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Damp and mould

Damp and mould in your home is unpleasant and can be bad for your health and wellbeing. It can be worse during the winter when the weather is cold and wet. This year, many people are worried about the cost of living, including paying for their gas and electric. If you're worried, please talk to us - support is available:

We don’t want anyone to be living in a home with damp and mould and there are things we can all do to prevent and deal with it.

We’ve recently worked closely with tenants to co-produce a robust action plan which sets out what we’re doing to tackle the causes of damp and mould, and how we respond to instances that have progressed and require repair.

We treat damp and mould requests as priority inspections, so please report any concerns to us by using our eform here or phone us on 01226 787878. 

Always remember 'STAR':

  • Spot the signs
  • Try our tips
  • Act fast
  • Report it
Spot The Signs, Try Our Tips, Act Fast, Report It
Report damp and mould
Spot the signs

It's important to know what to look out for in your home so you can spot the signs that there might be a problem with damp and mould.

The first sign that there might be a problem in your home is misting and water droplets on windows and other cold surfaces that takes a long time to disappear.

The second sign is patches of black mould growing on your walls and ceilings.

STAR S Spot The Signs Of Damp And Mould

Damp caused by faulty plumbing

A leak from a toilet, shower, sink, or pipe can affect internal walls and ceilings. Damp from faulty plumbing will appear as an obvious damp patch no matter what the weather is like outside. It may get worse after a certain utility is used, for example when the shower is turned on or the toilet is flushed.

If you think you might have a leak, check around the water and waste pipes inside your home, the seals around the bath, shower, and sinks, and any external pipework, such as guttering.

Black mould rarely appears with this type of dampness because the area is usually too wet. Chemicals in waste water will also prevent mould from growing.

Damp Caused By Faulty Plumbing Leaking Water In The Home

Penetrating damp

Penetrating damp is found on external walls and ceilings. It’s caused by water passing through a building defect and will appear as an obvious damp patch, particularly after rainfall. It will dry out as the weather improves.

Penetrating damp can be caused by a number of repair problems, for example:

  • a leaking roof (missing roof tiles)
  • a cracked wall
  • missing pointing
  • leaking guttering or external pipes
  • a leaking drainage pipe
  • rotten windows or doors

Black mould rarely appears on areas of penetrating damp. This is because the affected area is usually too wet and the water contains salt picked up when passing through the wall, which prevents growth.

Penetrating Damp Patch Caused By A Defect Needing Repair

Rising damp

Rising damp is more common in older properties. It generally affects the lower part of the ground floor of a property up to the height of about 1 metre. It can look like a white ‘tide mark’ low down on the wall.

Black mould doesn’t usually come from rising damp as just like with penetrating damp, the water contains salt picked up when passing through the wall, which prevents growth.

Rising Damp Identified By White Tide Marks On The Wall


Most black mould growth is a result of condensation. Condensation is caused by water vapour or moisture inside the home coming into contact with a colder surface, such as a window or wall. It happens mainly during the colder months, whether it’s rainy or dry outside.

Condensation in the home is caused by three things:

  • high levels of moisture and water vapour in the air
  • a lack of ventilation or air circulation
  • a lack of heating 

How condensation can lead to mould growth

Condensation is usually found in the corners of rooms, on walls that face north, and on or near windows. It can also be found in areas where there’s little ventilation and air circulation, including behind wardrobes and beds, especially when they are pushed up against external walls. The water droplets soak into the wallpaper, paintwork or plaster, and in time, black mould can grow on the surface of the damp areas.

For mould to thrive and survive it needs:

  • moisture (from condensation)
  • food (such as wallpaper or emulsion paint)
  • a suitable temperature
  • oxygen

By dealing with the causes of condensation, you’ll automatically deal with the problem of mould. The good news is there are steps you can take to reduce condensation in your home.

Mould Growth In The Corner Of A Room (1)
Try our tips

Try these tips to reduce condensation and black mould in your home:

Windows and doors

  • Open it – open the window or use an air vent. Opening the window slightly avoids draughts and prevents your home from becoming cold. Always do this when using the kitchen or bathroom and close the door to prevent moisture in the air from spreading to other parts of your home. Continue to ventilate the room for a short time after a shower, bath, or cooking, and keep the door closed.
  • Wipe it - wipe the windows and windowsills every morning to remove condensation, especially in the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom.
  • Clear clutter – keep windowsills free of clutter so air can flow freely.
  • Curtains - use thermal or lined curtains and keep them open in the day and closed at night to capture natural heat from the sun and help raise the temperature in your room.

Drying clothes 

  • Dry clothes outside where you can and avoid drying them indoors.
  • If you dry clothes inside, use a clothes airer in the bathroom with the door closed and keep an extractor fan on or a window open.
  • Vent tumble driers to the outside or use a condensing drier.
STAR T Try Our Tips To Reduce Damp And Mould


  • Keep lids on your pots and pans when you cook.
  • Don’t leave kettles boiling.
  • Don’t use paraffin or bottled-gas heaters which produce large amounts of water vapour and are very expensive to run.


  • Close the bathroom door when having a shower or in the bath.
  • Empty the bath or sink when you’ve finished washing so the water can’t evaporate and become condensation.

Furniture and room layout

  • Move it - keep furniture away from outside walls, don’t block chimneys, flues or air vents, and avoid overfilling cupboards and wardrobes, so air can flow freely.
  • Air it - open bedroom windows for up to an hour as soon as you get up and throw back the sheets or duvets to air the bed and bedding.


  • On cold days try to keep indoor temperatures at least 18°C – it’s better to have a low background heat all day rather than heating rooms in short bursts of high heat.
  • Good heating controls on your radiators, room thermostats, and a timer will help control the heating throughout your home and manage costs.
  • Try using a dehumidifier to extract moisture from the air.

Extractor fans

Extractor fans are most found in bathrooms and kitchens to help draw air outside, keeping your air quality fresh.

They help reduce the chance of condensation in the home due to everyday activities like cooking and bathing or showering by letting out a steady stream of air and allowing moisture to escape from the room.

If your property has extractor fans fitted, it’s important to leave them switched on.

We know the rising cost of living has made many people worried about paying their bills. If you’re worried about money and heating your home this winter, please contact our Tenants First team on 01226 787878 or complete the form below.

There’s help and support available during the cost of living crisis, including our warm and welcoming spaces.

Contact the Tenants First team Get help with the cost of living
Act fast

As soon as you spot a problem with condensation, damp, or mould – follow our tips and see if things improve.

You don’t need to leave the mould in place for us to see when we inspect your home.

Safely removing mould

If the area is less than ten square metres, you can safely clean the mould by following these steps:

  • Carefully remove excess mould and any loose material like flaking paint or wallpaper with a damp cloth or sponge. Throw the cloth or sponge away after using it.
  • We recommend using a fungicidal wash that carries a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) approval number to clean the area. Make sure you follow the instructions for using it safely. You can buy fungicidal wash from many supermarkets and DIY stores.
  • Allow the area to dry thoroughly.
STAR A Act Fast To Tackle Damp And Mould
Report it

If a damp or mould problem doesn’t go away when you’ve tried our tips or you’re worried about it getting worse – report it to us.

If you don't know what's causing damp and mould in your home, or you think the problem is being caused by something that needs repairing, let us know as soon as possible.

Report an issue using our eform here. You can also call our Repairs Hotline on 01226 787878 or use our free app to report non-urgent repairs.    

Report damp and mould
STAR R Report Any Concerns About Damp And Mould To Us

Registered address:

10th floor, Gateway Plaza, off Sackville St, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2RD

Berneslai Homes Limited is a company controlled by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales, number 4548803