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Cold means mould – protect your property

By Sophia Wood-Burgess

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In late winter, cold and damp creep in. It takes quick action to protect your property, and energy prices can make it even more difficult this year. Here are our best tips to keep the mould out through the cold season.

Why is there more mould in winter?

So many things cause moisture in the home. Cooking, showering, washing our clothes…but in winter, it’s worse. Condensation forms when warm air hits a cold surface, which can cause mould especially in areas with less airflow, like behind the dresser against a chilly external wall.

Keeping on top of mould

If you deal with mould immediately, you can avoid some problems. You’ll need to use a fungicidal cleaner that says it is recognised by a Heath and Safety Executive ‘approval number’. You can also dry-clean mildew off clothes and shampoo carpets.

If you’re an owner/occupier or a landlord, consider a fungicidal paint in problem areas, which’ll kill off any spores and keep mould from returning. If mould is becoming a bigger problem, you can hire a professional for solutions like increasing insulation on the external walls or installing better ventilation.

Let us know on My Foxtons

If you are a tenant with Foxtons, the best way to let us know about a mould issue is to log it on My Foxtons, so we can pick it up with your landlord.

Keeping on top of condensation

You can also stop mould before it starts by combatting condensation.

• Piling wet clothes onto your radiators cuts off airflow, so if it’s too cold to dry them outside, you might need a dehumidifier by your airer.

• So many of us keep kettles near the socket on our worktop. But if your wall cabinets (and the space behind them) are steaming up, your cuppa could run you up a big bill.

• Some windows have trickle vents – a little rectangle attachment which you can slide open. Some windows need to be propped open. However, even just opening the window for five minutes at the end of your shower can help.

These little actions can actually make a big difference. Overall, you should clean frequently and keep an eye out for condensation – stop it happening where you can and wipe what you find away with a clean cloth.

A consistent temperature inside the house one of the biggest factors in combatting condensation. However, winter bills are especially tight this year for many people, so it isn’t always possible to keep rooms between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius as the Energy Savings Trust recommends. We can, at least, share a few ideas for keeping heat in your home:

• Seal any gaps: draught excluders, re-sealing draughty windows and even DIY window insulation kits can make a big difference in keeping heat in and cold out.

• Give your radiators TLC: bleeding and maintaining your radiators ensures they're working efficiently, maximising their warmth.

• Close internal doors: it’s easier to heat smaller spaces, so close internal doors to trap heat in your rooms.

What else can cause damp?

In cold and rainy London, so many things. If you’re unsure where the damp is coming from, it’s best to get a damp surveyor. However, here are a few common causes:

• If you notice damp around external walls, look outside. There may be a blocked gutter or drain.

• ‘Damp-proof course’ keeps damp from seeping in your walls and floors, but it naturally deteriorates over time, which causes rising damp – especially in ground floor flats.

• Penetrating damp can happen when roofs start to deteriorate. It can also come through cracks in the brickwork.

If I’m a landlord…

Especially if your property is susceptible, the best way to protect your tenant and your property is through quick responses and proactive management:

• Inspect the property at regular intervals and respond quickly when a tenant raises concerns.

• Ensure your property has working vents and fans.

• Repair leaks and plumbing issues promptly. If your property is fully managed, we can organise and oversee any work you’ve agreed to, and confirm the issue has been fully resolved.

We can sort all this on your behalf, from regular inspections to prompt repairs, if you have our fully managed service. You don’t need to have listed your rental with Foxtons, either, to use Foxtons Property Management. If you want less stress as a London landlord, get in touch today:

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