By Allan Fuller
Is this damp coming into your property? It may surprise you, but the answer is no!
As the weather is getting colder now is the time that condensation and resultant mould is most likely to appear.
Condensation is water that has been released from the air. Air contains water vapour in varying quantities, Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. When moist air comes in to contact with a cold surface it will from in droplets on windows, mirrors, or tiles. Minute mould spores are constantly in the air, when they contact areas of condensation they grow and that is the blackening that you will see.
The moisture in the air comes from multiple sources within our homes. Water vapour is produced in relatively large quantities normal day to day activities.
FACT: A five-person household puts about 10kg of water into the air every day (1 kg of water equates to about 1 litre).
• Breathing (asleep) 0.3 kg
• Breathing (awake) 0.85 kg
• Personal washing 1.0 kg
• Washing and drying clothes 5.5 kg
Conditions in Which Condensation Occurs
• The effect of moisture generation is made worse by keeping the moist air in the property -it is theoretically possible to avoid condensation by adequate ventilation. Usually in certain arears of a house (such as bathrooms and kitchens) the warm air contains a lot of moisture, if the air then spreads to cooler parts of the house, it will condense on any colder surface.
• Ventilation is only effective if consistent throughout the whole envelope of the property. Condensation is encouraged by poor air circulation where stagnant air pockets from (behind furniture and in cupboards)
• The first evidence is often the appearance of mould growth, as in the illustration.
It is important to let air circulate around your home. To reduce the presence of mould on clothes or other stored items, do not store shoes etc underneath cabinets, pull furniture slightly away from walls and do not overfill rooms, cupboards or shelves or display cabinets. Avoid cluttering rooms with personal possessions as too many personal items prevent air from circulating freely and will be a leading cause to condensation problems.
Modern lifestyles mean that many homes remain unoccupied and unheated throughout the greater part of the day, allowing the fabric of the building to cool down. The moisture producing activities are then concentrated into relatively short periods (morning and evening) when the structure is relatively cold while the building is still warming up.
A combination of heating and ventilation is the main form of control. A change of air is recommended in all rooms in the property, at the very least, once a day. Firstly, however, you should ensure that the amount of moisture in the air is not excessive.
OK so this explains what causes Condensation, buy you may well ask where does the mould come from? The answer is just as simple. Mould is caused by invisible spores that are in the air all of the time, when they land on a damp surface they multiply and grow. The high humidity levels associated with condensation also enables house dust mites to flourish.
How you can take the vital steps to avoid condensation and the resultant mould.
Ventilate the Property by:
• Ventilating the room to the outside when using the bath or shower – open a window and close the door.
• Trying to increase the change of air in the premises by opening windows daily no longer than 30-60 minutes at a time to avoid over ventilating the property. • Positioning furniture so that it’s a little further away from walls, so air has a free flow around the room.
• Ensuring trickle vents flaps on windows are open and the air vents are unblocked.
• Ensuring extractor fans are on and in full working condition in both kitchens and bathrooms.
• Do not dry clothes on radiators