Condensation Tips

Condensation in your home Condensation is caused when moisture held in warmer air meets a colder surface like a window or a wall and condenses into water droplets. Is this happens regularly, mould may start to grow, showing as black/green spores. This usually appears on cold outside walls and surfaces and in areas where air does not circulate well. The moisture created can also cause damage to clothes, furnishings and decorations. It also leaves a musty smell similar that when a leak is present. What causes condensation? Condensation usually occurs more commonly in winter, because the building is cold and because windows are opened less so moist air cannot escape the environment. How condensation occurs: You can often see condensation for short periods of time in bathrooms and kitchens because of the steamy atmosphere. Quite frequently it appears for long periods of time in unused/unheated bedrooms. It also appears in cupboards or corners of rooms where ventilation and movement of air are restricted. This also occurs behind furniture pushed too close to an outside wall. When condensation occurs: All houses and apartment are affected by condensation to some degree. It usually occurs when a lot of moisture or steam are produced in an enclosed space. For example: • When cooking or doing dishes with warm water flowing • Having a bath or shower • Washing clothes • Sleeping in a cold bedroom (condensation from breathing) The main causes of condensation are: • Using portable paraffin or gas heaters – per lite of paraffin or gas, 1litre of waste water is released into the air • Drying clothes inside the house, over or near a radiator • Steam from cooking in the kitchen • Steam from washing or bathing • Lack of air circulation in the home • No ventilation - this can be made worst by too much draught proofing. Use trickle vents on windows where possible • Raising room temperatures suddenly – This can put quickly warmed air in contact with a cold surface (window or wall) increasing the chance of water vapour condensing How can I cut down condensation in my home? The following steps can help reduce and possibly eliminate condensation damp within your home: • Do not use portable paraffin or gas heaters. Even the heat from an electric heater can condense in a cold room. • Try not to dry clothes in your home other than in a properly exhausted clothes dryer. Where this is no practical, leaves doors open, heat the room regularly and leave windows open to allow the moisture to escape. This will prevent moist air circulating in the home • When cooking, the kitchen should be well ventilated. Use the extractor fan and open a window or 2. Keep the kitchen door closed. This will prevent densely moist air circulating around your home • When bathing or washing, keep the bathroom door closed, this again will prevent densely moist air circulating around your home. Switch on the extractor fan if there is one. If there is still a lot of vapour in the atmosphere when you are finished, leave the window open and extractor on until the moist air is clear • Keep furniture such as beds, wardrobes etc, clear of walls to allow air circulation • Keep your home warm and ventilated. This will dramatically cut down on condensation as moisture does not condense in warm air and the ventilation will allow moist air to escape How can I get rid of condensation or mould? Following the above advise will tackle condensation problems. You may even remove condensation altogether. If condensation does occur in your home, wipe up any moisture with an absorbent cloth or towel. If mould has appeared in an area with condensation, wipe up any moisture and apply a mould inhibitor/cleaner which you can purchase at your local hardware store, for example B&Q or Homebase. Difference between ‘penetrating damp’ and ‘condensation damp’: • Penetrating damp – occurs when the fabric of the building lets in water from an outside source e.g through the roof or walls • Condensation damp – build up of water vapour or molecules which condense on a cold surface e.g. windows or walls/ceiling. This usually occurs in the corners of outside walls, or behind furniture (headboards, wardrobes etc) Condensation damp can look very like damp from an outside source but would have no flow of water contributing to it.