Damp Homes on the Rise in UK

Close-up of a window and cill with black mould growing
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Apr 12, 2023
4 minutes read

Thanks to the spike in energy costs, plenty of UK residents have stopped heating their homes altogether in an attempt to save money. As a result of this, more and more people are living with mould and damp in their homes. A survey from Utilita of 2,000 people saw 24% seeing mould in their property, while a good 21% are living with damp.

42% of people from the survey have reduced their heating during winter specifically because of the rise in the cost of energy. People have put up with condensation, with 20% saying they suffer from excessive amounts of it on a regular basis, and this causes issues with mould and damp. Despite this, almost ¼ aren’t sure why these problems are occurring.

Most commonly, windows were the problematic surface, but walls and ceilings were next. At least 33% of people struggle with the removal of stubborn mould, despite implementing measures to prevent it. These included ventilating clothes drying space, keeping lids on saucepans when cooking, opening windows at night and even buying anti-mould products.

Dehumidifiers were bought by 36% of people, but a staggering 71% spent an average of £92 on products to combat these humid conditions in the last 18 months. Considering the UK Government gave households £400 in energy support, any part of that money should not have been spent on combatting the problems resulting from a lack of home heating.

The issues surrounding the energy crisis have hit renters even harder, with 34% living with mould, while only 22% of homeowners are. Help from landlords wasn’t on offer either, as 44% of tenants who asked for help didn’t hear back. Alarmingly, the survey revealed that ¾ of renters don’t know about their legal rights in relation to damp.

Plenty of people surveyed believe that there hasn’t been sufficient help from the government, despite not scrapping the Energy Bills Support Scheme, which ended last month. 61% of people would have liked to have seen more support from either the government or local council.

The issues with condensation and damp have caused ¼ of people to throw away soft furnishings, 23% replace clothes and, drastically, 12% move home altogether. When it came to removing condensation, mould or damp, 60% resorted to wiping down the surface and 22% then put a heater closer to the area.

Perhaps the most alarming statistic to come out of this survey was how 79% of people were not aware of home energy improvement grants and how these can help avoid condensation, damp and mould. Homes that are not so well insulated might benefit from the ECO programme, which helps those least well off to improve their home with insulation or other energy efficient measures. Energy suppliers operate this scheme.

Even the additional help from the ECO+ scheme, which launched this month, may be able to benefit you. Designed to supplement households who don’t qualify for ECO4, houses can apply for better insulation to retain heat and reduce problems with condensation and damp.