As the weather and the air turn colder and the central heating is turned up, condensation can become a problem in homes and properties across the country.
Condensation occurs where warm, moist air is generated in kitchens and bathrooms for example. When this warm air touches cold surfaces, it cannot hold onto all the extra moisture that is produced so it turns into small droplets of water known as condensation. Large amounts of condensation, left untreated, can lead to mould growth on walls, furniture, windows, etc.
Condensation needs to be treated in time to avoid it turning into mould or damp. These aren’t things that landlords and agents should ignore as they may seriously harm both properties, and tenants.
Mould spores need a moist environment in which to germinate. Many mould problems are caused by poor building maintenance, bad property ventilation, water leaks through windows or roofs, condensation from showers and cooking and the hot air produced by the heating through the home, to name but a few.
Aside from damage to the property, mould spores also pose a health risk. Mould produces allergens, irritants, and in some cases, toxins that may cause harm to humans. Related health problems include infections, asthma, allergies and sinusitis. Landlords and agents that ignore tenants complaints about damp and mould could face personal injury claims and fines of up to £5,000.
At RFM Trading, we urge you to follow the right steps to avoid condensation, mould and damp in your property. Here we have highlighted some key points:
- Double glazed windows – New properties and those with recent modernisation will all have double glazed windows. Some older and less cared for properties still have their original single glazed windows. These can cause draught and insulation issues that may lead to condensation, mould or damp. Update your windows to reduce this risk, as well as keep energy prices lower.
- Consider cavity walls and loft insulation. Both options will help reduce the number of cold spot around a property, meaning less opportunity for condensation to form and mould and damp problems to grow.
- Don’t ignore it – If a tenant complains about condensation or mould, visit the property and fix the problem.
- Check for leaks that may be causing damp, inside and outside the property. Also check gutters which could be blocked by leaves at this time of year.
- Ensure bathrooms and kitchens are well ventilated by installing extractor fans and ensuring that windows can be easily opened.
- Advise tenants to try to ventilate both kitchens and bathrooms for at least twenty minutes during and after use.
- Ensure extractor fans are working efficiently. Noisy extractors will encourage tenants to leave them turned off.
- If your property is prone to condensation, provide tenants with a dehumidifier unit. These come in all shapes and sizes and will help to keep the condensation under control.
- Tenant behaviour and responsibility – Ensure your tenants know they have a responsibility to reduce condensation around the home. Consider setting out some simple instructions about how to prevent condensation and how to distinguish it from damp. Highlight the key points (like some of the examples given above) to avoid condensation. By ensuring they are doing their part to prevent condensation it will protect you from bigger problems and costs in the future.
If you can’t fix a mould problem, don’t leave it to get worse – call in the experts at RFM Trading. We deal with mould, damp and condensation issues on a daily basis and are ready to help you. All aspects of property maintenance can be undertaken including window installation and loft and wall insulation. Call us on 0800 500 3015 now to enquire about our services.