13th October 2017 | 12:00am
13th October 2017 | 12:00am
Condensation in residential property can be a recurring problem, particularly where warm moist air is generated in areas like kitchens and bathrooms, which then penetrates to colder parts of the building. When air becomes cold it cannot hold on to all the extra moisture produced by everyday activities and so some of this moisture appears as small droplets of water, most noticeable on windows or where there is little movement of air. If not properly dealt with this extra 'dampness' can lead to mould growth on walls, furniture, window frames and even clothing.
Condensation and mould is a common problem, older properties tend to suffer more than newer built homes and rental properties are particularly prone. The problem is often a matter of degree; from a small patch of mould or discoloured wallpaper behind the wardrobe in the very top corner of a bedroom; to serious amounts of mould growth across walls and ceilings, inside wardrobes, on fabrics, clothing, furnishings, carpets and in basements.
Causes of mould growth from straightforward building defects are without doubt the landlord’s responsibility in a residential property, however by far the most common cause of mould growth is condensation. The true cause of condensation based mould growth is often complex and a combination of several contributing factors. It is sometimes caused by inadequacies in the building but very often the main cause of mould growth is the lifestyle of the tenant and the other occupants.
In a worst case scenario a property can experience damaged ceilings and walls, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, where the whole ceiling is blackened with large flaking patches if the tenant does not adequately control the level of condensation.
The average tenant produces condensation through cooking, washing, internal drying, etc. Condensation can lead to mould, which is a serious problem because of the health risks associated with mould spores. The mould fungi have been identified as the source of many health issues, including infections, asthma, allergies and sinusitis. Mould produces allergens, irritants and in some cases toxins that may cause reactions.
All our tenants need to be aware of the potential problems which damp, excessive condensation and mould growth can cause and take the necessary steps to minimise the risks.
We appreciate it is unlikely that rented accommodation can be completely condensation free, even in a newly built property, however by tenants keeping the property maintained and thinking about their lifestyles it should be relatively easy to control condensation to acceptable levels.
How to identify condensation
Condensation is not the only cause of damp. It can also come from:
These causes of damp often leave a 'tidemark' and you should inform us immediately so we can have the necessary repairs carried out to remove the source of damp.
If the property is damp for any of these reasons it may take weeks of heating and ventilating to dry out and hiring a dehumidifier will help.
If you do not think the damp comes from any of these cause, it is probably condensation.
How to avoid condensation
Damp can cause mould on walls and furniture and cause window frames to rot. Damp cold housing encourages the growth of mould and mites, as mites feed on moulds and can increase the risk of respiratory illness in some people. Some damp is caused by condensation.
These tips will help you to keep condensation to a minimum and reduce the risk of dampness and mould growth in the property.