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Keep your home warm and dry.

Landlord and tenants guide to condensation this winter.

CONDENSATION is caused when water vapour comes into contact with cold surfaces and condenses to form dampness or water droplets.

Air can contain varying amounts of water vapour; warm air can hold more water vapour than cold air. When warm air comes into contact with a colder surface, it cools down and can't retain the same amount of water vapour. The excess water vapour is released and forms condensation.

CONDENSATION IN THE HOME Condensation is not normally a building fault. It can occur in a new home because building materials, such as mortar and plaster, contain a lot of moisture.

Normal daily activities (such as taking showers and baths, washing and drying clothes, cooking and boiling kettles) produce warm air containing a large amount of water vapour. If the warm air can't escape, it moves around until it finds a cold surface where it cools and forms condensation.

Homes that are heated intermittently are more likely to suffer with condensation problems than homes that are heated continuously. This is because continuous heating keeps the surfaces of the room's warm which reduces the risk of condensation forming on them.

Condensation is most likely to appear on windows, colder parts of walls, around external door and window openings, and where ceilings and floors meet outer walls. It can also appear in areas where air circulation is restricted, such as inside cupboards and behind furniture that is placed against an outside wall. If condensation keeps on occurring in the same place, it can sometimes cause black mould growth.

REDUCING CONDENSATION | Put lids on saucepans while you are cooking to reduce steam.

Avoid drying laundry on a clothes airer or radiator. If you need to dry clothes indoors, open the window and close the door of the room where the clothes are drying.

While cooking, bathing or washing, use an extractor fan and/or open a window and keep the door closed. Keep the extractor fan on and/or the window open for about 20 minutes after you have finished (with the door closed).

Put free-standing wardrobes and other furniture against internal walls, leaving a gap between the wall and the furniture so that air can circulate.

Leave trickle vents (slotted vents in the window frames) open when rooms are occupied - even in winter with the heating on.

Wipe away condensation. | Keep your home warm to avoid cold surfaces.

During very cold weather leave the heating on during the day to maintain an even temperature. The temperature can be set a few degrees lower while you are out and turned up when you return.

TREATING MOULD If you notice mould growing in your home sterilise the affected area with a fungicidal wash (available from most DIY stores). Keep checking the affected area for at least a week. If the mould reappears, wash it down again with the fungicidal wash to make sure the area is thoroughly sterilised.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 12, 2012
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