Condensation results from significant variations in the two major types of atmospheric conditions – temperature and humidity.
We’re all familiar with the way windows steam up when we first enter a cold vehicle or a cold room.
Often, this is just a nuisance, and we mop up the water and carry on as normal.
But if your home is regularly affected by condensation, it can eventually cause the structures around which it forms – window frames and ledges and adjoining walls, for example – to become damp.
Eventually, this excess water may soak into walls, window and door frames, and can damage the wallpaper, paint, plaster and eventually the material of the fixtures themselves.
If you spot any signs of damage caused by condensation or have any areas in your home prone to condensation accumulation, you must arrange treatment as soon as possible. Get in touch with us today for a quote, and avoid higher costs in the future.
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Causes of Condensation
Condensation doesn’t have a preference for what types of building or material it attacks. Certain conditions, however, make condensation more likely to develop. If your house is humid, for example, you may be at risk from condensation.
The build-up of condensation on any surface happens as a result of two factors: temperature and humidity.
Humidity results from significant differences in temperature. When the interior of a room is higher than the exterior, the atmosphere inside the room may become humid. When this happens, the volume of water vapour in the air increases. When the humidity inside a building becomes greater than in the air outside, moisture in the air turns to vapour rapidly. The vapourised water then begins to cling to solid surfaces. If the surface is colder than the atmosphere around it the vapour will shift form from gas to water. This is known as the dew point and is when condensation forms.
Busier rooms are more prone to condensation because people’s breath and perspiration create water vapour. We’ve all seen what happens in a school classroom on a winter’s day when the children return from being outside – that sudden activity creates masses of water vapour and, with nowhere for it to escape to, it gathers on the coldest surfaces in the room, which is usually the windows.
Reducing the Humidity
Keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed when they are not in use
Dry clothes outdoors and use a vent when using a tumble dryer
Try not to use heating systems that produce water vapour
Try not to use heating that produces water vapour such as bottled gas
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Removing the humid air
When in kitchen or bathroom open a window or use an extractor fan
Keep windows open and air circulating
Keep large furniture away from the exterior walls
Check any blocked up chimneys, making sure there is enough ventilation
Make sure any cellars and sub floor areas well ventilated
Think about using a dehumidifier where excessive problems are
Keeping the moisture in the air
Do not allow any room to stay cold for long periods
Make sure your home is well insulated
Typically cold walls can be lined with an insulating material
Cavity wall insulation can be expensive, but will give better condensation prevention
Seal any gaps between floor boards or lay thick underlay
Lagging pipes with foam tubes or wrapping them will help prevent condensation on pipes
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Effective Condensation Remedies
The most effective way to ensure that your home doesn’t suffer from condensation is to insulate it evenly throughout. Sufficient ventilation is also crucial.
It may be necessary to use a dehumidifier – you’ll be surprised at how much water one of these can collect! Get in touch with us today to learn more about condensation prevention.
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Condensation Treatment FAQs
Warm air can hold far more moisture than cold air. Often, moisture lingers, undetected, inside a property where the temperature is much warmer than it is outside. Condensation occurs when warm air, which circulates around the room, comes into contact with any cool surface. Windows are a major source of heat escaping from our homes attracting warm air.
Older, poorly insulated windows and walls are something of a magnet for the water droplets in cold air. When warm air collides with cold air, the moisture transforms into condensation. Certain rooms, such as kitchens and bathrooms, are more prone to condensation formation. These rooms must be properly ventilated and insulated.
Condensation won’t disappear on its own. And while you can wipe it away, that’s unlikely to get rid of it completely. Small amounts of condensation may actually be useful, as they allow you to identify weaknesses in your property’s insulation.
It’s crucial to ensure that any areas affected by the formation of condensation maintain enough heat to dry out. If condensation is allowed to remain, droplets of water may seep into tiny cracks in the surface of the walls, windows or furniture.
Contact between water and any other organisms living on the surface will initiate a chemical reaction. This results in the formation of mould. Mould thrives in warm, humid conditions, and, if left untreated, will multiply rapidly. This type of mould is known as black spot mould (Aspergillus Niger).
You can limit condensation forming on surfaces inside your home by keeping it – and them – warm and well ventilated.
But no home can be made completely condensation-proof because nature and humans will always create the kinds of conditions – cold air and warm surfaces – which cause the moisture in the air to turn to water.
Surfaces damaged by condensation must be kept dry and well ventilated. Complete home ventilation systems may be fitted, or extra vents added.
If you have spotted any of the signs detailed above, get in touch with us at Watertighthomes immediately, and we will arrange for a member of our survey team to visit you and prepare a report demonstrating how we can improve the ventilation in your home.