The pilot scheme for council homes in the region will be put to the council’s communities committee, who will be asked to agree the plan that will see a ‘main control property’ selected that has a standard cavity-wall and full gas central heating.
Also included in the control property will be adequate levels of insulation, double glazed windows and mechanical ventilation – although other house types will also feature in the pilot scheme.
Staff from the council’s housing and property section have been undertaking a study on the impact of condensation and damp and how it can be reduced in council homes. In a report prepared for the committee, officials say that property design has resulted in homes being more energy efficient – but also more airtight.
The report says: “While improving the overall condition of a property, these factors do however restrict natural ventilation and in turn can result in a build-up of condensation and/or dampness if the property is not properly ventilated.
“It is essential that occupants open windows and ventilators or use mechanical ventilation – extractor fans – to mitigate the risk.
“The majority of tenants who contact the council with a dampness problem assume that it is the fabric of the building that is causing the issue. In many cases, however, the problem is really one of condensation.
“Officers do remind tenants about the need for adequate heating, ventilation and the importance of having air movement within the property.”
The report recognises that some tenants live in hard to heat properties and face financial pressures through heating costs – and that ultimately prevents them from adequately ventilating their home.
A lack of natural ventilation can lead to a build-up of moisture and mould growth, with the problem most prevalent from October to March when householders use their heating more and are less likely to open windows to prevent heat escaping.