Can Condensation Cause Damp
Condensation is a common sight on windows on cold mornings. Droplets of water form on cool surfaces when warm, moist air meets them. This is because the amount of water vapour the air can hold depends on temperature. Cooler air can hold less moisture than warm air, and as a result, when the air cools, it deposits the water in the form of condensation – this is effectively the same process as rain.
How Condensation Leads to Damp
When condensation is allowed to soak into porous materials such as wood or plaster, it can become trapped below the surface and over time the amount of moisture will build up to the point where it saturates the material.
Over time, if the source of moisture is removed, the damp area will be able to dry out, however in the case of condensation, the moisture is replenished every time the air cools, and as such, the drying process does not have a chance to happen.
The Consequences of Damp
Once damp has become established in a wall or a piece of wood, it can begin to break down the material.
When damp builds up in window frames, the wood will begin to rot. The rotten material is softer and less resilient to damage, and this can cause the frames to swell, or split which might allow additional water to soak in from outdoors and make the problem worse. Rotten window frames will usually need to be replaced.
Damp patches in walls are often noticeable as stains spreading through the paint or wallpaper. The underlying colour of the plaster will come through the paint and create a tide mark that outlines the damp area. Beneath the surface, damp patches in walls will cause the plaster to begin to crumble, and you might notice the paint or wallpaper starting to peel before the plaster begins to flake away as a moist powder. When plasterwork has been significantly damaged by damp it will need to be replaced, which can be an expensive process.
Mould growth is another direct consequence of damp. Damp provides the ideal environment for mould to begin to grow, and you may notice this in the form of very dark green or black blotches growing on walls. Mould releases spores which can be damaging to health – particularly for people with respiratory conditions such as asthma. You can remove mould on the surface of a wall using a fungicide or dilute bleach, but some species such as toxic black mould (Stachybotrys Chartarum) need to be removed professionally. As with the underlying damp, unless the source of condensation at the root of the problem is removed, the mould will return.
Reducing the Effect of Condensation
There are some steps you can take to reduce the amount of condensation in your home such as not drying towels on radiators or using pan lids and closing the doors when cooking, but to permanently stop condensation and prevent it causing damp, you will need to look at how well your home is ventilated.
Ensuring that your bathroom and kitchen extractor fans are well maintained will help to remove a lot of water vapour at source and prevent it escaping into other rooms in your home, but if you have a more widespread problem with condensation, you might consider a whole house positive input ventilation system (PIV), which has the benefit of drawing in fresh, filtered air from outside and gently distributing it throughout all rooms to displace the moisture laden air that causes condensation.
Positive Input Ventilation systems such as EnviroVent’s Atmos are very energy efficient and operate all the time. They improve air quality throughout your whole home and create a more event temperature in all rooms that stops condensation for good.
Find out More
If you have discovered damp from condensation in your home, it is important to deal with the root of the problem before it gets worse. Our local specialists can help you identify the causes of condensation in your home and take steps to stop condensation for good. Simply enter your postcode below to find a ventilation specialist in your area who can conduct a free home survey and give you advice about the best way to stop condensation from developing into damp or mould.