How to tell the difference between damp and condensation
Damp and condensation are two of the most common issues reported in the home and can cause serious damage if left untreated. If you are a tenant, it is undoubtedly important for you to understand the two problems and how to avoid them so that you can keep your home in its best condition.
Early prevention of damp is much easier than dealing with it once it has had time to spread, so it is something that everyone should be aware of. Even if your home has no signs of the issue yet.
There are three types of damp: condensation, rising damp and penetrating damp.
Condensation is the most common type and is caused by moisture in the air that turns into droplets of water in colder conditions. Because of this, it is likely that you will notice it happening more often in the winter.
Rising damp is different as it is often caused by the structure of the building. As the name suggests, the moisture in the air rises from the ground level and climbs the walls. It can only happen on the ground floor of a building and can be distinguished by the appearance of tell-tale tide marks on walls.
Penetrating damp is a result of water leaking through from the outside of a building. Common causes of it include poor guttering, leaky pipes, and issues with brickwork. You can spot it by dark damp patches on the wall that may grow over time.
What is my responsibility as a tenant?
As a tenant you are unlikely to be responsible for rising or penetrating damp in your home as the root of the problem is probably the building itself. Of course, it still very important that you report it to your landlord or property management team as it can cause serious damage to your home and your personal belongings. Although you are not responsible for the issue itself you are liable for reporting damp as soon as you notice it.
However, the story is a bit different when it comes to condensation. You can be held responsible as a tenant for the appearance of condensation in your home as it is likely caused by the way that you treat your home.
The first sign of condensation is droplets of water appearing on windows. This will happen in every home from time to time but it is vital that if you notice it often, you take steps to reduce it.
If allowed to develop, condensation can turn into black spots of mould. If this appears you should report it to your landlord or property management support. You can also wipe it with a preparatory mouldicide or a fungicidal wash that carries a Health and Safety Executive approval number. You should avoid vacuuming or sweeping it as this can increase the risk of distribution of spores and respiratory problems.
What steps should I take to stop condensation?
There are two types of action that can be taken to prevent condensation – reducing the amount of moisture that you create in your home and increasing the ventilation.
Taking steps to combine both of these actions will be the most effective way to get rid of condensation in your home.
How to reduce moisture
- Ensure that you put lids on pans when cooking.
- Dry clothes outside wherever possible, or dry them in the bathroom with the door shut and the extractor fan switched on.
- When running the bath, fill it up with cold water first then add hot water after. This can decrease the steam that is produced by 90%!
- Never dry laundry on radiators.
How to increase ventilation
- Make sure that you open windows regularly, especially in areas of the home that have the highest levels of moisture such as the kitchen and bathroom.
- Always switch on your extractor fan in the kitchen when cooking or in the bathroom when bathing or showering.
- Close the kitchen and bathroom doors when they are in use, even when the extractor fan is on. This will stop moisture from spreading to other rooms such as bedrooms which may be colder and therefore more vulnerable to condensation.
- Don’t overfill cupboards and wardrobes.
For more information contact our Property Management Team on 01474 369368.