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Winter Condensation Tips for Tenants

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By EnviroVent Feb 19, 2020

We all know winter is a pretty miserable time, the weather is against us and after the excitement of Christmas there’s not much to look forward to other than summer. Winter also tends to exasperate existing issues, cracks and leaks worsen and we put our boilers through their paces. Winter is also the worse time for condensation which also means issues such as damp and mould plague our homes.  

Condensation is the most common form of damp and occurs because water vapour in the air deposits itself on surfaces that are at lower temperatures. Condensation problems tend to be at the worst in the winter months as we want to make our home’s as airtight as possible, we do not leave any freedom for excess moisture to escape so instead it condenses. 

Excess moisture in a property then leads to mould growth and potentially even black mould which can be damaging to the occupants health. Exposure to damp and mouldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to moulds. For these people, moulds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mould allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mould.

As a tenant it can be difficult to assess where you stand when it comes to a properties issues when facing extreme weather. Of course, if there is a leak, a broken window or a burst pipe then the landlord is responsible for resolving. However, as a tenant you are expecting to do everything in your power to help maintain a property’s condition. With regards to condensation both tenants and landlords have a responsibility. Landlords should ensure adequate ventilation is in place and tenants have everything they need to create a condensation free environment. Additionally, tenants must also ensure their lifestyle doesn’t create unnecessary, avoidable excess moisture. 

When it comes to condensation and the issues it causes, prevention is the best method so we have put together some top winter condensation prevention tips;

1) Close kitchen and bathroom doors –

when cooking or showering keep the door closed to prevent the moisture from escaping.

2) Make sure you turn the extractor fan on –

ideally turn on before showering or cooking and then leave on for at least twenty minutes afterwards.

3) Use pan/pot lids when cooking –

this will help reduce the moisture.

4) Move furniture away from walls -

make sure that your furniture is at least 50mm away from the surrounding walls so that air can circulate around the property. Try to ensure that your wardrobes are placed against internal walls in your bedroom which will be less cold than external walls and less likely to cause damp and mould problems.

5) Open the windows when you can -

If you use a room on a regular basis, such as a living room and the weather is not cold outside, open a window slightly to improve the ventilation in the room. Breathing is a major cause of condensation so this will help to improve the ventilation in your property.

6) Wipe down windowsills -

to remove sitting moisture.

7) Leave internal doors open-

to let the air circulate.

8) Use bath-mats to avoid saturating bathroom floors when getting a bath or shower.

The bath-mat should help soak up some of the moisture, helping to reduce the condensation in the room.  

9) Do not overfill your wardrobes or kitchen cupboards.

A lack of ventilation and air moisture trapped in warm overfilled cupboards can become a breeding ground for mould as the air is not able to circulate freely inside. You might notice a musty smell or clothes might have a damp feeling to them which is a sure sign that the cupboard is overfilled.

10) Monitor any potential issues -

and if you spot something report it straight away to your landlord or letting agent.

Remember if you do notice any issues with your ventilation system/s you always need to report it to your landlord, letting agent or property manager first. If there is not an official process in place you should telephone then follow-up with an email so any issues are logged in writing. If you are experiencing difficulties in getting an issue in your rented property resolved, you should contact Citizens Advice.