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Types of Damp

There are three main types of damp that that may affect your home:

Condensation: Condensation is the most common type of dampness. It can happen at any time but is often a problem between September and April when the air is cooler.  It occurs when moist air, generated by breathing and by activities such as showering and cooking, comes into contact with cold surfaces like walls and windows, appearing as tiny drop of water. Condensation can lead to mould appearing as a cloud of small black dots on a surface, especially in areas where the air is not circulating such as in the corner of rooms and behind furniture.

For information on how to prevent condensation and treat mould, visit the Centre for Sustainable Energy for advice.

Rising Damp: Rising damp occurs, particularly in older buildings, when groundwater rises through walls, floors, and masonry. The brick or stone blocks soak up water from the ground, usually showing as a watermark on the wall up to a metre in height. Rising damp does not normally cause mould, but it can cause rot in skirting boards, damage to walls and increase the moisture in your home.

Penetrating Damp: Penetrating damp occurs when water enters the building fabric, usually through an external defect.  Water may penetrate through porous walls, damaged brickwork, degraded mortar, defective guttering and downpipes, roof damage and dilapidated or poorly installed windows.

Damp can also be caused by leaking pipes and appliances which should be repaired immediately.  It is worth being prepared and knowing how and where to turn your water off in the event of a leak.

Reducing damp and mould in my home

Information on reducing condensation and getting rid of mould is available from our partner, Centre for Sustainable Energy (

Report an Issue

If you rent your home then you first need to write to your landlord/agent to report the issue, giving them a reasonable time to fix it.  Chase it up with them in writing if they don’t take any action. If you are not happy with the response from your landlord, you can make a complaint about your housing conditions using the online form.

If your home is owned by Somerset Council, please refer to Damp and mould ( where you will find details on what to do and who to contact.

Last reviewed: August 7, 2023 by Adam

Next review due: February 7, 2024

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