Condensation Fact File

9 October 2014

Condensation dampness is a very common problem in properties as it is associated with the way in which the property is occupied. These issues can become exaggerated especially within the colder months of the year due to the lack of ventilation and heat. With condensation season around the corner our condensation expert have a few hints and tips to explain the effects condensation can have on a household as well as looking at ways to alleviate these issues.

Condensation on a window pane

There is always moisture present within the air, even if you cannot see it. During the winter months when the air gets colder, this moisture cannot be held in the air and tiny droplets of water condense on the cooler surfaces. This usually occurs primarily in the kitchen or bathroom where there is a source of atmospheric water.  Moisture is released into the air through every day activities such as drying clothing, washing, ironing, cooking and showering etc. Condensation usually occurs near windows and cooler areas that may not be heated sufficiently enough compared to the rest of the property.

Condensation becomes an issue if left for a period of time and can cause issues such as staining and mould growth. These problems can cause damage to the surface upon which it condenses on, such as window frames, wall surfaces, wall paper, furniture and even clothing or material, as shown in the photograph below.

Mould growth on a bag

Signs of a condensation problem

The most common tell-tale signs for condensation are the musty smells and the development of mould growth. Condensation mould growth usually appears in black, yellow, white or green coloured spots, depending on the type of mould and the surface in which it develops on. In order for the mould to germinate there has to be a high levels of surface water which can only be produced from condensation rather than penetrating and rising damp.  The smell is usually a damp, musty smell and can be quite pungent in severe cases, you may even smell the damp before you identify where it is.

When condensation develops to mould growth it can then become a potential health risk. The tiny spores produced by the mould increases the number of dust mites within the property as a result of the moist conditions. This can lead to respiratory problems and also agitate occupants that may already suffer from asthma. It is therefore important to identify the condensation earlier and alleviate the issue before it causes further problems to the property and the occupants.

Condensation mould in a bedroom

To prevent this issue from occurring during the autumn and winter months it is necessary to maintain a reasonable balance between heating, ventilation, and insulation however it is also dependant on the occupant’s lifestyle.

Our experts have provided a few handy tips that can help alleviate these issues that help the situation within the property.

Ways to keep humidity levels down

  • Placing lids on pans whilst cooking food
  • Using a vented dryer to dry clothes or visiting the local laundrette – avoid drying clothes on radiators
  • Opening windows for an hour or longer on warmer days if possible and when this is not possible leave windows on ‘trickle’ to allow airflow.
  • Keeping the windows open in the bathroom and kitchen or use extractor fans if they are fitted when utilising the rooms.
  • Using a roof ventilation system can help reduce condensation

Ways to keep fresh air circulating

  • Airing the house out when possible
  • Using less strong-smelling cleaners and air fresheners
  • Keep on top of the dusting using micro-fibre cloths and vacuum regularly
  • If you are a smoker, or have smokers within the property, smoke outside the house
  • Using central heating or electric heaters rather than log burners and gas fires
  • For wooden or laminated flooring use large rugs or installing under floor insulation

Further advice of controlling condensation

The condensation control pages on this website are full of tips and advice on controlling condensation within property. For further advice or to arrange a condensation survey call your local team on 0800 288 8660 or complete the online condensation survey request form.