Written by Katie Starkey, MARLA, Head of Lettings in Dorset
How to Avoid Condensation at Christmas
The Christmas tree is up, the heating is turned up high, the de-icer is waiting excitedly by the front door, and it’s cold and frosty outside. At this time of year, we’re far more inclined to keep our windows locked shut, our laundry drying by the radiator and our kitchens in full use with comforting, steamy dishes for our families. However, it’s also the time of year to keep an eye out for increased condensation, and whether you own your property or rent temporarily, condensation can cause unnecessary damage to your home, and it’s something that landlords should also keep an eye on at this time of year.
What is condensation?
There is always moisture in the air. This is created by normal everyday living – breathing, cooking, bathing, laundry, burning fuel etc. When the weather is colder outside, warm air inside meets cold surfaces (walls, furniture, windows) and turns back from vapour into liquid. Windows might mist up and droplets of water can be seen on walls, windows and cold surfaces such as toilet cisterns and tiles. When mold spores come into contact with surfaces that are damp, black mildew spots will appear on window frames, walls and corners of rooms where ceilings meet walls.
The areas generally affected by condensation and its effects are kitchens and bathrooms as well as furniture that’s close to (or touching) a wall and areas of the house where there’s not much movement of air, for example, unused storage rooms.
What can I do to minimise the effects of condensation?
- Ensure that windows are open when you are cooking or when you have a shower/bath
- Always try and keep the bathroom door shut during and just after you are having a bath so that excess moisture doesn’t spread to other rooms of the house
- Wipe down wet surfaces when you have finished using the bathroom
- When cooking, always have the extractor fan switched on to maximum to remove excess moisture from the room
- Keep a fan on for a while after you have finished cooking to extract any moisture in the room that you cannot see
- Where possible, try to dry clothes outside on a washing line – excess moisture from clothes dried inside can cause condensation.
- If you have a tumble dryer, ensure that the ventilation pipe removes hot air to the outside of the building.
- If you do need to dry clothes inside, do it in one room, close the door to the rest of your property and open the window in that room so that it is well ventilated
- It is a good idea to leave some space between furniture and walls
- If air cannot circulate between these surfaces it can cause condensation and mould can build up
As a cautionary note to landlords, we advise you keeping a close eye on condensation developing in your investment properties. If your rental property is professionally managed then your letting agent should keep an eye out on your behalf. If not, then this is something that DOMVS lettings agency can check as part of our Tenancy Health Checks.