Condensation and mould

How to solve condensation and mould in a bathroom is a subject that has always been high on my list of customer questions, but in the vast majority of cases, this is a problem that can be solved with minimal investment, or even zero investment, in some cases. So, in this post, I just wanted to point out the standard solutions for avoiding condensation and mould in your bathroom.

Extractor fans

Bathroom extractor fan

If you haven’t got an extractor fan, get one, and if you don’t think its working, make sure its turned on!

Quite often, people just don’t use their extractor fans enough. I agree, sometimes they can be a bit noisy, but if that’s a real problem, you can spend a little extra money on a quieter one, or you may be able to change to an in-line fan that sits in your roof space with one length of ducting leading to a vent in your bathroom, and another length pushing out under the eaves or through the gable in your loft.

If you don’t have any type of fan, you must have one fitted, and it will need to be wired up by a qualified electrician. As a rule, the more you spend, the better, and the quieter the fan – take advice from your trusted electrician, he’ll have fitted hundreds, and be able to advise on the best wall/ceiling position in your circumstances.

One further issue with extractor fans is that people often think they’re broken, when they’re just not. Most bathroom fans have an isolator switch situated outside the bathroom (normally above the door). Many has been the occasion, when a customer has told me the fan is broken, and I’ve then walked outside the door, turned the switch on and hey presto. This then normally results in a family witch hunt for who turned it off, which normally leads to some poor unsuspecting teenager. Therefore, if you think your fan is broken, remember to check the isolator switch first. One note of caution here, is to check that the switch has not been turned off for any electrical safety reasons such as a problem with that circuit – if so get it checked and sorted!

Windows, doors, and ventilation

Ventilation lock

Ventilation window locks – always good if you’re worried about security.

Next on the list are windows. Opening windows is so simple but so important. The number of times I’ve been in a customer bathroom with damp issues, and it’s clear that the window is never opened. Opening a window for a few minutes after a bath or shower, completely ventilates the room, and if you’re worried about security, consider fitting ventilation locks.

Also, have you ever noticed those little slots along bottom and/or top edges of windows that can be closed or opened? These are window trickle vents which are designed to get some ventilation into the bathroom. So don’t close them, keep them open!

Another important point is that you must leave the bathroom door open after you’ve had a bath or shower to allow fresh air to fly through, getting all the moist air moving towards the window and extractor fan. Again simple, but essential.

Bathroom heating

In some cases, you really may need to add some extra heating in your bathroom, whether that may be an upgrade to an existing radiator, or I’ve often found that adding a heated towel rail to a ‘cold’ wall has helped condensation issues immensely.

In my experience, some, or all of the above measures tend to cure most damp problems in bathrooms. Okay, in some cases, you may have an underlying penetrating damp problem that does need further attention, but in general, mouldy damp bathrooms can be cured quite simply with plenty of ventilation. If you do have any mould, it does need to be killed before putting your new ventilation regime into practice, so do take a look at my guide – ‘Removing mould’.

So, remember, it’s ventilation all the way for condensation and mould free bathrooms.

  1. Jackie @ up the path says:

    Good informative post there. I used to have serious condensation issues in my house until I was given the simple advice that you have given of just ventilating rooms by opening windows etc. Simple advice that works…worth sharing!

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