Condensation forms when the air gets cold and the moisture in the air appears as droplets of water on cold surfaces such as windows and walls.
Every home can be affected by condensation at some time and it is quite normal to find your bedroom windows misted after a cold night. You may notice condensation on other cold surfaces such as pipes, or your toilet cistern. Condensation is usually more apparent during colder weather.
Cause of condensation
There is always some moisture in the air. The average household produces about 24 pints of moisture every day. When moisture is not allowed out of your home, condensation will form.
|Activity||Number of pints|
|Two people active for one day
|Cooking and boiling a kettle
|Having a bath or a shower
|Using a paraffin or bottles gas heater
|Total amount of moisture produced in your home in one day
How to avoid condensation
Follow these four easy steps to reduce condensation in your home:
Produce less moisture in your home
- Use lids on pans and turn the heat down once the contents are boiling
- Hang washing outside whenever you can
- If you use a tumble dryer make sure it is vented to the outside
- If you dry clothes inside, dry in a room with the window ajar and the door closed
- Reduce steam when running the bath by running cold water first and then topping up with warm water
- Do not use bottled gas or paraffin heaters in your home as these produce a lot of water vapour when the fuel is burned
Stop moisture from spreading around your home
- Keep the internal bathroom and kitchen doors shut and these rooms well ventilated during and after bathing and cooking
- Wipe down surfaces where moisture settles, such as windows and mirrors
Ventilate to remove moisture
- Each morning, air the affected rooms by opening the windows for a little while and wiping down any wet windows and sills
- Use extractor fans/hoods in bathrooms and kitchens
- Leave bathroom and kitchen windows open slightly for 20 minutes once you have finished cooking, showering or bathing. If your windows have trickle vents fitted, leave these open as this will provide a steady flow of fresh air.
- Remember to shut your windows before you go out
Keep your home warm
- Condensation can be worse in a cold home. This is because cold air can’t hold as much moisture as warm air. Keeping your home warm can really help to reduce condensation.
- Condensation and mould often form in rooms that are unused or under heated. Keep the radiators and heaters down in these rooms to save energy, but don’t turn them off completely.
Important things to remember
- Do not block ventilators or extractor fans
- Avoid blocking chimney openings
- Avoid putting furniture against cold external walls as mould may grow on the wall or furniture where air cannot circulate
- Clean condensation and mould away when you see it forming
When condensation is a problem
In more serious cases, condensation can cause black or green mould to form on walls and other surfaces. Mould growth can be caused by condensation from normal activities, and can damage furnishings, clothes and decoration.
We do not pay compensation for mould damage to your personal possessions caused by condensation.
Mould is often found in cooler rooms such as bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways. It is usually found on window frames, outside walls, in cupboards and wardrobes or behind furniture where air flow is restricted.
How to get rid of mould
As soon as you start to see mould growth you need to clean it away. This is your responsibility.
- Wear rubber gloves and wipe the mould off the area using a cloth and anti-mould remover - one which carries a Health and Safety Executive approved number. These are available in supermarkets and DIY stores and should become part of your regular cleaning routine.
- Mould can be washed out of fabrics but may leave a stain. Mildewed clothes should be dry cleaned.
- Avoid vacuuming/sweeping affected carpets - shampoo them instead.
- If you redecorate, use a good quality anti-mould paint or fungicidal wallpaper paste. If you use standard products, then mould is likely to come back.
Reduce condensation and stop mould from growing back
To stop mould from growing back again, it is very important that you reduce the amount of condensation in your home. Use this checklist to help reduce condensation.
|Extractor fan on
||Bathroom window open
||Tumble dryer vented outside
|Lids on saucepans
||Bathroom door closed
||Hang clothes up outside
|Kitchen window open
||If drying clothes outside is not possible, hang on a dryer in the bathroom with the window open and the door closed.
|Kitchen door closed
||Try not to hang clothes on radiators
Other causes of moisture
Although mould is frequently caused by condensation, it can also be caused by:
- Leaks, for example windows, roofs or guttering
- Moisture penetrating through walls
- Rising damp (although this is very rare)
- Open window trickle vents
- Open windows in the morning if there is condensation
- Wipe condensation off windows in the morning
- Heating on for at least several hours a day
- Furniture not pushed up against external walls
- Lid on fish tanks
- Black mould cleaned as soon as it appears
Energy grants for homeowners
If you receive an income-related benefit or disability living allowance, or if you are a householder aged over 60, you may be able to get a grant for draught-proofing and loft insulation under the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme.
For more information call the Energy Savings Trust Scotland free on 0808 808 2282. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am-8pm; Saturday 9am-5pm.
Top tips to save money on your heating bill
Your gas or electricity company can give advice about fuel budget schemes to spread the cost of heating. See our top tips below:
- Set your thermostat to between 18˚C and 21˚C. Turning your thermostat down by 1˚C (but no lower than 18˚C) could save £60 a year
- Use your heating programmer to set your heating to come on half an hour before you get out of bed/come home and turn off half an hour before you go to bed/leave the house.
- Use the thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to make ensure that different rooms are set to the right temperature, rather than having them all set to maximum
- Keep doors and windows closed when the heating is on
- Close curtains and blinds at dusk, and make sure they do not hang in front of radiators
- Make sure you are getting the best price for your gas and electricity - Check you are with the best provider and on the best tariff by comparing energy suppliers. It’s free, easy and can save you money!
Home energy advice
Visit the Scottish Government's website for information on home energy and fuel poverty.
For further advice and help on insulation and heating contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Who to contact
If you are a Council tenant and have problems with damp or condensation or would like further information, please contact Housing Repairs.
Private tenants should contact their landlord direct.