Damp is a problem that many people face in the bathroom because of the amount of water and moisture that the room is subject to every day. In houses more generally, most damp issues are caused by water that is getting in from outside, such as rising groundwater or rainwater that comes in from a leaking roof. However, bathroom damp most often comes from inside your home.
You might have noticed that, after having a bath or shower, the walls and windows are wet, even though the water from the shower hasn’t directly come into contact with them. As the warm, damp air created from the shower hits the cold surface of the walls and windows, it condenses and forms droplets of water on these surfaces. Over time, this condensation can cause damp problems in your bathroom unless you take steps to keep the room dry.
Open a window.
Opening a window is the easiest solution to allow the humid air to escape, replacing it with fresh, dry air instead. It’s a good idea to do this before taking your bath or shower, as the condensation can escape straight away rather than lingering in the room. You should avoid opening the bathroom door to get rid of the humidity, as doing so will only cause it to spread to other rooms in your home.
Wipe the surfaces dry.
If you’re worried about the excess moisture causing mould to grow, you could use a towel or dry cloth to remove the majority of the water from the surfaces in your bathroom. You don’t have to worry about making the room completely dry, just get rid of as much water as you can.
Keep the room warm.
The warmer the surfaces in your bathroom, the less condensation will settle on them. Therefore, having a working radiator or underfloor heating installed could not only reduce the amount of condensation but it will also help to dry the room out after your bath or shower. You should regularly check that the radiator doesn’t need bleeding and that your condensing boiler is at the right pressure, too.
Use an extractor fan.
Particularly if the room doesn’t have a window, it’s important that your bathroom is fitted with a functioning extractor fan. If you don’t use the fan and don’t open the window, the humid air will have nowhere to go and mould could develop quite quickly. The fan will help to expel the water vapour outside. Just be sure to dust it every now and then to make sure it’s not blocked with dirt, as this will prevent it from working efficiently.
As mentioned above, there are ways to expel the steam in the room by opening a window or using an extractor fan. But what if you want to reduce the amount of steam that’s created in the first place?
You could take shorter showers that are of a slightly lower temperature. Not only could this be beneficial for the environment and your water usage, but it could prevent mould from growing in your bathroom. The longer you’re in the shower and the hotter you have it, the more water vapour is released, causing an increased amount of condensation. Therefore, reducing the amount of time you’re in the shower, for example, from 10 minutes to five minutes, could make a big difference.
As long as you have an openable window in your bathroom, you don’t need an extractor fan according to Building Regulations. For cloakrooms that only contain a small sink and a toilet, a window is sufficient. If you’re renovating a bathroom and having a new suite installed, the current extractor fan must be kept or replaced, however if the room doesn’t have one at all, you do not need to provide a new one.
A bathroom fan will only be really effective if it’s left on for enough time to expel any humid air. The device should be turned on before your bath or shower and turned off around 20 minutes after you’ve got out of it. This is if one person is having a shower. If multiple people want to use the appliance one after another, the fan may need to be left on for longer.
As mentioned previously, having a source of heat in your bathroom, such as a radiator, can help the room to dry out and prevent a buildup of condensation, but it’s important to make sure the radiator is working properly. If the top half feels cold, then it could need bleeding. Below, we’ve explained how you can bleed your bathroom radiator or towel rail.
First, it’s important to turn off your central heating and allow at least 30 minutes for the system to cool down - you don’t want to scald yourself with hot water.
Then, you can locate the bleed valve, usually at the top of the rail, and use your radiator key to turn it anti-clockwise. You’ll hear the air escaping and a small amount of water may come out. When the hissing sound has stopped, tighten the bleed valve by turning it clockwise.