Condensation in your home

Handy hints - condensation

What is condensation?

Condensation is caused when warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces such as walls, windows, cold corners and ceilings. If the warm air cannot escape through an open window or air vent, it moves around until if finds a cold surface where it cools and forms condensation.

Typical causes

  • Lack of heat
  • Lack of insulation
  • Poor ventilation
  • Excess moisture production

Reduce the risk

Produce less moisture

  • Dry laundry outside if possible or dry in well ventilated rooms
  • Vent tumble dryers outside
  • Do not use bottled gas or paraffin heaters - they produce a lot of moisture
  • Cover pans when cooking

Ventilate your home

  • Open windows in your kitchen and bathroom when cooking or washing and use extractor fans
  • Close kitchen and bathroom doors to prevent steam entering other rooms
  • Air cupboards and wardrobes and do not over pack them
  • Open your trickle vents
  • Air rooms by opening windows a little
  • Leave some space for air to circulate around furniture backs and walls

Heat your home

  • Keep your home warm to avoid cold surfaces
  • Try to maintain an even heat in all your rooms
  • Set your thermostat between 18° to 21° and set the timer to suit your household
  • Adjust thermostatic radiator valves
  • Close curtains at dusk to keep the heat in
  • Good insulation will reduce the amount of heat escaping from your home
  • Check that you are on an energy efficient tariff. You may save money if you shop around. 

Treat mould

  • Clean the affected area with a suitable fungicidal wash (available from most DIY stores). Maintain use if the mould reappears
  • If you decorate, use a fungicidal paint and do not later cover it with normal paint or wallpaper
  • If wallpapering, use a paste containing a fungicide to prevent further mould growth

Dampness in your home

Dampness occurs when water enters your home due to a fault in the property and a specialist may need to attend.

Penetrating damp

Penetrating dampness may occur due to faults such as a leaking roof, leaking downwater pipes, guttering or plumbing issues.

Rising damp

If dampness is just occurring at the bottom of a wall, it is likely to be rising damp. This is where ground water moves up through the house due to damage to a protective barrier known as a damp-proof course.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between dampness and condensation. Some telltale
signs can help


What are the tell-tale signs?

  • Water droplets or water film on non-absorbent surfaces. Black mould growth 'spots' or rotting material occurs.

Where will I find it?

  • Inside your home on non-absorbent surfaces such as windows, walls, timber or tiles. Also, in cupboards or behind large items of furniture placed against outside walls.

When is it worst?

  • Usually in damp weather.


What are the tell-tale signs?

  • Stain marks, paper peeling away, paint bubbling, plaster crumbling or white tide marks on walls. Also a damp musty smell if the problem is inside.

Where will I find it?

  • Inside or outside your home on brickwork, walls, floors, ceilings, or around skirtings or ground floors.

When is it worst?

  • Usually in wet weather.

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