Health & safety in your home
Dampness, mould and condensation
Dampness and mould in your home can, at the very least, be unsightly but can also cause or aggravate chest related illness (for instance, asthma) as well as making it harder to keep warm. There are 3 main different types of dampness:
Rising damp (caused by insufficient damp proofing of external walls), penetrating damp (caused by old brickwork which starts to absorb water, leaking roofs or gutters and rotting window or door wood) and condensation (caused by warm air meeting cold walls without enough ventilation).
There are 3 main ways to avoid or reduce condensation:
Produce less moisture
- cover steaming pots when cooking and switch off kettles as soon as they boil
- avoid using portable gas heaters - they produce a lot of water vapour
- if you cannot dry clothes outside, dry in a room with an open window and close the door
- make sure tumble dryer exhaust vapour is vented outside, not back indoors
Ventilate to expel excess moisture in the air
- use air extraction vents in bathrooms and kitchens, to remove moist air, and keep the doors closed when in use
- keep windows slightly open to aid air movement (or in the case of double glazing - open the 'trickle-vents')
- leave wardrobe and cupboard doors slightly open (or cut breather holes) to help ventilation.
- do not overstock shelves and, if possible, place them against the warmer inside walls
Improve insulation and heating
- insulate your loft and loft hatch to reduce heat loss
- if your external walls are cavity walls, ensure they are insulated
- install double glazing if you do not already have it, or update your existing double glazing if it does not provide adequate insulation. Remember to make sure the new double glazing has 'trickle-vents' to allow some ventilation.
Also, to avoid condensation, do not
- block permanent ventilators
- block chimneys - instead, install a ventilation grille instead
- draught-proof kitchens and bathrooms or rooms containing a gas heating appliance
- wipe down affected walls or surfaces regularly with a household detergent, preferably one which is an anti-mildew spray, but please make sure you read the detergent/spray instructions carefully to make sure the surface is not damaged.
- dry clean mildewed clothes and shampoo carpets
- re-decorate using a good quality fungicidal topcoat paint.
Excess cold or heat
A cold house is uncomfortable and in some cases, can contribute to bronchitis, pneumonia and hypothermia.
A house will have insufficient heating when:
- It has no fixed form of heating in the main habitable room
- No means of providing heating to any other habitable room such as electrical sockets
- Heating appliances are are not working properly or are not capable of heating the room adequately
Excess cold can also be caused by inadequate thermal insulation.
To help you insulate your home, you may be eligible for an energy grant.
For more help on keeping warm see the Energy Efficiency Advice pages.
Caused by solar heat gain, inadequate ventilation and lack of thermal efficiency.
If you would like to make an enquiry about, or report a health and safety issue, please use the online enquiry form.