Condensation forms on the windows and walls of buildings when warm, moist air comes into contact with a colder surface. If the surface is at the dew point (the temperature at which moisture condenses out of the air), then condensation will form on the surface.
Condensation problems are worse in the winter, because windows are colder from the lower external temperatures, and internal temperatures tend to be kept higher, which also involved more moisture in the air.
If left, a condensation problem can become a mould issue, leading to property damage and health problems, so it’s important to remove it promptly when it is present. However, there are things that you can do to undertake condensation control in the home.
There are various lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce the amount of condensation in your home.
Opening a window in the bathroom whilst showering, and keeping the door closed, allows steam to escape outside the house, instead of adding to the humidity inside.
Similarly, using an extractor fan, such as https://www.restorationuk.com/condensation-products/single-room-heat-recovery-ventilators/product/kair-heat-recovery-room-ventilator-k-hrv150, or opening a window in the kitchen whilst cooking, will keep humidity levels down. Ensuring pan lids are on will not only keep moisture inside, but will also reduce fuel bills.
Heating the house evenly, by maintaining thermostats at the same level and closing off unused rooms, will help to eliminate cold surfaces for the condensation to form on in the first place.
Prevention better than cure
As with many issues affecting buildings, preventing condensation build up before it occurs is easier than curing it once it is present.
Effective ventilation in the building is crucial to preventing condensation build up. Fitting extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom will remove steam from the atmosphere, generated by cooking, boiling a kettle, showering or bathing. If the steam is not cleared immediately, leave the fan operating for a few minutes longer.
Checking and investing in good quality insulation is also a wise move. Effective insulation will maintain the walls of the building above the dew point. Good quality double glazing has a similar effect. By adding an insulating air gap between the pane of glass in contact with the cold outside air and the internal pane, the surface that the warm, moist air contacts will be above the dew point and this will therefore prevent condensation from forming.