Propertyscouts Invercargill

Propertyscouts Invercargill tips to keep a house Warm and Dry in Southland - 4th Sep 2015

At Propertyscouts we are very proactive in teaching tenants how to look after your property in Southland.  Because the climate is different from other parts of the world and NZ for that matter, we make sure we give advise right from the beginning of our tenancies.  Attached to our Tenancy agreement we have tips on how to keep warm and dry in Southland homes.  This is just part of the great service we offer our Property owners and Tenants as Property Managers in Invercargill.

What are condensation and mildew?
Condensation is water which collects as droplets on a cold surface. Condensation can often be seen on windows in the morning (especially those with metal frames), but is also common on walls and ceiling linings. Condensation not dealt with can cause rot to set in and mildew growth.

Mildew is very like mould and is a form of fungi growth. It is usually either black or white and thrives in moist and warm conditions. Mildew can appear in a number of places in a house including on window frames, wallpaper, curtains and ceilings, as well as on shoes and clothes in the wardrobe.

Condensation and mildew are issues as they can permanently damage the property and in serious cases, can result in health issues for those living in the property.

Why would I get condensation and mildew in my house?
Condensation and mildew are both due to moisture issues and are mainly winter problems in Invercargill.

Condensation happens when there is too much moisture in the air, and the air can no longer hold it. This means it transfers to other surfaces, like windows. The higher the temperature, the more moisture the air can hold.

Mildew is caused by spores in the air that can be found in every house at all times of the year. Mildew becomes a problem in winter because:
House temperatures are higher relative to outside; and,
There is a high level of moisture present (including condensation).
Both of these factors together result in a humid house where mildew is able to thrive.

How can I manage condensation and mildew?
The best way to keep your home warm and dry is to manage the humidity in your house – this can be done through ventilation and heating.
Heating your house will raise the temperature and allow the air to hold more moisture, reducing condensation. It’s best to keep the house warm, but not too hot. As a guide, keep the house at least 5°C warmer than outside at all times. A little heating kept on continuously does more good than heating during evening only.

Ventilation removes moisture generated from the house which is caused by day to day activities like cooking, showering, clothes drying, breathing etc.
Ventilation is essential in order to avoid condensation and mildew. If there is insufficient ventilation then mildew and condensation will continue to be issues, even if the house is kept warm.

It is best to ventilate little and often - lots of windows open slightly are better than one open fully. If the windows start steaming up, then open them wider.

Everyday tips
In addition to regular heating and ventilation, here’s some everyday tips to help you avoid moisture problems:
Make sure there is always airflow between your furnishings and the floor. This includes bed mattresses which need to be on a base and all couches should have legs attached.
When showering or cooking, use extractor fans (if you have them) and keep windows open as wide as possible.
Use lids on pots when cooking and don’t boil anything harder or longer than needed.
Avoid drying clothes inside. If you have to dry clothes inside, make sure windows are kept open.
Leave bathroom and kitchen doors closed during and after cooking or showering to prevent steam from entering to the rest of the house.
If you have a dehumidifier, make sure you use it.
Wipe down windows with condensation on them.
If you do see signs of mildew, clean it off immediately to avoid it becoming an issue in future.

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