Condensation

Finding condensation in your home is a common problem for many homeowners across the UK. Whether it is a period property, new home or bungalow, the problems associated with condensation affect all of us.

What is Condensation?

Have you ever noticed the droplets of water that form on the outside of a canned drink when you take it out of the fridge? This is condensation and the reason why it happens is all to do with temperature, air and water vapour.

The temperature on the surface of the can is reduced as air passes over it. As the air gets cooler its relative humidity rises and the water vapour turns into moisture. The air passing over the can is unable to hold onto the moisture which ends up as droplets running down the side of the can’s cold surface.

This is what happens in thousands of households across the nation when the temperature drops inside the home, especially at night time when the heating is turned off. Just like the canned drink, the air reaches the point where it can no longer hold onto to all the moisture that we create in our homes and it migrates to the coldest surfaces – the windows and walls – where it appears as condensation or the more familiar sight of streaming windows.

How to spot condensation?

  • Streaming windows and walls
  • Damp areas on walls
  • Wallpaper peeling
  • Mould growing on window frames, walls and ceilings
  • Soft furnishings and fabrics become prone to mould and mildew
  • A musty damp smell in the property

Condensation is arguably the most common form of dampness and can eventually lead to the growth of mould. It forms on internal surfaces when the temperature drops sufficiently below the temperature of moist air inside the property. You should watch out for it because if left to develop, condensation can lead to an unsightly, musty property. More importantly, it can also aggravate or trigger health problems such as asthma and wider complaints.

What Causes Condensation?

The causes of condensation within our homes

Let’s take a closer look at what causes condensation in our homes.

Through the daily routine of showers, baths, boiling kettles, cooking, drying clothes and breathing a family of 4 will contribute approximately 4 pints of water per person a day, equal to over 100 pints of water vapour a week, which has to end up somewhere.

Before the days of double glazing, wall and loft insulation this humid, stale air would find its escape route through ill-fitting windows and doors, lofts and so on. It would be replaced by fresher, colder air or to you and me draughts!

Three important factors that cause condensation:

  • The level of moisture in the air
  • The temperature of the air in your home
  • The surface temperature of the windows

The more moisture there is in the air the more likely it is that you will get condensation.

Today, after the introduction of energy saving measures such as draught proofing, double glazing and cavity wall insulation there is no natural escape route for this stale, humid air, which is now trapped inside the home. As a result, this trapped and stale air only makes the problem worse, causing condensation on windows, walls and poor indoor air quality.

Condensation Prevention

With careful planning it is possible to prevent condensation build up in the home. Condensation prevention will help ensure that your property remains damp and mould free and save you having to spend more money in the future having to continuously remove condensation.

Tips to reduce condensation:

  • Try to keep the inside temperature reasonably constant
  • Avoid drying clothes indoors.
  • Do not dry clothes over any radiators
  • Ensure tumble driers are properly vented or the condensate is regularly emptied
  • Keep furniture away from walls
  • Do not disable extractor fans
  • Ensure extractor fans are well maintained and adequate

Many people will choose to open a window to remove condensation within the home, the problem with this is that the weather outdoors tends to have more moisture and a higher humidity than indoors which will cause more condensation problems once you close the window. Having humidity levels of 50% or higher in your home can damage your property and can make allergies and asthma problems worse.

Will a dehumidifiers prevent condensation?

Dehumidifiers were seen as the solution to moisture problems the drawback with these units is that they are only effective in the room that they are placed, they need to be emptied on a daily basis and they can consume anywhere between 50 to 800 Watts.

To prevent condensation in the home you need a continuous source of fresh air. Good ventilation of kitchens when washing or drying clothes or cooking is essential along with a source of ventilation in your bathroom to remove moisture from taking a shower or bath.

Unfortunately, due to the British weather the extent of the condensation problem can be so bad that prevention on its own will not solve the problem and you will need to make arrangements to control the condensation in your home.

Once you have taken the necessary measures to prevent condensation from getting worse it is important to take action to ensure that the condensation is kept under control. Condensation control will only be permanent if a constant flow of good ventilation is provided to the home.

Areas to control condensation in the home:

  • Kitchen(s)
  • Bathroom(s)
  • En-suite(s)
  • Toilets
  • Utility room

However, if the problem you are experiencing is severe, especially in the rooms listed above and the surrounding areas, it could mean that the existing extractor fans are unable to cope with the volume of moisture being generated.  Investing in a whole house condensation control unit will guarantee that the home is ventilated and free from condensation.

EnviroVent’s Mr Venty Range of condensation control units work by delivering fresh, filtered and clean air into the home, gently ventilating it using a technique called Positive Input Ventilation (PIV). This method dilutes high levels of humidity and harmful household contaminants, creating a healthy all year round living environment free from condensation.

The good news is that hundreds of thousands of households across the nation have already successfully taken steps to control the condensation within the home by getting a condensation control unit installed.

These days condensation dampness is no longer associated with poor housing; it is becoming a growing problem within homes which have been refurbished with energy saving materials such as double glazing and cavity wall insulation. Becoming energy efficient means we need to ensure that we ventilate correctly so that the property can breathe.

It can even cause problems in new build properties if the ventilation fitted is not adequate enough for the household and the dwelling!

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