Keeping your home free from damp and condensation

Is your home damp?

Damp is generally caused by a fault in the structure of the building. There are two basic types of damp:

  • Penetrating damp happens when water enters your home through an external defect, e.g. a crack in a wall or loose roof tile.  This damp will often show as dark patches on walls and ceilings which get worse when it rains.
  • Rising damp occurs when there is no damp course or there is a problem with the damp course or membrane and water rises from the ground into the walls or floor.  Symptoms of rising damp are a tide mark of up to 1 metre above the floor with peeling wallpaper and crumbling and salt stained plaster.  Skirtings and other timbers may also show signs of rot.

These causes of damp rarely have black mould and often leave a ‘tidemark’.

If you do not think the damp comes from any of these causes, it is probably condensation.

What is condensation?

Condensation occurs at any time but is most noticeable during cold weather.  It starts as moisture in the air; usually produced by cooking, washing or drying clothes indoors on radiators. When it hits cool surfaces such as walls, mirrors, wall tiles and windows it condenses and forms water droplets. The moist air rises when it is warm and often ends up on ceilings and in upstairs rooms which are cooler than the rest of the house. Condensation can be found in corners, on or near windows, in or behind wardrobes and cupboards.

Persistent condensation can result in mould growth which will show up as patches of black spots on walls and ceilings.

Preventing condensation

Produce less moisture:

  • Cover saucepans
  • Dry clothes outdoors
  • Ventilate your tumble dryer to the outside
  • Avoid using paraffin or flue-less bottled gas heaters

Ventilate to remove moisture:

  • Ventilate all the home, especially when someone is at home
  • Increase ventilation of the kitchen and bathroom when in use and shut the door
  • Ventilate cupboards and wardrobes
  • Do not block permanent vents
  • Keep ‘trickle’ ventilators open as much as possible

Heat your home a little more:

  • If possible, keep low background heat on all day, with background ventilation

What is black mould? 

Black mould is a spore which grows in areas where there is excessive moisture, high humidity, and lack of ventilation. It leaves a damp and musty smell and if untreated, can be harmful to people’s health. 


Where can it be found? 

It can usually be found in corners of rooms, behind furniture and around windows and doors. It may also be present inside wardrobes on clothes. Bathrooms and kitchens may show evidence of black mould on tiles and taps. 


Preventing and treating black mould 

Black mould needs moisture to grow. It is important to reduce the moisture produced and ventilate your home well. 

  • Remove any moisture on doors, windows, and sills each morning to prevent mould growth and treat with an anti mould solution which can be bought cheaply and locally. 

  • Avoid putting furniture and wardrobes against walls as this prevents air circulation. 

  • Wipe off any signs of black mould with an anti mould solution to prevent growth. Note, bleach will not kill off the spores completely and will allow for regrowth.  

Removing mould 

When dealing with mould, safety should always be a top priority, spreading the mould around your home can make the problem worse. By following these steps, you can effectively remove mould from your home while keeping yourself and your family safe. 

To ensure your safety, always follow the instructions from the products label as these may vary. 

There are a few important steps you should take before beginning the mould removal process: 

  • Always use biocides safely and read the label and product information before use.  

  • First test on an inconspicuous area. 

  • We recommend wearing rubber/plastic gloves. 

  • It’s a good idea to cover the floor under the area you are cleaning to catch any falling mould, which can then be disposed of immediately. 

  • Proper ventilation in the room is also key when removing mould. To allow mould spores to escape, make sure to open a window or external door. This will help prevent the mould from spreading to other parts of your home. 

  • When it comes to cleaning products, it is best to use a mould remover spray, these sprays can be easily found online or at hardware shops or supermarkets. Carefully follow the instructions on the mould cleaning product as each product will vary. 

  • Once you have your cleaner, apply it to the affected area and leave the product to work.  A disposable cloth or tissue can be used to wipe any remaining residue.  

  • Once you have finished cleaning, be sure to allow the area to dry completely before closing the window.  

If you have damp or mould issues in your home, and you can’t resolve them yourself, then contact our Central Repairs Team.  They will arrange for a surveyor to visit and assess the mould and suggest remedies we can employ.  We are here to help you and work with you to improve the conditions of your home.


If you are having difficulty with heating bills contact your energy supplier about alternative tariffs.  Further information and advice can also be found on our household energy savings and energy efficiency webpages.