Good ventilation is essential to maintain air quality and remove excess moisture from your home. Having a draughty house is not the same as good ventilation.
As houses get more airtight, they become easier to heat. However this improved airtightness means it's even more important to make sure you have good ventilation to stop the air in your home getting stale and damp.
Make ventilation part of your daily routine
The simplest and cheapest way to ventilate your home is to open doors and windows regularly to allow fresh air from outside into your home.
In summer, open windows and doors in different parts of your home to create a cross-draught, which will circulate air and help keep your house cool.
In winter, air your house at least once a day for a few minutes with wide open doors and windows to create a cross-draught. This will quickly replace stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air.
To avoid condensation problems, ventilate when you turn off the heating - for example, before you leave the house in the morning and just before you go to bed at night.
Ventilation will remove moisture from everyday living most effectively when your home is heated properly because warm air can absorb more moisture than cold air. Learn more about heating your home.
Ventilating your bedroom overnight is also important for maintaining air quality, reducing excessive moisture and the risk of mould growth. You can keep a window slightly ajar on a hinge.
Fit security latches if the window could be used to enter the house.
Make sure you have good extraction systems in the wet areas in the home (bathroom, laundry and kitchen). Fans or extractors need to vent to outside your house, not just recirculate damp air, or vent it to your ceiling space.
Extractor fans need to be sized and located properly for the size and type of room - ask your supplier for advice on this.
Turn your extractor fan on before you step into the shower or run a bath and shut the bathroom door. Leaving the bathroom window open slightly allows air flow into the bathroom and will improve the extractor fan's effectiveness.
After a shower, let the fan run for a few more minutes with the bathroom door shut. Clean your extractor fans regularly to maintain their performance.
Home ventilation systemsHome ventilation systems use fans to move air into your house and can provide continuous ventilation regardless of the weather and without the need to open doors and windows. They will not solve the underlying causes of cold and dampness problems, but can help address the symptoms. If dampness is your main concern then address the source of the moisture problem first, before looking at ventilation systems. If you want to make your home warmer, sort out your insulation and install an efficient heating system.
Learn more about home ventilation systems.