What is condensation?
Condensation is caused when water vapour comes into contact with cold surfaces and condenses to form dampness or water droplets.
Air can contain varying amounts of water vapour; warm air can hold more water vapour than cold air. When warm air comes into contact with a colder surface, it cools down and can’t retain the same amount of water vapour. The excess water vapour is released and forms condensation.
Water vapour is invisible in air and is formed when you breathe and when you carry out normal daily activities in the home. It is also formed as the materials used in the home’s construction dry out.
Condensation in the home
Condensation is not normally a building fault. It can occur in a new home because building materials, such as mortar and plaster, contain a lot of moisture. Water vapour is formed as the materials dry out when the home is lived in and heated. This is a slow process that takes some time to complete.
Modern homes are built so that they don’t waste energy. Better insulation, draught proofing on doors and sealed window units minimise draughts and stop heat escaping from your home. But they also reduce water vapour escaping, which can increase the risk of condensation.
Normal daily activities (such as taking showers and baths, washing and drying clothes, cooking and boiling kettles) produce warm air containing a large amount of water vapour. If the warm air can’t escape through an open window or air vent, it moves around until it finds a cold surface where it cools and forms condensation.
Homes that are heated intermittently are more likely to suffer with condensation problems than homes that are heated continuously. This is because continuous heating keeps the surfaces of the rooms warm which reduces the risk of condensation forming on them.
Condensation is most likely to appear on windows, colder parts of walls, around external door and window openings, and where ceilings and floors meet with outer walls. It can also appear in areas where air circulation is restricted, such as inside cupboards and behind furniture that is placed against an outside wall. If condensation keeps on occurring in the same place, it can sometimes cause black mould growth.
Controlling water vapour levels is important when living in modern, well insulated homes. You are unlikely to prevent condensation in your home completely, but you should aim to reduce it to a level so that it doesn’t cause problems. The following advice should help you to achieve this.
Produce less moisture
Stop moisture spreading through your home
Ventilate moisture away
Provide even heating
If you notice mould growing in your home, you should treat it straight away to stop it from spreading and causing more damage to your home.
Need more advice?
If you have a severe case of condensation in your home, which does not improve by following the guidance in this leaflet, please contact Trueman Estates for more advice.