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How to keep mould at bay over winter

October 7, 2020 | Professionals   Students  

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With the weather drawing in, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of condensation that can lead to mould.

All sorts of everyday activity put moisture into the air around us. Cooking and cleaning can be the biggest culprits and the drops in temperatures lead to condensation. In the summertime, it’s easier to keep thing dry and ventilated, but in winter moisture can build up, which creates the ideal condition for mould.

What is mould anyway?

Mould is actually a type of fungus. It grows in moist environments where there is not much sunlight and can grow on all kinds of surfaces from fabrics to wood. Outside, it has an important job breaking down and decomposing materials, but inside it is an unwelcome guest. Mould reproduces via little airborne spores and can be tricky to get rid of once it takes hold. No one wants to live in a mouldy home, it’s unsightly, causes damage to whatever it grows on and can prove to be a health hazard, so prevention is key.

What causes damp?

Mould loves damp, so keeping your home dry is the key. But why would your home be damp? There are some common causes to watch out for:

  • Wet weather – the Leeds climate can be particularly rainy in the winter seasons, which naturally puts more humidity in the air
  • Drying wet clothes on radiator, cooking and showering all add water to the air in the house
  • Cold surfaces collect condensation from the air which can create areas of damp – a quick wipe with an absorbent cloth wherever you see condensation collecting helps to get rid of the source of moisture
  • Sometimes damp is caused by a structural or repair issue e.g. rising damp or blocked guttering – which you would need to let your agent or landlord know about so they could look into it

How to prevent mould and damp in your home.

Keeping on top of the moisture in your home is the key to combatting mould. That means keeping your property well ventilated to avoid the build up of condensation. Here are a few tips to help you reduce the amount of condensation in your home:

  1. Open your windows daily to allow moist air to escape – even in the winter months. It’s good to get in the habit of opening your bedroom windows for 5-10 minutes each day when you get up to keep things fresh and ventilated
  2. Use extractor fans and open windows when using the kitchen or bathroom
  3. When cooking or showering, close the doors to stop the wet steam going into other rooms
  4. It’s a simple one, but putting lids on your pans when cooking is an easy way of reducing moisture in the air
  5. When you pop the kettle on for a brew, only boil the amount of water you need. Not only is it better for energy consumption but reduces the amount of steam (i.e. water) being put into the air
  6. Leave a small gap between walls and furniture (especially when it’s a cold wall) so the air can flow around it
  7. Similarly, try to keep cupboards or storage areas uncluttered, so that air can circulate around items in cupboards etc
  8. It’s best to dry clothes outside but if you can’t, make sure it’s done in a well-ventilated room with an open window
  9. If you’ve got a tumble dryer with a vent pipe, make sure it runs outside your property (e.g. through a window)
  10. Make sure airways are not blocked, such as chimneys and air bricks
  11. Keep heating levels at a constant temperature, especially in the winter
  12. Use an absorbent cloth to dry any condensation or moisture when you see it e.g. around the bath or shower after use. This has the added bonus of also making your bathroom easier to clean too!
  13. Consider a dehumidifier to help draw moisture out of the air
  14. Act quickly! If you see signs of damp or mould, don’t ignore it.

While there can be structural reasons for damp, the vast majority of mould issues are caused by tenants not keeping their property properly ventilated. These simple tips will help you keep your home in top condition.

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HOP Tenants

If you are a HOP Tenant, feel free to give us a call with any queries regarding your property and remember that you can report a repair online, at any time, using our round-the-clock maintenance portal.

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