Pretty much every home that I have lived in, here in the UK and in Australia wasn’t insulated. That freaks me out these days, but actually, only houses built in the last 30 years would have been insulated in the UK and in Australia. I know, I know, I hear the Canadians, Americans, Scandinavians and Europeans all shaking their heads… I am not going to get into why this is, but I am going to try to help you. So many people struggle with mould in their homes, caused by damp environments, buildings and actually, their own living habits.
If you struggle with a mouldy home and have had an expert say there is nothing really wrong with the building, then the forming mould growth could be from the condensation caused by you.
Buildings are funny like that, can’t live with us, can’t live without us… Even if you just know it isn’t you that is causing condensation or mould and even if your building was designed badly or doesn’t get much natural day light, is cold and a long list of items such as no central or intermittent heating – do try a few of these tips and ensure you include them into your daily routine. Moisture and mould is not good for buildings and believe it or not, not so great for our human lungs in mould spore form either. Once your home is damp, it can literally take months for it to “dry out”. So this is not an overnight fix and just imagine what you are doing to the building fabric, let alone your poor lungs if you don’t leave the house too often. (If you want to read more about the effects a dirty home can have on you, check out my post “A Simple spring Clean Can Change Your Life“).
This applies generally to the UK and Australia and are just some lifestyle tips, and are good house keeping tips anyway.
- When its time to replace things like carpets or upgrade walls, bathrooms, ventilation systems, cookers etc. always try to get the best you can afford and mention that you would like a long lasting, hard wearing option that may not cause extra moisture in the air. Even furniture, walls and paint can be mould proof these days, so definitely ask the manufacturer.
- If you have double glazing, clean out your window and door vents and make sure they are working properly. If you have single glazing and have wall vents, make sure they are open and working properly.
- Clean excess mould from walls, doors, ceilings and carpets. Take note of any changes.
- Put a dehumidifier on for a few hours each week in the worst room.
- Whenever cooking, doing laundry or drying clothes, ensure at least 1 window is open (the whole time).
- Dry clothes outside if possible. If not try putting up a clothes line in your bathroom and leave the ventilation running occasionally and an open window! Or wash and try your clothes in a laundry for a few months to help the walls dry out.
- If using a tumble dryer – even if it is a condensing one or a vented one, I would still always open a window in the same room and close the door to the room if possible.
- There are many short term solutions such as moisture bombs and clothes hook water collectors to boost a particularly wet area, but don’t forget these are not long term solutions, especially if they are always full.
- In the morning and in the evening for at least 1 hour per day, open at least one window. Preferably 2 on opposite sides of a room or building to get some cross ventilation. Yes, even in winter or get the dehumidifier on.
- Turn the heating on and leave it on constantly at a lower setting. If this option is going to cost you a fortune try putting it on for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening or until it warms up outside – this should be part of a drying out strategy if it is not winter or you live in a warm country. In warm countries use AC instead of heating, especially if the air is super humid and everything just feels wet constantly! Take note that this is a general note. In some instances, turning the heating on and off can in fact cause moisture in the air, because the moist air cools down and turns back into water (usually on your walls and windows). So I would again heat or cool as much as you can afford and try and reduce the amount of water you are creating at home in other ways.
- When having showers or baths – ensure the ventilation fan is turned on and has a decent over-run timer on it. This should have been sized when installed, but I find they are usually never good enough and have seen many simply not working. Always try to leave the window open for at least 15 minutes to half an hour after showering.
- Try not to leave water sitting around, especially over night. If you do leave dishes in the sink soaking, try to put a lid on them. I always make a habit to empty all my cups when I put them in the sink or if put them straight into the dishwasher and make sure the dishwasher is closed. This may seem minor, but all these things really can stack up, especially if you have a really moist house!
- Whenever boiling rice or cooking (pretty much anything) – if possible, use a lid to ensure the water stays in the pan rather than allowing it to evaporate into the atmosphere.
There are many other solutions you can try, but just by changing little personal habits you may be able to alleviate some of your condensation and mould issues at home. No one wants to spend every weekend cleaning the mould off of the bathroom ceiling or from behind the furniture! Hopefully there are a few little things in this list, which can help improve the health of you and your home.