What is condensation?
There is always a certain amount of moisture in the air inside your home, although you cannot see it. When warm air comes into contact with a cooler surface, it releases some of the moisture.
This leaves droplets of water on the cold surface – this is known as condensation. The steam and mist that appear on bathroom mirrors or bedroom windows are also examples of condensation.
What causes it?
There are three main causes of condensation in your home:
- too much moisture
- not enough ventilation
- cool temperatures in certain parts of your home
Everyday activities like cooking, bathing, washing and drying clothes, and even breathing, will add moisture to the air inside your home.
Modern improvements such as wall insulation, draught proofing on doors and double-glazed windows have made it easier to keep homes warm. However, these improvements also prevent moisture from escaping and may cause condensation.
Did you know?
Each day, two people carrying out routine activities in their home can add up to 26 pints (or 14.8 litres) of moisture to the air.
Causes of condensation
|Pints of moisture
|Two people being active for one day
|Cooking and using a kettle
|Having a bath or shower
|Drying clothes indoors
|Using a bottled-gas or paraffin heater
If the two people did these things every day for a week, there would be enough moisture produced inside their home to fill an entire bathtub.
What damage can condensation cause?
Condensation can cause damage to your home in different ways, including the following:
- mould growth on walls, fabrics and furniture – this will eventually lead to rotting and increased repair and replacement costs.
- wallpaper peeling off and paint blistering – meaning you need to replace items more often.
- if you have a health problem, such as asthma or bronchitis, condensation may make it worse as you may breathe in mould particles that escape into the air
How do I reduce condensation?
It is impossible to avoid everyday activities that create moisture, but there are simple steps you can take to reduce the levels of condensation in your home.
Make less moisture
- put lids on sauce pans when cooking to keep steam in
- dry washing outside where possible – this prevents water from escaping into the air inside your home
- if you use a tumble dryer, make sure it is linked to a vent to allow damp air to escape
- open a window when cooking, or after showering or bathing – this means steam condenses outside, rather than inside, your home
- keep your kitchen and bathroom doors shut for about 20 minutes after using these rooms – this prevents moist air getting into other parts of your home
- keep window vents open as much as possible – this will allow damp air to escape
Allow air to circulate
- if possible, allow fresh air to circulate in wardrobes and cupboards – this should prevent mould growth
- don’t put furniture against the outside walls of your home, as outside walls are generally cooler and more prone to condensation
Keep your home warm
- when moisture condenses on your walls it makes them feel colder. This will cause the temperature to drop in your home and can increase the risk of mould growth
- if possible, try to keep the temperature of your home above 18°C – most people find a comfortable temperature is somewhere around 21°C
- condensation is more likely to happen if you let the temperature in your home fall below 18°C
- if you keep a steady temperature throughout your home it will reduce condensation and could save you money on heating costs
Remove mould immediately
- wipe off any mould immediately – this will prevent it spreading and causing more damage to your home
- to remove the mould, you should wipe affected areas with a fungicidal solution – you can buy this from most local hardware stores
- fungicidal paint is also widely available and can help to prevent mould reappearing after decorating