Condensation is an increasingly common problem in homes, largely as a result of current lifestyles and the use of modern construction materials/techniques in older properties that simply weren’t designed to cope with these changes. However, condensation can be effectively managed when armed with the correct information. Condensation occurs when warm, moist air meets a cold surface. Water vapour in the air condenses on the cold surface and forms water droplets (condensate). Condensation often forms on windows, walls, ceilings, and other surfaces.
Condensation can cause a number of problems in homes, including:
· Mould growth: Condensation can provide ideal conditions for mould to colonise and grow. Mould spores can grow on damp surfaces and cause respiratory problems, allergies, and other health problems.
· Damage to surfaces: Condensation can cause damage to surfaces, especially if it is not cleaned promptly. Condensation can cause paint to peel, wood to warp, and fabrics to mildew.
· Uncomfortable conditions: Condensation can make homes uncomfortable leading to thermal discomfort. Condensation can make homes feel damp and cold.
Fear not, it’s not all bad news. There are a number of steps you can take to mitigate condensation in homes, including:
· Ventilating properly: Proper ventilation can help to prevent condensation by allowing moist air to escape externally.
· Heating properly: Adequate heating will help to prevent condensation and damp issues in your home. Avoid paraffin heaters which create excess moisture.
· Using insulation: Proper insulation can help to prevent condensation by keeping the home warm and preventing moist air from reaching cold surfaces.
· Lifestyle choices: Taking actions such as drying clothes outside, putting lids on saucepans while cooking, closing kitchen and bathroom doors etc. can all have huge impacts on the levels on condensation in homes.
Here are some additional tips to prevent condensation:
· Keep your home's temperature consistent. Low background heating on all day has been shown to help combat condensation.
· Use extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen and keep these operational. This helps to remove moist air from the home. These should be kept well-maintained, free of dust and of a suitable specification for their purpose.
· Open windows and doors to ventilate your home, particularly at times when large amounts of moisture is being generated. This helps to remove moist air from the home.
· Wipe down surfaces that are prone to condensation regularly with a fungicidal wash. This helps to prevent mould growth.
If you have a serious mould problem in your home you should obtain further advice from a mycologist for medical expert to analyse the potential impact on health.
Please get in touch if you have any concerns or would like any further advice.