Damp and mould
Damp and mould growth are often mistaken for leaks. In most cases, they are caused by condensation, which occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with a cold surface like a wall or window.
Things like cooking, washing, drying clothes indoors and boiling kettles can all cause condensation because they produce warm moist air. The problem is worse in rooms with poor heating because the surfaces in those rooms will be colder.
How to prevent condensation in your home
Reduce the amount of moisture you release into the air:
- cover pans and only boil as much water as you need
- avoid using paraffin and portable bottled gas heaters
- dry washing outdoors if possible, or in the bathroom with the window open and the door closed
- vent your dryer outside if it’s not self-condensing
Make sure the rooms in your home are properly ventilated:
- keep small windows ajar or open trickle vents when the room is being used
- open kitchen and bathroom windows when cooking, cleaning or washing to allow steam to escape. You may also want to consider buying a humidistat controlled electric fan
- close kitchen and bathroom doors when cooking, cleaning or washing to prevent steam escaping into other rooms
Keep your home suitably warm:
- use your thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to gently heat up unused rooms
- use cheap draught-proofing measures to avoid cold air getting into your home
- loft and cavity wall insulation will help prevent warm air escaping or cold air getting in
- turn your heating off or put it on low when ventilating rooms to avoid wasting energy and money
If your home is prone to condensation and you’re struggling to tackle it, you may benefit from a home energy visit.
Dealing with black mould
- remove excess mould with a damp cloth and throw it away. Avoid brushing mould as this could release spores into the air
- wipe down affected areas using a fungicidal wash. Always read the instructions on the container
- Tea Tree Oil is a natural antiseptic and disinfectant that works well in cleaning away mould and mildew. Just dilute three to four drops in two litres of water. Test a small area first for any kind of reaction. If there’s no reaction, soak items in the solution or spray the affected area. Wipe and rinse afterwards
- after the area has been treated, redecorate using fungicidal paint or wallpaper paste
- dry-clean affected clothes and shampoo carpets
Types of damp
If condensation is not the cause of unwanted moisture in your home, the problem could be damp. Black mould growth is very uncommon with damp. If you have black mould in your home, it suggestions you have a problem with condensation.
Rising damp is caused by water coming up through the ground into your home. Your home will likely have a damp proof course (DPC). A DPC is a horizontal layer of waterproof material that is put in the walls just above ground level to stop moisture from the ground rising through the walls. To cause damp, rising water needs to pass through the DPC, which it can only do if the DPC is broken or if your home doesn’t have one. Rising damp only affects basements and ground floors, and normally rises no more than 12 to 24 inches. You can often identify rising damp by a tide mark.
Penetrating damp occurs when water leaks in through a wall or roof. Common causes include rain seeping in through a broken or missing roof tile, or spilling from a blocked gutter during heavy rain.
Leaks can sometimes happen from water or waste pipes, mainly in the kitchen or bathroom. You can normally find the cause of the problem by checking the seals around baths, showers, sinks or pipework.
If you notice a leak or if a pipe in your home has burst, please tell us straight away. You should also:
- turn off your water and drain your system
- turn on all the cold taps and flush your toilet
- turn off your heating system and the system by turning on all the hot taps
- turn off the electric if the leak is close to any electrics
- collect leaking water in buckets or pans
- if your ceiling starts to bulge from a leak above, use a long implement to release the water into a large bucket
Flooding can sometimes occur during very heavy rain. If you are affected by flood water, please make sure any vulnerable people, including children, are safe. If you are in danger and are unable to leave your home, call 999.
Keep all windows and doors closed and use sandbags to protect entrances and airbricks. Do not try to use any electric or gas appliances. If possible, turn them off at the mains. If you smell gas, call Cadent on 0800 111 999.
We strongly recommend that customers take out home contents insurance to protect their belongings in the event of a fire, flood or accident. We can offer tenants and leaseholders an affordable insurance policy through Allianz.