What is condensation?
When air with a lot of moisture comes into contact with a cold surface, the moisture solidifies into water, which is what we call condensation.
Some temporary condensation is a normal part of most buildings and isn’t a cause for alarm, but if condensation stays on a surface for too long, it can cause damp problems and provide the ideal habitats for unsightly, smelly black mould or lead to rot and other associated damp issues.
Worst of all, damp and mould can cause or aggravate a range of health problems. According to the NHS, “if you have damp and mould you’re more likely to have respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma. Damp and mould can also affect the immune system… Mould produce allergens, irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances.”
What causes condensation?
The short answer: life. Everything from cooking to drying clothes and having a shower can raise the moisture content of the air until it creates the conditions for condensation to form. Even people and pets breathing can release enough moisture to cause condensation.
When condensation becomes a problem is when there isn’t enough ventilation for the moist air to be filtered out; if there is too much moisture entering the home; or there are surfaces that stay too cold for too long. All can lead to stubborn condensation that causes damp and mould, and if they’re all happening at once then it can rapidly make any building a deeply unpleasant place to be.
How to spot condensation
A light mist on a window or a slight sheen on a wall that clears up after a few minutes is nothing to worry about, but if you see a window or a wall that is wet and dripping for hours or even constantly, then it’s time to intervene.
You should also pay attention to the places where condensation might drip down and pool, such as windowsills. Even slight condensation can still cause problems if its forming pools of water which can cause wood or plaster to slowly rot away or grow mould.
How to treat condensation
The best course of action for eliminating condensation depends on the cause, which could be any combination of the following:
- Poor ventilationThe solution may be as simple as opening windows more in the building, but if that still doesn’t create enough airflow or isn’t feasible for security reasons, then you’ll want to have simple trickle vents installed or more advanced ventilation units, which can also control air temperature to further reduce condensation.
- Too much moistureThis likely means you have another damp problem, such as rising damp, lateral damp or penetrating damp. Click on the guides for each to learn more, as treatments can range from quick and easy jobs such as fixing a leaky gutter, to time consuming and invasive procedures like replacing plumbing or installing a damp proof course.
- Cold surfacesThere are many reasons that a wall or window may be too cold, such as structural defects like cold bridges or cracks, or a lack of insulation in walls or single-glazed glass. If the cause isn’t obvious, heat maps can narrow down the location of the cold, helping us to find the most efficient and cost effective solution.
If you have any questions about condensation or want to book a free, no obligation consultation and quote, call us now or request your call back today.