Top ten tips to tackle Condensation and Mould
Condensation and mould presents a real issue for landlords. Under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 it’s a legal requirement that rental properties are fit for human habitation, including having effective ventilation and being free from damp. Therefore it’s essential that landlords ensure their properties are protected. Jeremy Cleeter from condensation and mould control specialist Airtech shares his top tips for staying on top of this enduring problem.
Prevention is better than cure. This age old adage is true for many things, not least of all condensation and mould. Thankfully, there are a number of things landlords can do to help stop the unhealthy problem of condensation and mould.
Prevention of condensation and mould
1. Good ventilation
All properties require good ventilation to prevent the formation of condensation and mould and to provide residents with good indoor air quality (IAQ) to protect their health. Companies, such as Airtech, offer landlords the correct solution for each individual property, including an installation service. This can range from Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) to environment sensing and data gathering bathroom and kitchen fans. Landlords should look for PIV units, such as Airtech’s Air+ PIV, that offer high grade F7 filters to filter out harmful PM2.5 particles that cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
2. Humidity control
According to BRE research, mould spores can germinate at relative humidities as low as 80-85% and if relative humidity levels exceed 70% for long periods, it is likely mould will spread. PIV can effectively control humidity levels and so help prevent and tackle mould. Another great alternative are fans that monitor humidity levels and react automatically and proportionally to rising humidity levels by increasing ventilation levels, offering quick and effective humidity control. This ensures the resident keeps the optimum environment in the home to avoid condensation and mould forming in the first place.
Regular servicing of whole house ventilation systems, such as Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) and PIV is essential to ensure efficient ventilation continues to take place and to help prevent condensation and mould and maintain good IAQ. Servicing ventilation systems helps prolong product life and lower running costs, resulting in quieter running and helping ensure cleaner air in the property.
Treatment of existing condensation and mould
4. Assessing the property
Got a mould problem and not sure where to start? There are specialist companies that can visit the property to undertake comprehensive property surveys. These surveys look for the possible causes of condensation and mould and provide recommendations for solutions to tackle any mould that is present and prevent it from re-appearing
5. Treat the problem
If mould has already appeared it needs to be removed. But mould cannot just be treated with household products or bleach since this can spread the spores and masks the problem, which will then return quickly. It is important to treat mould with a COSHH certified mould-removing solution which eliminates the live mould spores in the affected area, neutralising the mould.
To help stop the mould from returning, specialist paint should be used as part of the redecoration process. Anti-mould paint prevents live mould spores from settling on the walls, inhibiting its occurrence. Alternatively, insulating paint not only prevents mould from returning, but also increases wall temperature helping prevent condensation from forming, a major cause of mould.
Tools and tips
Fans with data loggers record details of the home environment, such as humidity and temperature levels, to allow landlords to track and analyse the correlation of these variables together on one graph. Landlords can then show residents the effects changing lifestyle habits have on a home environment and how reducing relative humidity through adequate heating and ventilation can maintain a healthy home. Landlords can also monitor all ‘on/off’ occurrences and map them in relation to the temperature and humidity readings, giving a clear indication of whether a fan has been running as intended.
8. Education for landlords
Companies like Airtech offer free CPD accredited training seminars for landlords on condensation and mould. The course looks at the difference between damp and mould, health implications, causes and consequences. This training will help ensure landlords know how to break the cycle of condensation and mould, thus protecting both residents and their housing stock.
9. Education for residents
Resident education is vital too. To combat condensation and mould, residents should avoid drying wet clothes on radiators, piling items against external walls and reducing relative humidity through adequate heating.
10. Online resources
There are lots of online resources with information on the latest ventilation and solutions for overcoming condensation and mould. Websites such as Airtech Solution's have a vault of resources offering help and advice, as well as a contact form for booking a survey, finding an expert and training.