What can I do about condensation in my home?
All houses can be affected by condensation and it can cause mould, damage clothes, furnishings and decoration, and leave a musty smell. Both condensation and the problems it causes are often mistaken for damp. Damp usually leaves a tidemark and depending on the cause would need remedial treatment to eliminate it. The advice below will help you to prevent condensation before it becomes a problem, let you know what to do to treat any areas already affected and help you identify the differences between damp and condensation.
What is condensation?
Condensation occurs when the moisture in the air gets cooler and tiny water droplets appear on surfaces, for example when your mirror mists over after you have a bath. It usually happens during cold weather and appears on cold surfaces and places where there is little movement of air, especially in corners of rooms, on or near windows, in or behind furniture. If left untreated mould will begin to grow.
How to prevent it
Follow the simple steps below to considerably reduce condensation by producing less moisture and keeping your home well ventilated:
- Always using lids for saucepans and don’t leave items boiling for longer than needed. Keep the internal kitchen door closed and window open slightly when cooking.
- Keep the bathroom door closed during and after bathing. Run the hot and cold taps together to minimise steam and open a window to allow it to be released outside. Open the window straight after bathing, to get rid of the moisture.
- Dry clothes outside, or in the bathroom with the window open and the door shut. Vent tumble driers outside if they’re not condenser versions.
General advice for good ventilation
- Keep all rooms ventilated by slightly opening windows and keeping doors shut, particularly when the room is in use. This helps release any moisture and prevent it spreading around your home.
- Don’t block airbricks or window vents.
- When you go to bed, close the bedroom door and keep a small window ajar or when you get up, open the window and keep the door closed for a couple of hours to get rid of the moisture produced overnight.
- Maintain a low background heating, especially in cold weather even when there is no one at home. Turning the heating up and down when you come in or go out causes condensation when the air and surfaces cool down.
- Flueless liquid, propane gas or paraffin heaters mustn’t be used, as every gallon of paraffin or gas burnt produces approximately 1 gallon of water vapour, which causes condensation.
Decorating your home
- Wardrobes and other large items of furniture should not be placed directly against external walls. Pockets of trapped air can lead to serious surface condensation and mould growth on the walls and furniture. Leave space between the back of the furniture and the wall. Leave wardrobe doors open slightly. Put floor-mounted furniture on blocks to allow air to circulate underneath.
- Curtains or internal blinds on windows can increase condensation on the glass by reducing the window surface temperature. This problem can be reduced by leaving the window open a little.
- Where moisture is produced in large quantities, wallpaper is not recommended. A fungicidal or anti-mould paint should be used instead.
- The walls surrounding windows and doors are colder areas and attract water vapour, which turns into condensation. It’s recommended that these areas are painted to allow condensation to be wiped away easily.
Last modified on July 3rd, 2017 at 11:29 am