It’s freezing outside but it’s all warm and cosy in here fellas!
Have you witnessed the slow but expansive growth of mould on walls and ceilings around your home over the last couple of months? Whilst it’s unsightly and can damage finishes and furniture in your home the more worrying consequence is the potential effect on your family’s health and wellbeing.
The main culprit of the black and green furry mould on walls and ceilings at colder times of the year is condensation. A common tell-tale sign of a condensation issue in the home is water beading on the inside of your double glazing in the morning.
Condensation is a problem that we come across at many of our client’s homes during the winter months. It’s a topic which can have serious consequences if left unaddressed so we’re making this post as practical and comprehensive as possible. Sit back and read on!
Condensation occurs when moist air meets a colder surface like a window, wall, mirror etc. The air can’t hold the moisture and tiny droplets of water appear. It also occurs in places where the air is still, like the corners of rooms, behind furniture, or inside wardrobes and cabinets.
Our everyday activities add extra unavoidable moisture to the air inside our homes.
Below are some startling stats of how much water you could be adding to the air in your home every day.
- Drying clothes indoors – 9 pints
- Cooking and use of a kettle – 6 pints
- A bath or shower – 2 pints
- Washing dishes – 2 pints
How to reduce the build up of condensation and mould on walls and ceilings in your home
1) Limit moisture
Simple things make a huge difference. Keeping the lids on pans when cooking, drying clothes outdoors (especially not on radiators) and ensuring efficient external venting of your tumble dryer can all have a huge effect. If you don’t have a tumble dryer, dry the clothes in the bathroom and keep the door shut and window open.
2) Extract the internal moist air and embrace the fresh outside air
Limit moist air getting into the rest of your home. When cooking or bathing, open the window and keep the door shut. Ensure the steam and moisture laden air goes outside instead of flowing around your home.
Use extractor fans in your bathroom and kitchen when fitted. Don’t be tempted to switch the fan off prematurely! Let the fan run on for around 15 minutes or so to ensure the moisture is significantly extracted. Modern fans include timers or alternatively can incorporate a humidity sensor and switch themselves on and off automatically when require.
Wipe the windows and window sills of your home every morning to remove condensation where present.
Open bedroom windows for up to one hour after you wake.
Do not completely block chimneys and flues; fit an air vent and give them a thorough cleaning every so often as they get blocked with dust and critters.
3) Encourage air circulation
Mould on walls and ceilings tends to gather at the corners and between external walls and furniture where the air is still. Allow air to circulate to avoid mould forming. Make sure there is a decent gap between your furniture and the walls, and give wardrobes and cupboards a good occasional airing. Post-Christmas and sale season is a time to be mindful of air circulation in your storage when they may be a tad fuller than usual!
4) Insulate and draught-proof your home
Warm homes typically suffer less from condensation, so you should make sure your home is well insulated. This means insulating your loft to the recommended depth of 270mm (mineral wool products), and your cavity walls, if advisable. Your windows and external doors should be draught-proofed, and you should consider secondary glazing if your single glazed windows are draughty.
5) Heat your home a little, consistently
During cold spells, the best way to keep rooms warm and avoid condensation is to keep low background heat on all day rather than short bursts of high heat. Good heating controls on your radiators, room thermostats and a timer will help control the heating throughout your home and manage costs.
Other helpful tips
Open blinds and curtains to allow the air to circulate freely over the windows.
Where condensation on window sills is a persistent problem, remove any objects on the window sill such as books, photographs, and ornaments. These items prevent air from circulating and removing the moisture.
You can catch condensation dripping from windows with condensation traps and sponge strips. If you wipe down windows and sills in the morning this will also help. Be sure to wring out the cloth after use rather than dry it on a radiator! In extreme circumstances, you may need to invest in a dehumidifier. These can help a lot but can be expensive to purchase and larger ones can be quite costly to run.
How to treat mould
If you already have mould on walls and ceilings, then you need to clean it off thoroughly to kill the continued growth.
An effective two-stage method is to start by cleaning off the mould with a spray containing bleach (be mindful of surrounding areas and potential discolouration). This will help remove the staining that persistent mould can leave behind.
The affected area is then treated with an anti-fungal wash and allowed to dry. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear a face mask and suitable protective gloves when spraying.
Be mindful not to brush the mould as this can release the spores into the air.
Finally, for further peace of mind you could also treat the prone areas with a mould-resistant paint or hang wallpaper using a fungicidal paste.
Phew, that was a long one, sorry folks. We hope you find the information and tips of use to keep your home’s surfaces free from mould and mildew.
The Help Business are your local Professional Handyman Company operating across West Essex and East Herts. We’re on hand to help you create, enhance and cherish your beautiful home.
We’ve helped many clients rid their homes of harmful mould over the years. Please speak with us if you would like a free estimate for the treatment and redecoration of infected areas in your home. We can also happily discuss preventative measures to eliminate the recurrence in the future.
The Help Business, your Handyman Professionals.
Say Bye-Bye Diy!