Not every method to try and combat mould needs to be stressful and difficult. In fact, many of the best methods to reduce mould are about trying to do something before it grows too much. The more mould there is, the harder it is to remove, and this causes each solution to be more expensive than the last.
When you are running social housing or have tenants, you need to find fixes to reduce condensation that are not just ones you can do yourself because you know the best ways to sort it. They have to be options that somebody else can carry out with potentially limited resources, which means looking at the methods that can be cost-effective, easy to carry out, and accessible to help your residents.
Good ventilation and fresh air should always be encouraged, while preventing damp, mould and condensation is always the aim. For residents who have been living in your property for a long time, some options will be more effective than others to begin with if you are introducing new concepts.
1. Limit the amount of moisture
This may seem like the easiest in many ways, but this will require some behaviour changes which you cannot necessarily enforce easily. To start with, encourage residents to look at what they have in the home which is giving off excess moisture.
There are so many different appliances and household daily activities which cause condensation on windows. Think of kettles, pans of boiling water and tumble dryers in the kitchen as some of the most obvious ones. This is before factoring in showers, baths, washing dishes and drying clothes.
When there is too much moisture building up with nowhere to go, it is going to be an issue. Deciding what to do with the excess moisture is vital, but taking steps to balance out what is entering the ecosystem in the first place is also key.
When possible, especially in the summer, make sure you get your residents to dry their clothes outdoors. In the colder months of the year when drying inside is essential, make sure the extractor fan is on if windows cannot be open because the temperature is too low. If residents are cooking regularly and there is too much condensation building up, encourage them to keep pan lids on when cooking and not repeatedly boil the kettle too often if it keeps getting forgotten about.
2. Remove all the excess moisture
The next step is to consider how you can start to take the moisture out of the housing unit once it starts to build up.
An easy step to take is to help your residents to understand that if they wipe off any excess moisture as they come across it, they will end up reducing the amount of moisture within the property overall, preventing damp. When residents open up windows, that on its own may not be enough in order to let some fresh air circulate through the property; open doors between rooms and keep furniture away from walls will help fresh air circulate.
While it can be a responsibility of the owner of the property to fix things in the household that are harmful to health, such as mould, it can also be helped in earlier stages by tenants who understand why they should treat the causes of this issue straight away.
3. Ensure there is enough ventilation
There is only so much you can do in a property with small windows and an enclosed unit that naturally lends itself to a build-up of moisture. When this is the case, it is important to maximize what is available.
Should your residents be staying in a dwelling that has much better ventilation opportunities, you can at least take care of some of the remedial issues, but it may not tackle the problem sufficiently enough. Making sure windows are kept open is important so fresh air can get in and any mould spores have a chance to exit the house. It also allows for more healthy air supply to get in, which can help with the health status of your residents, which should always be a concern. Encourage your residents to leave windows on their latches, with the vents open as often as possible. That way there is at least always a trickle of fresh air.
Having fresh air circulating throughout your property is crucial in reducing mould, a permanent solution for this is an EnviroVent PIV unit. They are placed into a loft or attic space, the fresh air that stays in the loft is sucked into the PIV unit, filtering it and sending it down through a discreet diffuser within in the living space; this dilutes the dirty air with clean air and over time, the air in the property will start be become fresher.
4. Make sure it doesn't get too cold
Cold weather can make it difficult for residents in these types of conditions at the best of times, but going without heat in an effort to not waste it with open windows does not help matters. Cold air is just as much of a problem as mould at times, so reducing condensation can be solved easier by adding some warm air into the mix.
Condensation is more frequent in cold weather as hot water vapour produced by people and pets breathing, using water-based appliances and other ways can bring it against cold air, which causes water vapour droplets to form.
This means you are fighting a losing battle unless you can ensure the heating is kept on every now and then to try and keep the cold condensation away.
Another point in this regard is that it’s well-worth letting residents know that it is more practical to keep the heating constant but at a lower level, ensuring the property is heated at all times, but not to a level where condensation can occur.
5. Get a good ventilation system
When you have less time to be involved in the running of the property, a great ventilation system can be a real blessing. Instead of having to get your residents to really change some of their more persistent habits, you can override the bad effects they are having on the property through their daily activities by adding more ventilation than you currently have.
Given you can now automate the latest versions, control things with your smartphone on the move, and monitor results and keep everything in check, it is not surprising this is one of the best solutions, and also a solid long-term fix.
All the other behaviours are necessary to get good habits going, and make residents aware of the condensation they can produce, but a ventilation system can be the answer to your needs, especially if you are time-poor and managing several properties with similar problems at the same time.
EnviroVent’s PIV (Positive Input Ventilation) are able to prevent damp by supplying fresh, filtered air throughout the property, encouraging movement within the air which in turn, reduces moisture that results in condensation.
6. Treat the mould as soon as you see it
A deep clean is never necessarily anyone’s idea of a fun way to spend time, but it can mean it feels better when there is only a little bit of cleaning required. The moment you spot black mould, or your residents tell you about it, you want to tackle it as soon as you can to prevent further build-up of it all.
Black mould can be dangerous when it persists, and if you have vulnerable residents susceptible to pulmonary issues, it can escalate quickly. When this is the case, choose the right chemicals and follow the steps in the right way. This means removing any excess you can before treating it, and then use bleach or anti-mildew spray. After that, make sure you wash nearby fabrics if they are showing signs of mould to stop it spreading.
7. Fit a permanent solution
The most important thing to take away from this is that this should not just be a one-off treatment, waiting until mould and condensation break out again. To get rid of mould for good, and prevent rising damp issues from ever affecting the property, a ventilation system should always be the first choice. If you combine this to help your residents with instructions on regular good habits and cleaning efforts, you can provide the best possible solution for the health of your residents, and the long-term health of the property.
There are many small things you can do to reduce condensation and mould; however, for a permanent solution, our Positive Input Ventilation systems are ideal – they are able to eliminate condensation, reduce your energy costs and they come with a warranty.
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