Repairs and Maintenance

Damp & Condensation

A number of complaints are received that 'damp' in occurring in properties. This is not usually the case. Damp is where water finds its way into a property. It can only get in three ways:

  • A leaking roof.
  • Water soaking through outside walls or around windows.
  • Rising damp.

A leaky roof is easy to see as you will notice water stains on your upstairs ceilings.

Water soaking in through walls can be because of cracking either to the render or cracking around bricks, again this is quite easy to spot.

Rising damp is a little harder to identify, but usually shows along a wall up to about 1 metre high, and you will see a line or a 'tide mark' along a wall. You may find areas of white dust on the wall – this is where the salts in the cement have dried.

Any of these forms of damp are very unlikely to happen, except perhaps, for example, damage to a roof caused by a storm. In addition all of our properties have a damp proof course, so rising damp is almost certainly not going to be a problem.

However, in the rare event of any of these problems you must let us know as soon as possible as we can carry out the necessary repairs.

If you do think you have 'damp' in your home there is a much greater chance that what you have is the problem of CONDENSATION.

What Causes Condensation?

The three man factors which cause Condensation are as follows:

  • Water vapour in the air – this is produced by normal living activities such as breathing, cooking, bathing, etc.
  • Inside room temperature – this can be controlled with central heating.
  • Outside temperature – at the mercy of the elements.

In the autumn and winter, when the outside temperature falls, it is the difference between the external temperature and the inside temperature that causes all the vapour in the air within the property to condense from air into water.

The coldest parts of your home are the windows as they have the closest contact with the outside. It is for this reason that condensation forms on the inside of windows. When it reaches a certain level it will run down the window onto the windowsill and forms pools of water.

Unless the above is prevented you will find that as the moisture dries it will leave a black dust. This is mould. In bad cases of condensation the mould also shows on walls around the windows, in the corners of the room and even on the floors and in the wardrobes.

How is Condensation Avoided?

A combination of heating and ventilation is the answer.

Today's building standards actually create homes that are almost completely sealed, compared to the older houses of the past with draughty windows and chimneys. All the vapour produced in modern homes can no longer find its way out. In order to combat this we have to introduce ventilation. This is usually in the form of trickle vents in the top of windows, and in some areas, ie. Kitchens and bathrooms we have to suck the vapour out with extractor fans.

It is in your interest to keep window vents open and to use the extractors provided. Please let us know if these items do not operate and we will repair them.

Keeping a constant level of background heating will help. There is no benefit in turning your heating on when you are at home and off when you are out. This is very expensive and does not help avoid condensation.

The object of heating is not just to warm the air up in the home but to heat up the walls of the home so they radiate warmth as well as reducing the cold areas of walls and reducing the chance of condensation.

In addition to this, it may sound strange but by keeping a house well dusted and clean will help prevent mould if there is condensation. If there is dust on windowsills the condensation can form more easily into water droplets on the dust particles. It is also vital that if you have a tumble dryer in your home, that this is vented correctly and does not vent into the property. Un-vented tumble dryers are one of the worse causes of condensation dampness in houses.

Finally, the circulation of air in a house can be hindered by having furniture or possessions stacked up against walls. (Particularly north facing walls which tend to be the coldest walls and therefore more prone to condensation). If the air can’t circulate it can't get rid of the condensation. If you have a problem with condensation it may help to move your furniture and possessions to different places in the affected room until the problem is resolved.

Other than in extreme cases, a balance of heating and ventilation will totally avoid the problem of condensation. Where it does occur it will be almost entirely down to the life style of the occupier.

If you have any problems with condensation, please do not hesitate to contact the Association and we will give you as much help and advice we can as to how to deal with the problem.

Related Links

Reporting a Repair

Tenant's Responsibility

Association's Responsibility