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  • Writer's pictureWalker Building Solutions

Condensation.... What is it and how can you prevent it.

When water vapour in the air within your home comes into contact with a cold surface, it turns back to its liquid form causing condensation.

Some condensation is normal and harmless. Excess condensation, however, can lead to serious problems. For example, it can result in musty odours, peeling or blistering paint, rotting wood, and mould and mildew growth. Among these, mould and mildew growth is potentially the most dangerous. Mould and mildew growth can cause serious health problems, including skin and eye irritations and respiratory problems. Pregnant women and people who already have respiratory conditions are particularly susceptible to these problems.

Condensation can be caused by many day to day activities including cooking, cleaning, drying, turning the heating on and breathing.

The most common reasons for condensation occurring are inadequate ventilation, poor insulation and lack of damp course in period properties.

Period homes often have no damp proof course (DPC), which means moisture from the soil beneath the house rises up into the ground floor rooms, whilst other homes suffer from bridged DPC or damaged guttering.

The Winter months can be particularly susceptible to condensation due to increased usage of radiators and fires which increase moisture in the home. People are also less likely to open windows to avoid letting the heat out meaning that the moisture cannot escape.

Fortunately condensation is the easiest type of damp to fix.

Tips for reducing condensation.

Firstly clear the condensation

- Regularly wipe down your windows to get rid of any moisture to avoid mould growth.

Improve Ventilation – ventilation is key to keeping condensation at bay. It is impractical to keep your windows open throughout the winter so other methods should be considered.

- Always use extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens.

- Trickle vents in windows should be kept open to keep a fresh flow of air

In addition to ventilation you should also consider the heating and insulation in your home.

- Insulating your home well can help improve condensation by raising the temperature of the walls above the dew point – the temperature at which moisture in the air turns into beads of water. Keeping your home at a consistent temperature can really help.

- Keep the thermostat at the same temperature in every room and if there is a room you don't use very often, keep the door closed.

- A dehumidifier can help to reduce the humidity in your home by removing some of the moisture.

-Double glazed windows stay much warmer than single glazed ones and therefore don't experience as much condensation.

Whilst these steps are often enough to reduce the condensation in your home, sometimes more sophisticated methods are required. There are a number of options currently on the market ranging from passive ventilation vents which make use of natural forces like the buoyancy of hot air and wind to more costly methods such as whole house mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) systems. These systems consist of two independent ducted airflows. The extract fan extracts stale humid air from the wet rooms. This air is passed over a heat exchange matrix where the heat is 'recovered' before it is discharged outside the house.. The second fan draws fresh air from outside. It then filters it to get rid of pollution and airborne allergens and passes over the heat exchange matrix to warm it.

If you have any concerns about condensation, or wish to discuss the best approach to dealing with a damp problem please call Walker Building Solutions Ltd on 01905 558416 .

Our specialist team are able to assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of damp problems.

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