Condensation is the most common form of damp in the home. The appearance of mould in a domestic property is the largest single source of complaints received by local authorities and the private rental domestic market over the past 20 years. Condensation is also seen in industrial premises and particularly problematic in breweries and food processing factories.

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Why and when condensation occurs

Condensation is most common in the winter months because as the weather deteriorates and becomes colder, so too does the external wall temperature. When met with the warmth of your cosy home, this can cause the moist air to condense to the coldest surface. Condensation never occurs for one reason; there are always three or four contributing factors. These include poor ventilation, heating variations, occupancy changes, cold bridging, and also, whether the house faces North, East, South or West and the type of walls that is solid brickwork or cavity construction. When diagnosing why condensation is occurring, all these factors must be considered.

Condensation is easily recognisable by water droplets on windows or walls. Furthermore, an unusual and sometimes unpleasant smell is also a sign of condensation as is unsightly black mould, which is a common indication that condensation is occurring.

Condensation facts:

  • Dampness and consequent condensation in buildings is a serious problem.
  • Conditions in a damp property are generally unpleasant, uncomfortable and unhealthy.
  • Condensation and damp are a health risk, particularly to the young and elderly. This is a real issue and a serious problem that is not commonly appreciated.
  • Condensation in buildings occurs when warm air condenses against a cold surface; this is called a Dew point and causes the vapour to convert into liquid. Think of a boiled kettle scenario!
  • If condensation occurs within the fabric of a building, it can go unnoticed and cause structural damage. Dry rot is a common consequence and very expensive to treat.
  • Adding insulation with no ventilation without a proper assessment will cause condensation.
  • There is a real danger of condensation occurring where the movement of air behind furniture and cupboards is restricted.
  • Condensation can occur in the roof voids and loft area, especially if you improve insulation without considering ventilation.
  • Condensation can occur under the floor spaces with restricted or inadequate ventilation, which can cause timber decay.

Condensation Control:

Condensation can be managed on a day to day basis and with a proper understanding of air movement and how it is produced.

Ventilation is vital for condensation control; however, when ventilation is considered, an overall assessment and solution should possibly include the whole house.

  • Install a humidistat-controlled extract fan within the bathroom or shower room – preferably a heat recovery type.
  • Install trickle vents to all windows.
  • Install passive vents to outside walls.
  • The cooker extract hood should always be turned on when cooking.
  • Regularly clean and check all fans to make sure that they are operating correctly.
  • Keep large pieces of furniture away from walls by two to four inches to improve air movement.

If your property suffers from condensation, then you need to take action. Call us today to discuss your case further, and we can carry out a proper assessment and provide you with a detailed report and remedial specification.

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