A plague on both my houses! A tale of mould, condensation and poor ventilation in student accommodation - Greenwood


22 August 2014

A plague on both my houses! A tale of mould, condensation and poor ventilation in student accommodation


By Stewart Hicks, 2 year sufferer of poor ventilation

Whilst studying at university I had two different residencies both of which were semi-detached. The first property was a 5 bedroom building, lacking much in character but usefully close to public transport options, whilst the second was a large 8 bedroom property (a nursing home conversion). In contrast this 2nd place had a little too much character if you ask me (the previous tenants had left a collection of creepy old dolls in the attic space for us to find one daring evening). If you hadn’t guessed from the title, both had their own horror story and I am not talking about the creepy dolls.

House 1 had a particularly bad problem with mould in the bathroom, where a fan seemed to be making a lot of noise but not really doing much else, and the result was a creeping blackness that spread across the ceiling and onto the outside wall at an alarming rate. No amount of opening a window did the trick, and after numerous attempts to contact the landlord we had to resort to the extreme method of trying to clean it ourselves. Now I don’t need to tell you that this was a potential lawsuit waiting to happen and a similar occurrence in the second house I resided in was even worse. In this case the mould grew on the outside wall of my room behind my television. Again my attempts to prevent this went in vain. I turned the heating up, opened my window and even bought a dehumidifier. The resulting experiment was an expensive failure, and left me rather perplexed about what the cause was.

Having now researched a bit it is rather obvious: bad condensation is a result of poor ventilation and airflow around a house . It is all too easy to think that simply making the house warm with cavity wall insulation and double glazing is enough. Both the properties above had these features and still suffered. Both properties lacked proper ventilation and whilst opening the window and using a dehumidifier can help, the solution is expensive and impractical and is just reactive.  I don’t want my windows open all year round!

We can’t see air, but we need it, especially indoors with moisture, humidity and cooking smells! A properly working bathroom or kitchen fan would have contributed to better extraction and air change throughout the houses (both 1 and 2) and perhaps would have been a more proactive solution to eliminating condensation and mould growth in the first instance.  It’s too late to know there is a problem because then it’s there on your windows and walls!

If you would like to know more about how good ventilation can help prevent condensation and mould growth then register at www.greenwood.co.uk for professional tips and advice.


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