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An Introduction to Condensation in the Home

Date posted: 7 December 2016

Condensation is the most common damp problem found in homes, often causing unsightly streams of water on your windows and even damp patches on your walls.

What is condensation?

Condensation is caused when moist air – air that has a high relative humidity – comes into contact with cold surfaces, at which point the water collects as droplets. The most obvious place to spot condensation is on your windows, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, but you may also find damp patches on your walls, particularly in the corners of rooms or behind furniture. 

Signs of condensation

Some of the symptoms of condensation and associated problems include:

  • water droplets on windows or walls;
  • dark mould on glass or window frames; and
  • an unpleasant smell.  

Don't let condensation damage your home

  • Left untreated, condensation can:
  • damage the paintwork and plaster in your home;
  • cause wooden window frames to rot;
  • encourage damp and mould growth, damaging both your home and your health; and
  • penetrate your walls and wall cavities, causing interstitial condensation, which harms the very structure of your home.

Why have I got it and what can I do?

Most homes suffer from condensation to some degree, but there are certain conditions that tend to make the problem much worse.

  • Homes often suffer more in the winter months simply because at this time of year the walls are much colder than the air inside the house. 
  • Activities such as cooking, showering, boiling the kettle and laundry washing contribute to condensation levels, so it is important to open a window or use an extractor fan whilst carrying out these tasks, and until steam / moisture has been reduced to a normal level again. You can also help to prevent moisture from spreading throughout your property by closing doors whilst undertaking these tasks.
  • Condensation also becomes worse when ventilation is poor. Some modern, energy-saving measures can actually contribute to the problem, such as installing air-tight double glazing, as can the removal of unused chimneys. This is especially true in older houses that were designed to "breathe" -- letting dampness out of the building -- but have since been adapted to be more air-tight, preventing the necessary flow of air. "Trickle vents" can be retro-fitted to windows and doors, if necessary.
  • If you switch your heating on and off this enables warm, damp air to condense and can therefore make condensation problems worse. Instead of repeatedly switching heating on and off, try keeping it continuously on at a low level.
  • If you leave condensation the moisture remains in your home. Always wipe off any condensation from your windows using a cloth.
  • Invest in a dehumidifier to really tackle the problem effectively. Read on to find out how this will dramatically reduce condensation in your home.

Here's how a dehumidifier solves the problem

When there is excess moisture in the air it is drawn to the coldest point in the room. When it hits a cold surface such as a window, it condenses, causing unpleasant condensation. A dehumidifier prevents this from happening by itself becoming the coldest point in the room - attracting the excess moisture to the unit, which extracts it and traps it in a water collection tank for easy disposal. 

You can set up most modern dehumidifiers to maintain your desired humidity automatically – and the level usually recommended is between 45-50%. The machine will switch itself on and off automatically in order to maintain the correct level without requiring your manual input. This helps you to create a consistently comfortable, healthy environment even when you are not at home – while at the same time protecting your property from damage caused by condensation and mould.

At Best at hire, we have a wide range of dryers and dehumidifiers available for hire , to help with those condensation and damp issues.Please speak to one of our representatives who would be happy to advise on the most suitable model for your task.

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