amount. Even just opening a window while showering or cooking will help considerably but keep those doors closed or draughts will form and you could make the house to cold.
- Dehumidifier – domestic types are now available and when used properly can actively reduce the amounts of water in the air.
- Adjust your heating – condensation is more likely to occur in homes which are under heated. Keep temperatures in all rooms above 15°C as this will help reduce condensation forming. In winter months it is much better to keep your heating on constantly at a low temperature. Not only does this usually save you money it is much better than just putting it on full blast for a few hours to quickly warm the house and turning off again!
- Keep lids on saucepans while cooking.
- Tumble driers should be vented to the outside.
- Avoid the use of bottled gas and paraffin heaters as these produce high levels of water vapour.
Lastly one of the most effective ways to reduce condensation is through the installation of
Insulation: Following the above tips should significantly reduce any condensation dampness problems you may have. If a problem still exists, insulating your home will have a threefold value in tackling the problem through:
- Warming the surface temperature of walls, ceilings and windows.
- Generally increase the temperature of the home.
- Reducing heating costs thus allowing the home to be heated to a higher standard more affordable.
If you feel you need some advice/help then just give Preserve & Protect and we will be happy to help.