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What Is the Risk of Condensation on Walls

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What Is the Risk of Condensation on Walls

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Feb 14, 2024

Condensation is a common issue in homes, especially during colder months. Understanding its risks and taking preventive measures is crucial for maintaining a healthy living environment. Here’s what you need to know:

The Culprit: Condensation Explained

Condensation occurs when warm, moisture-laden air meets a cold surface like a wall or window. As the temperature of the air falls, the excess water vapour is released which them forms droplets on the surface. On a non-permeable material such as glass, condensation will simply stay on the surface until the air warms up again and it evaporates, but when condensation forms on a porous surface such as wood or plaster, the moisture will soak in and create a damp patch.

This leads to multiple problems.

Condensation provides the ideal breeding ground for mould. In a property with condensation problems, you will often find patches of black mould growing on the walls and ceilings. This can be an unpleasant sight but can also have a serious health impact on people with allergies, underlying respiratory problems, or weaker immune systems. Young children and older people are especially at risk.

Prolonged exposure to condensation can damage the plasterwork in your home. The damp patches will cause the paint to discolour or peel away, plaster to crumble away from the wall and wallpaper will peel. Small areas of damp may be redecorated once dry, but when damp has been a problem for some time, expensive repairs will often be necessary.

The causes of condensation

Understanding the factors contributing to condensation helps address the problem effectively. There are three main contributors to condensation:

Water Vapor Production: Everyday activities such as cooking, bathing, and drying laundry all release moisture into the air. If this air is trapped in your home, the moisture condenses on cold surfaces such as windows and walls.

Temperature: Cold walls and windows are more susceptible to condensation. Proper heating and good insulation is essential to prevent temperature fluctuations.

Insufficient ventilation traps moist air indoors, exacerbating condensation. Open windows, use extractor fans, and allow air circulation.

Reducing condensation

By addressing the causes, you can minimise the problem, and with good ventilation, stop condensation permanently.

The first step you can take is to ensure that less moisture is released into the air. Making simple changes such as drying clothes outside where possible, using pan lids when cooking, and closing the bathroom door when taking a shower can all help stop moist air from spreading around your home.

During cold weather, ensure that you are heating your home adequately. With high fuel bills it can be tempting to turn off radiators in seldom used rooms, or not use the heating at all, however in the long run this will lead to increased humidity and condensation which can be extremely costly to repair.

The most important thing you can do is to improve the ventilation in your home. Ensuring that windows are opened regularly to allow fresh air in and stale air to escape is simple, but not always practical on cold days or if you live in an urban area. You should also ensure that you have appropriate extractor fans in your bathroom and kitchen to vent as much water vapour out of the house as possible when it is being generated. In properties where condensation is a problem away from sources of moisture, whole house ventilation systems can be retrofitted. Highly efficient Positive Input Ventilation (PIV) systems draw fresh air in from outside the house to displace the humid air and prevent condensation from forming.

Find out more

We can help you find the causes of condensation in your home and stop it from developing into damp or mould. Book a free home survey from a local ventilation specialist in your area. Enter your postcode below, and we will visit your property, identify the causes of condensation, and provide advice about the best way to stop it permanently.

Need help with condensation, mould or damp problems?

One of our local experts will contact you to learn more about your problems, offer free expert advice and make recommendations for a permanent solution.

During the free survey we will

  • check Assess any condensation, damp or mould problems in your property
  • check Take readings of the relative humidity levels
  • check Identify any underlying problems and make recommendations for a permanent solution

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