Winter in the UK creates the perfect breeding ground for condensation, damp and mould. But your fate is not sealed – a great dehumidifier and some simple tips and tricks can spare you and your home from toxic mould and damp.
Noticed an increase in condensation? Colder weather means more time spent indoors with the windows shut. This, combined with the winter weather conditions we have in the UK, means that if you don’t do something about it, you could start to see damp, or even mould.
We’ve tested dehumidifiers to find out which ones tackle high humidity and condensation like a champ, and which ones buckle under pressure.
While manufacturers test their dehumidifiers at a sweltering 30ºC, our tests put them through their paces at temperatures that more closely the UK. We test all dehumidifiers at 21ºC and 10ºC, so you can choose a dehumidifier that is going to suit your needs – whether that’s your warm living room or chilly garage.
The best dehumidifiers quickly pull water from the air, without using too much electricity. The worst are slower at drying rooms, so you’ll have to use them for longer to do the same job.
Want to know which dehumidifiers tackle humid air the hardest? Our tests reveal the best dehumidifiers.
Your health and mould
Damp and mould are not just irritating and unsightly, they can pose a serious risk to your health.
According to the NHS and the World Health Organisation, damp and mould present in your living environment means you are more likely to suffer from respiratory illness, allergies and asthma.
This is especially true if you or someone living in your home is a baby or child, elderly, or already has pre-existing skins problems, allergies or a weakened immune system.
You can find out more about how to sort out damp – see our guide to dealing with damp.
Your home and mould
Common advice gives a whole list of do’s and don’ts to avoid letting mould take hold of your home. This includes avoiding drying your clothes indoors, moving your furniture away from walls so air can circulate freely, and opening your windows to ventilate rooms.
Sometimes the mould and damp advice is at odds with itself, as it also says to make sure the temperature inside your home is between 15°C and 20°C. You might find it hard in winter to keep your home in the recommended temperature range while also keeping windows open to ventilate rooms. And when it is too cold or wet, it might be impossible to dry your clothes outdoors.
A dehumidifier can help keep humidity in check during the winter months, so you don’t have to choose between ventilating your house and warming it.
Make sure you buy the best model for the job. Read our dehumidifier reviews.
Getting rid of mould
If your home has damp or condensation, prevent it from turning into a mould problem by taking action sooner rather than later. It is better to spend now on a dehumidifier than to have to pay a lot more on mould treatments and risk the health of you and your family.
Once mould appears in your home, it can be very costly and difficult to remove. You have to try to avoid contact with mould spores and it is recommended you replace any soft furnishings, such as mattresses, that have mould or are damp.
In some cases, it might not be possible for you to tackle a mould or damp problem on your own. So you might need to call in a professional to do the job. Once mould becomes a big problem, it could be difficult to keep the costs associated with removing it and and stopping it coming back from spiralling out of control.
If you do have to pay for treatment, make sure you don’t pay over the odds. You can use our research into damp treatment costs to find out how much you should expect to pay – see how much it costs to repair damp.