Properties with potential damp

If your property has high levels of humidity or black mould and you believe your home is damp, we have a specialist team at Gentoo to investigate this. 

You can report damp in your property via our website here, or by calling 0191 525 5000 and selecting option two. 

Our specialist team 

Our specialist team are on hand to asses any damp or mould issues you may have in your home. The team will visit the property to carry out a thorough inspection and plan any required remedial works. 

During this inspection we will:

  • Carry out a full damp survey paying particular attention to the affected area(s)
  • Assess whether your property may have a structural or build reason for condensation / damp, e.g. north facing walls, damaged insulation
  • Provide a hygrometer to monitor the relative humidity of your rooms and help you to reduce condensation within your home.
  • Check your walls with a moisture meter for signs of dampness
  • Record the air and surface temperature in your rooms
  • Ensure all extractor fans are fully functioning
  • Take photographs where necessary

If there are any concerns following this inspection we may need to carry out more intrusive tests which may involve taking discreet samples from your walls or flooring for testing.

To help remedy problems relating to condensation and humidity, there are a number of things that can be done to help. These include:

  • Providing advice on heating and ventilating your home (our Money Matters team can help ensure you are on the best energy tariff)
  • Fitting vents such as air brick vents or passive vents that help reduce humidity and improve ventilation in your home
  • Using painting products that insulate the wall and help prevent cold spots
  • Installing constant running extractor fans to your bathroom and kitchen where required

If your property is suffering from rising damp, issues with bridging or any form of penetrating damp we will ensure that all repairs identified are carried out to your home.

How you can help to prevent condensation

Not all dampness is caused by condensation and sometimes it can be result of leaking internal or external pipes, roof leaks caused by missing or faulty tiles, penetrating damp from porous bricks, rising damp because of defective damp roof course or faulty rendering, mortar joints or blocked cavities and solid walls.

Condensation which occurs in your home is caused by warm vapour-laden air meeting a cold surface. When the air cools it cannot retail the moisture and some of it condenses on these cold surfaces, such as windows, mirrors and tiled walls.

Below is information on how you can also help to minimise the impact of condensation in your property:

Increase ventilation 

Increasing ventilation will help to prevent moisture laden air from being trapped in your home and condensing on the windows, walls and ceiling. There are simple actions that can be taken such as:

  • Keep the bathroom door closed and the window ajar when bathing or showering. Alternatively open the window immediately afterwards
  • While cooking, we recommend keeping the internal closed door and opening a window during, or immediately after
  • If you have trickle vents fitted to your windows, keep them open as much as possible, especially in inhabited rooms. 
  • If you have one installed, use an electric extractor fan when cooking, washing or bathing, particularly when windows show signs of misting. Keep windows and doors closed when the fan is in operation. Leave the fan on until the mist has cleared. This is especially important where extractor fans have been installed to counteract prevailing airflows within your home
  • DO NOT use paraffin heaters or flueless gas heaters in unventilated rooms, as every litre of paraffin burnt can produce approximately one litre of water. Provide adequate ventilation where the use of these heaters is unavoidable.

Maintain warmth 

The best way to heat your home is through steady background heating, this is because warmer air can hold more moisture and as the temperature of the walls increase the possibility of condensation forming on them is reduced. 

We recommend keeping all rooms warm and ventilated and where possible, keep your heating on at all times in cold weather as intermittent heating causes condensation to be deposited as the air and surfaces cool. You should also keep your heating on low if your home is unoccupied during the day. If condensation occurs in a room which has a heating appliance with a flue, check the heating installation immediately as the condensation might have appeared because the flue has been blocked.

Our Money Matters team can help ensure you are on the best energy tariff

Remove mould 

To remove the mould growth, wipe down the affected areas with a fungicidal wash. This is available from supermarkets, hardware or DIY stores. You should choose a product which carries a Health and Safety Executive ‘approval number’. Always follow the instructions carefully. DO NOT use bleach to clean walls or ceilings as this may be hazardous and will only have a temporary effect. This may also end up encouraging mould growth in the future. We also do not recommend disturbing the mould by brushing or vacuuming.

You should redecorate using an appropriate fungicidal paint to help prevent mould recurring. Please note that this paint will not be effective if painted over with ordinary paint or overlaid with wallpaper. Treat the mould already existing in your home and then address the problem of condensation, steps to which can be found above. By following these steps, mould should not reappear.

Use of dehumidifiers 

There are various sizes of dehumidifiers commercially available that can be used to treat cases of severe condensation. They are very useful for drying out new buildings where parts of the structure are wet due to burst pipes or flooding. They are not normally suitable for a cure for regularly occurring condensation.

Care when drying clothes 

Where possible, drying clothes inside the home should be avoided and clothes should be dried outside. If a heated cupboard is not provided or used, we recommend restricting clothes drying to a room fitted with an extractor fan, such as a bathroom using a clothes horse. If the extraction in this room is not continuous, you should use switch this on to enable the fan to be used for clothes drying.

Many people see using radiators as a great way to dry clothes, however a window must always be opened or an extractor fan switched on when the clothes are on the radiator.

It is also particularly important to avoid drying clothes in unventilated rooms, especially those kept at low temperatures. It is essential that tumble driers are vented outside or are the condensing type. 

Furniture placement 

Wardrobes, fitted cupboards and other large items of furniture should not be placed directly against external walls and where possible, they should be positioned against internal walls. Furniture placed against external walls can create pockets of trapped air which can lead to serious surface condensation and mould growth, on both the wall and the furniture. This could also affect the contents of the furniture. 

We also recommend periodically leaving cupboard and wardrobe doors open so that air can circulate. 

Ceiling air tightness 

It is important, from the point of view of energy conservation and to limit the risk of condensation in the loft, that airflow from the loft is minimised. To achieve this, the ceiling should remain well-sealed. If the householder installs products that penetrate the ceiling, the same precautions should be taken as above. The loft access trap can be a potential route for water vapour to escape into the loft space. It should be kept closed when access is not required.

Roof ventilation 

If roof ventilation is installed, ensure that it is not obstructed by insulation or goods stored in the loft.