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Dealing with damp and mould

If you are experiencing problems with damp and mould, please follow the advice on this page. If problems persist, and you rent your property, the Council can investigate the matter further.

Report damp and mould

Use our online form to report damp and mould.

If we identify a fault with the building that might cause a risk to health in a privately rented property, we can require the landlord to carry out works.

If you are a Council tenant, our own surveyors will investigate the problem.

Damp

There are three main causes of damp in a property.

Rising damp usually occurs when there is a missing or defective damp proof course. This lets moisture from the ground rise up into the property. Rising damp usually appears at low levels along external walls.

Where rising damp is present there may be white powdery coating to the wall. The edges of the affected areas are normally distinguished by a definite tide-mark usually brown in colour.

Penetrating damp usually occurs when there is water coming in through the walls. This is generally caused by structural problems such as faulty guttering or roofing.

This normally shows as brown patches on walls, ceilings and floors and may darken after heavy rainfall. 

Condensation is the most common form of damp. It is not normally a building fault but is caused by moist air inside the property condensing on walls and other surfaces.

Condensation is most likely to appear in cold or poorly ventilated properties. Homes heated intermittently are more likely to suffer with condensation problems than homes heated continuously.  This is because continuous heating keeps the surfaces of the rooms warm which reduces the risk of condensation forming on them.

Normal daily activities such as taking showers and baths, washing and drying clothes, cooking and boiling kettles produce warm air containing a large amount of water vapour.

Controlling condensation

To control condensation reduce the amount of water vapour in your property by following the steps outlined below.

  • Put lids on saucepans while you are cooking to reduce steam.
  • Avoid drying laundry on a clothes airer or radiator. If you need to dry clothes indoors, open the window and close the door of the room where the clothes are drying, so that moisture can escape outside rather than circulate around your home.
  • If you use a vented tumble drier, make sure it is properly vented to an open window or through an outside wall.
  • While cooking, bathing or washing, use an extractor fan or open a window, and keep the door closed. Keep the extractor fan on or the window open for about 20 minutes after you have finished (with the door closed).
  • When condensation appears, wipe it away.
  • Leave trickle vents (slotted vents in the window frames) open when rooms are occupied - even in the winter when your heating is on.
  • During cold weather it is better to leave the heating on during the day to maintain an even temperature. The temperature can be set a few degrees lower while you are out and turned up when you return.
  • Any rooms you do not use regularly should still be heated to avoid cold areas.

Mould

 If you notice mould growing in your home, you can treat it by sterilising the affected area with a suitable fungicidal wash (available from most DIY stores), and following the manufacturer's instructions.

Keep checking the affected area for at least a week. If the mould reappears, wash it down again with the fungicidal wash to make sure the area is thoroughly sterilised.

When redecorating use a good quality fungicidal paint to help prevent mould growth from returning.