the major complaints from a tenant is to contact the Landlord
or agent and say they have a damp problem. Quite often they
have not opened windows or turned extractors on whilst washing
or cooking, they live in a property without a chimney, that
has double glazing and now fresh air is getting in. They dry
their clothes over a heater in the living room or bedroom
and before long there is water running down the glass on the
windows, black mould occurring on walls, corners of ceiling
and in built in cupboards.
do occur because of problems with a building, however many
people just do not make sure the property is properly ventilated.
following notes provide more information about condensation
to shrinkage, condensation is the most common problem in houses.
Condensation occurs when warm moist air meets a cold surface.
The water in the air then either settles as water droplets
on the surface (as it does on windows for example), or, if
the surface is absorbent, it soaks into the surface. In the
latter case condensation is often not noticed unless or until
tends to appear on surfaces where condensation takes place
regularly. Because the external walls of a room are usually
the coldest they tend to be most affected by condensation
(and as a result of mould) particularly at the corners of
the room. Mould is often found in cupboards, and behind furniture
which is pushed close up against a cold wall, this is because
there is poor ventilation in cupboards and behind furniture
so that any condensation there gets little chance to dry off.
moisture can come from cooking, bathing, washing and drying
clothes as well as from paraffin heaters and flue-less gas
heaters - even breathing produces condensation. However
there are ways of controlling condensation. One way is to
reduce the amount of moisture in the air (the "humidity"),
or another is to increase the warmth of the surface of the
walls or other areas affected. Reducing condensation is the
best way of controlling mould but it is possible to use fungicidal
washes and paints also.
TO CONTROL CONDENSATION
that your rooms are always warm and properly ventilated. Too
much ventilation in rooms can carry away too much heat and
this can cause wall surfaces to get so cold it will actually
encourage condensation rather than reduce it.
cooking, keep kitchen door shut and window open.
bathing, washing or drying clothes, keep the room door shut
and the window open. Tumble driers produce a great deal of
moist air and this should, ideally, be ducted directly to
the outside of the house. If condensation is very bad in the
house you should consider drying your clothes at a launderette
if you can't dry them outside the house.
you use a paraffin heater or flue-less gas heater, be sure
the window is open a little. Remember that every gallon of
paraffin burnt produces 10 pints of water*
One gallon of paraffin when burned produces water vapour which
turns into water as soon as it touches cold walls and windows.
The amount of water is often rather more than the original
amount of paraffin, because of existing moisture in the air.)
cold weather, keep some heating on all the time, i.e. for
24 hours a day. The warmer a house the less condensation will
occur - providing that the level of humidity is controlled
WARMTH: HEATING AND VENTILATION
house can be made warmer inside by increasing the level of
heating or by increasing the insulation. It must be remembered,
however, that if there is not heating at all in the house
then improving the ventilation won't make it any warmer.
insulation is the most cost-effective way of improving the
insulation of a house and a grant may be available from the
council towards providing it in certain circumstances and
if you are on supplementary benefit, family credit or housing
benefit and if the house has less than 3mm of loft insulation.
are other, more expensive, ways of improving the insulation
of a house but loft insulation is the one to start with. The
other ways include; cavity wall insulation, double glazing,
internal dry lining of walls and external insulated rendering.
A relatively cheap way of providing a little extra insulation
to a wall is to put expanded polystyrene behind the wallpaper
(you can buy this in rolls).
MEASURES AGAINST MOULD
- The most important action to take against mould is to try
and reduce the condensation in the ways described earlier.
In particular if you have mould behind furniture or in cupboards
then move them away from the cold outside walls if possible
and put ventilation holes in the top and bottom of cupboards
- Cleaning away mould is best done using an anti-mould solution
or wash and there are a number of different brands now on
the market. A little while after using them the surface should
be scrubbed clean with a stiff brush. These washes kill the
mould and it's spores and does provide some short term protection
against the re-appearance of mould.
with mould inhibitors: - Longer term protection against the
re-appearance of mould can be gained by redecorating the area
affected with a mould inhibiting paint. A number of firms
companies produce machines called "dehumidifiers". These machines
remove water from the air and produce heat too. They cost
about £1 - £2 per week to run. They work best in well heated
rooms where the humidity is high. In poorly heated rooms they
have little effect. The machine has to have a large capacity
(an extraction rate of 2-4 litres per day is needed). Some
models are ineffective. In short these machines may be very
helpful in some cases, but are not a sure fire cure for condensation.
Suter is a Director of JML Property Services
a UK based company offering Insurance products on line and
a holiday home advertising service and management training
with in the uk. He is a very experienced property consultant
with over 30 years work in the Residential letting business
and served in the national council of ARLA. He is a Fellow
of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and a
Member of The association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)More
information at jmlproperty.co.uk/condensation.htm
to present a Property for letting
Property owners information
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IN RENTAL PROPERTIES. From
April 2007 under the 2004 Housing Act Landlords will no longer
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them registered with a specific scheme. See
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