1. Keep your home at a constant 18-22°C during winter
Did you know that condensation forms when warm moist air hits a cold surface like a window or wall?
It’s a fact that on average humans produce about 1/3 of a litre of water vapour per individual, per day, just through breathing. This is why bedroom windows are steamed up in the mornings when we wake up in the winter months. If your heating is turned off during the night the windows and walls will have become cold and this allows your breath to condense onto these surfaces. Once condensation has collected, the damp surface provides the perfect environment for mould to grow. If you want to avoid condensation on your bedroom walls and windows, keeping your household temperature more regulated will help. By maintaining a consistent 18-22°C household temperature, the likelihood of mould appearing in your property is reduced.
Keeping your home at a consistent temperature during the winter months requires the heating to be running on a continuously low setting. This will help reduce the causes of mould whilst making your living environment generally more comfortable. But what about the cost? This may not increase your energy bills as much as you might think. There are different schools of thought on whether running your heating constantly on a low setting is cheaper, or a more expensive way to run your heating. Martin Lewis (known for his money saving tips) recently advocated in an article that it is a myth that running heating on constant saves you money. That said, he goes on to say that some specialists disagree. They argue you should keep the heating on constantly low and say that by turning heating on and off, condensation collects within the walls. This condensation can help conduct heat outside the home meaning you leak heat more quickly and so will use more energy as a result. You can read the full article here. The easiest way to find out the impact on your energy bills is to trial it out and measure the amount of units used over a small period of time.
If you have noticeable mould problems and want to see if this methodology works for you, we suggest turning your heating onto the constant setting and ensure that your thermostat is set to between 18-22°C. If you’ve got individual thermostats on radiators turn these to a low setting. Give your home a chance to warm up, you will notice a difference within a few hours, but your home will take a while to warm up initially because it is being heated gradually. If you dial goes from 1 – 5 then a 2 setting is about right. In particularly cold spells you can adjust this a little to improve the ambient temperature, but you shouldn’t whack the heating up high, just put on an extra layer instead. The important thing is to keep things consistent. And that’s it, enjoy a pleasant temperature in your home any time of day and see less condensation on your windows and walls. Remember mould needs moisture to grow!
If you are going away from the home for any length of time, the causes of condensation related mould are removed. We don’t recommend keeping the heating running whilst you are away from the house for any length of time as there are risks such as frozen pipes in very cold weather. If you are planning a holiday turn off the heating and start the process again when you return.
2. Extract that Steam!
Make sure you use your extractor fan when cooking or bathing. In winter using an extractor is a valuable effective way of removing steam to prevent condensation. We would advise opening a window too, but know that people are less likely to do this in the winter because of valuable heat escaping. A helpful compromise is to ensure that you place lids on saucepans and use an extractor fan to reduce the amount of steam appearing on your windows and walls. There are extractor fans on the market which are designed to reduce heat loss and many as standard have a two way vent to let steam out and stop cold air returning in. Make sure yours is fully operational and unblocked.
3. Wipe Down Damp Windows and Walls
For any condensation left, wipe it away. You can do this with an old towel, or a cloth which can be wrung out, or even better paper towels which are thrown away. The temptation with a regular towel is to put it on a radiator to dry out which will then release all of the water collected, back into the room as the radiator turns it into steam. If you are using a regular towel hang it somewhere away from direct heat so it dries more gradually.
If you are into gadgets there are various ones on the market, such as window vacuums, which will collect moisture off your surfaces. A window vacuum is a hand sized, portable device which is a cross between a vacuum cleaner and a window squeegee. It will suck up the condensation related moisture into a collection vessel allowing you to tip this away which will stop the formation of mould in areas such as window frames, tiles, and walls. You can also use it on surfaces such as mirrors and toilet cisterns which attract moisture. Window vacuums are easily available from many popular stores. They are cost effective and can also be found online just search for “window vacuum”.