Condensation is a widespread problem that affects many homes, especially in winter. It occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces, such as windows, walls, or ceilings, and releases droplets that you may notice as streams on the windowpanes or as puddles of liquid on windowsills in the morning. Condensation can cause various issues, such as dampness, mould growth, peeling wallpaper, and poor air quality. In this blog post, we will explain why condensation is worse in winter, what the risks of too much condensation are, and the best way to resolve the problem.
There are two key reasons why you will see condensation more often in the winter:
Lower outside temperatures mean that there is a greater difference in temperature between the inside and outside of your home. This makes the surfaces of windows and outer walls much colder. The amount of water vapour that the air can hold increases with temperature, so when there is a bigger difference in the heat levels outside, it means that more water will be deposited from the air due to the surfaces being colder than they would be during the summer.
During colder weather we tend to spend more time indoors with the windows closed, and many of the activities that we would normally do outside including drying clothes happen inside. Water vapour is released into the air through many normal daily activities including cooking, showering, drying clothes, and even breathing.
You may notice that condensation can be more pronounced in modern homes. This is because they are designed to be energy efficient and well insulated. With fewer draughts and natural ventilation, the warm, moist air is prevented from escaping outside.
Although it can be a pain to dry out windows in the morning, the condensation itself is not a major problem, although if it builds up it can lead to more serious issues:
Dampness: if the moisture from condensation is allowed to soak into walls or ceilings it will start to create damp patches. These can damage the structure and appearance of your home. Dampness can also cause unpleasant odours and collect dust which attracts dust mites – these release allergens that can be troublesome for people with respiratory problems such as asthma.
Mould growth: Once damp has become established, mould will quickly follow. Mould can grow anywhere where there is sufficient moisture and nutrients. During the winter you may notice it growing in dark patches in poorly ventilated areas and on walls and ceilings in your bathroom or bedrooms. Mould can cause health issues, such as allergies, asthma, and respiratory infections, as well as damage your belongings, such as clothes, books, and furniture.
It might seem straightforward, but the best way to prevent condensation is to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. Here are some practical tips to achieve this:
Produce less moisture: Simple changes can help to reduce the amount of water vapour released into the air including:
Increase ventilation: Improving the ventilation in your home helps to remove humid air. Natural ventilation methods such as opening windows to allow fresh air into your rooms may not be ideal on chilly days due to heat loss, but modern extractor fans are designed to work efficiently and remove moisture from the air in bathrooms and kitchens quickly. Some designs incorporate moisture sensors and automatically adjust their power levels to be as efficient as possible. In homes with condensation or mould problems without an obvious nearby source such as a bath or shower, whole house ventilation such as positive input ventilation systems may be more appealing.
Heat your home: You can prevent the surfaces of your windows and walls from becoming too cold by insulating and heating your home properly. You can use double-glazing, draught-proofing, cavity wall insulation, and loft insulation to keep your home warm and reduce heat loss. You can also use a thermostat and timer to maintain a constant and moderate temperature in your home, especially in winter.
If you have discovered condensation in your home this winter and want to avoid future problems with damp or mould that could damage your health, contact us today. Our local ventilation specialists can visit your property to conduct a free home survey that will identify the causes of condensation. They can provide you with advice about the best way to deal with condensation before it develops into something worse. Simply enter your postcode below to find an expert in your area.
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