How to keep your home mould-free this winter
Most of us associate mould with poorly maintained housing but it’s a problem for lots of us at this time of year, regardless of where we live. A new survey carried out by the price comparison website Uswitch and reported in Landlord Today, reveals that the problem is most common for tenants in private, social or student housing – but it can affect any home affected by condensation or penetrating damp.
So what can you do about it?
According to Uswitch, two thirds of renters think dealing with mould is the landlord’s responsibility. This is certainly the case if damp is the source of the problem and landlords should ensure their rented homes are well insulated, properly heated and draught-proof. However there is a lot tenants can do to solve mould problems themselves if they are the result of condensation. Unfortunately 40% of the renters who spoke to Uswitch said they wouldn’t clean mould themselves. However, the problem is unlikely to resolve itself unless they are prepared to take action – and it could get much worse
The Centre for Sustainable Energy has this advice for homeowners and renters.
- Reduce condensation by producing less moisture in your home. This means keeping the lids on pans and using the extractor fan when you’re cooking; drying clothes outdoors or ensuring your tumble dryer is properly vented; and closing the bathroom door when showering. Don’t forget to open the windows or use the fan afterwards. This is super-simple advice but it does make a difference.
- Wipe down windows and sills in the morning to mop up any moisture that has formed overnight – and invest in a dehumidifier if the problem is very severe.
- Heat your home – very cold rooms generate damp and condensation so keep all the radiators turned on at a low level. Unused rooms should be aired from time to time too.
If you already have mould on your walls or ceiling, you can tackle it yourself using this two-stage treatment: clean off the black spots with an anti-mould spray containing bleach, leave overnight and then spray with an anti-fungal wash. We would always recommend wearing a face mask when working with chemicals – a mask with a ventilator from a builders merchant (still open despite the lockdown!) is the best option. If the mould has left a nasty mark behind once you’ve treated the area, you could also give it a coat of mould-resistant paint. None of this is costly or difficult and could make a big difference.
However, if the mould is so serious that you really can't deal with it yourself, if you suspect it is the result of either penetrating damp from a leaking pipe or missing roof tiles, or you think the home you live in has rising damp, this is the time to raise the problem with your landlord or the managing agent. No one should be living in a damp home and these issues are entirely their responsibility.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy has also produced an easy to read leaflet that you can download to find out more.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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