if you live in a draughty victorian house with sash windows...

(22 Posts)

How do you deal with condensation, mould, mildew and the like... we don't have the money to double glaze, and our external walls are all made of single courses of bricks (apparently) so are cold and susceptible to mould. Any coping strategies would be gratefully received,

We're looking at this for my MIL, single-skin walls and awful damp. In her bedroom she has water running down the walls every morning. DH is a carpenter, and he's actually been able to create a cavity wall in the living room with a special kind of plasterboard, which has done the trick in there. I don't think it cost a huge amount for materials, but if you don't have somebody in the family who knows how to do it labour might push that up a bit.

If it's really, really bad you might be able to get a grant - we're looking into it at the moment for her. Each council seems to have it's own system, but there's an over-arching document called "A Decent Home: Definition and guidance for implementation" which explains everything - you can order a copy free here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-decent-home-definition-and-guidance

donteatthat Thu 10-Jan-13 13:13:17

Sounds familiar! We couldn't afford double glazing either but paid out £250 per sash window to get them refurbished and draught proofed. The draught proofing has made a big difference to the temperature but we still get lots of condensation. We try to wipe the worst of it off with a cloth in the mornings and then open the windows top and bottom to ventilate which usually gets rid of the condensation eventually. We weren't able to open the windows properly before we had them refurbished so that was well worth it.

I tried those little replaceable dehumidifier things but didn't make any difference. I think the main thing is ventilation and not drying clothes etc on radiators. But mostly I'm not sure we'll ever be able to do anything to eliminate the problem.

Good luck!

Onlyaphase Thu 10-Jan-13 13:18:35

My sash windows are dripping with condensation when it is frosty outside. I wipe them with a towel and make sure that at least two windows are open upstairs and downstairs to ventilate the house for an hour in the morning.

Not drying clothes inside helps too.

There is apparently some insulating wall-paper you can use let there be cupcakes which we will be using on our outer walls when we redecorate.
We have actually had our sash windows overhauled don'teatthat which means we don't get so many draughts, but we still get the condensation, and we also get mould on the walls underneath the windows too. Any furniture against our external walls gets mould behind it too. This mould can apparently be quite bad for you too, so I would love to get rid of it.
Drying washing indoors is our only way of drying clothes in the winter, but we do dry outside the rest of the year.
It seems odd to me that most of London live in houses like this, but there doesn't seem to be an 'out of the box' fix to insulate them

Jergens Thu 10-Jan-13 14:44:10

Have you tried getting a quote from a joiner/carpenter to get double glazed windows instead of through one of the big companies? We did this and the quote was about £4000 cheaper!
Still an expense of course, but might be an option?

Good idea Jergens. Will see who I can find...

PolterGoose Fri 11-Jan-13 14:44:26

I think it was PigletJohn who explained that one load of washing can contain as much as 2 litres of water after spinning. Imagine putting that much water in a sprayer and spraying it around the house shock

The cheapest quickest improvement you can make is to use a tumble dryer.

PigletJohn Fri 11-Jan-13 14:51:44

does anybody drape wet washing around the house or over radiators?

Hi Polter & Piglet John we do dry our clothes on radiators in the winter as have no room for a tumble dryer - I hadn't realised how much water was in the wet clothes until I read your post [gulp]. We do keep most of our windows open slightly so I assumed that damp air would just escape.

PigletJohn Fri 11-Jan-13 16:57:05

if you get a lot of condensation, damp and mould, and if you hang wet washing indoors, then one is usually caused by the other. It is the most common cause in UK homes.

It sounds as if the amount of water vapour being generate exceeds the ability of the ventilation to remove it.

If you increase ventilation, then the water vapour is bound to go outside the house. In winter you might not be keen. Apart from a tumble drier, one method, if you have an effective bathroom extractor, is to hang the washing over the bath on a roll-away line, shut the bathroom door and window and leave the extractor fan running until the washing is dry. This will take the water vapour outside the house. Warm fresh air will be sucked into the bathroom thrrough the gap under the door.

Thanks Piglet - we don't have an effective extractor but now I know the cause I can try to sort it out by increasing ventilation and also maybe going to use the tumble dryer at our launderette.

MooncupGoddess Fri 11-Jan-13 17:05:00

I've put secondary glazing film over my sash windows - it looks slightly rubbish but really helps with keeping the heat in. I've also filled in the gaps at the side of the sashes with strips of thick cardboard (high tech, eh?)

If you are drying washing inside in the winter a dehumidifier is pretty essential.

concessionsavailable Fri 11-Jan-13 17:06:23

We bought a Lakeland heated drying rack and run a dehumidifier by it overnight in the least damp room (in our case, the kitchen by a drafty backdoor). Washing dries in one night and the amount of condensation in the house has gone down dramatically compared to when we used to drape wet clothes over radiators in every room.

It really works and we have pigletjohn to thank for pointing out where our condensation was coming from, on an earlier thread.

We also had a leak under the bath and a blocked gutter, which wasn't helping matters.

LadyMaryChristmas Fri 11-Jan-13 17:07:19

I use a drier and never put wet clothes on the radiators. I get a little condensation on the windows but it's a few centimetres deep. I did read on here somewhere that cheap cat litter can help soak up any excess moisture?? confused I try to make sure the house is well ventilated. It can get a little chilly though and it can take a while for the log burner to start going.

I hope I'm doing the right things.

PigletJohn Fri 11-Jan-13 17:09:37

I have occasionally used laundrette driers for duvets, and found them stunningly expensive.

see if you can manage a home drier

btw if the bathroom has no extractor, that will also create a lot of humidity and condensation.

I feel rather ashamed that I never thought about the washing making the condensation worse [doofus]

BalloonSlayer Fri 11-Jan-13 17:46:11

In our old house I used to use my Mum's old method of going along the gaps between the windows with a loo roll and a blunt knife, pressing the loo roll into the cracks to keep the air out.

Remove in spring and marvel at how black, soggy and rank it is!

(if you get a condenser dryer it doesn't need to go in the kitchen, it can go anywhere. But not in a cupboard < still remembering our old dryer catching fire > )

PolterGoose Fri 11-Jan-13 17:48:19

Mooncup, I wouldn't advise sealing up the windows, with film or otherwise, increasing heat does not get rid of the moisture and by sealing the gaps you reduce ventilation, which just makes even more moisture stay in the house. Similarly, if you are prone to condensation on windows, when you replace with double glazing it doesn't get rid of the moisture, it will just go somewhere else, like your coldest walls, behind furniture, inside cupboards...

Virgil Fri 11-Jan-13 17:50:18

We only have one room in the house where the windows are not double glazed, the hallway where we have original windows. We run a dehumidifier at night and have been shocked at the fact that every morning it is full. It removes a massive amount of water from the air and is much better during the winter than having the windows open and freezing.

I think I'll just try to dry the washing on the line outside when I can - save it up for the weekends - instead of washing and drying on the radiators everyday. I can't think of anywhere in our tiny flat where we could physically fit a tumble dryer ...

FairyPenguin Fri 11-Jan-13 18:04:11

We bought a tumble dryer, and had to redecorate the rooms that had mould on the walls and ceiling, firstly using a fungicidal wash on the walls, then also a base coat that contained a fungicided. Then we got double glazing.

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