During the winter, it is more common to see condensation forming on windows and walls in your home. Colder temperatures outside mean that there is a bigger temperature difference between indoors and outdoors, and so, any water vapour that is held in the air is more likely to be deposited on cold surfaces.
Depending on the temperature, air in your home can hold different amounts of water vapour – this is known as humidity. At warm temperatures, the air holds much more moisture than at cold temperatures. When air cools quickly, as it does when it contacts a cold surface such as a window or exterior wall, it can no longer hold as much water vapour, and this is then deposited in the form of droplets on the surface. This surface water is known as condensation.
Condensation itself is not a major problem in your home, however it can lead to serious issues. If condensation soaks into porous surfaces such as walls or wood, it can cause damp patches to form. Damp can cause wood to rot, plaster to crumble and will affect your décor: wallpaper will start to peel away from the plaster, and paint will bubble.
More worryingly, damp patches create the perfect environment for mould to grow. Mould can be extremely damaging to your health. The spores that it releases are allergens that can affect younger children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Any home appliance that releases moisture into the air contributes to the humidity levels. As water is heated and turns into steam it is carried away into the air and when that air meets a cold surface, condensation will form. During the winter when we tend to stay indoors more with the windows closed, and use our heating, the amount of moisture coming from appliances such as your washing machine increases and adds more water vapour to the air, which in turn will form condensation.
Any appliance in your home that heats water in some way will contribute to the humidity levels that cause condensation. The most common sources of condensation in most homes are:
If you dry clothes on your radiators, this will also lead to condensation, as can warm water fish tanks, paraffin heaters, and wood burners. Your boiler should be vented to the outside of your home, and as such will not normally add to the condensation levels in your home.
There are two main ways to reduce the amount of condensation that forms in your home:
Improve ventilation: By using extractor fans when cooking, bathing, or using your washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher, you can quickly reduce the amount of moisture that is in the air nearby. Extractor fans with moisture sensors can adjust their power levels when there are higher levels of humidity to deal with the problem more quickly.
Cover pans when cooking: By using lids on pans when they are on the hob, less steam will escape into your kitchen where it could cause condensation. Using pan lids is also more efficient and saves energy as less heat is lost into the surrounding area.
Wait for the dishwasher to cool before emptying: If you open the dishwasher when it is still hot, a large amount of steam will be released into the air in your kitchen. Allowing the dishwasher to cool fully after use will ensure that the steam condenses inside the dishwasher and drains away rather than escaping into your home.
Avoid opening the oven when cooking: If you are baking or roasting food in the oven, minimise the number of times that you open the door. Each time you do, moisture escapes into your kitchen and can contribute to condensation. Regularly opening the oven also causes heat loss and means that you use more energy for cooking which increases your energy bills.
Ensure that tumble dryers ventilate outdoors: Tumble dryers release a great deal of moisture as they dry your clothes. Choose a model with ventilation to the exterior of your home to prevent the steam from becoming trapped indoors.
If you are having problems with condensation in your home, we can help. Enter your postcode to find a ventilation expert in your area who can visit your property to conduct a free home survey. They will identify the sources of moisture in the air and provide you with advice about the best way to deal with them to stop condensation permanently.
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