Do you sometimes come into your home at the end of the day and the walls feel damp or wet to the touch?
Do you wake in the mornings and the inside of the window panes are covered in vapour?
Is that carefully hung wallpaper peeling away at the corners, or bubbling in all the wrong places?
Chances are you have a condensation problem in your property. Before you panic and call in expensive commercial damp proofing experts to solve the problem, it could have a simple explanation behind it. If you go through our check list below then a few simple tweaks may solve the problem once and for all and save yourself thousands in remedial costs.
But do not delay in getting it sorted – if the problem persists you could end up with bigger – and more expensive – damp problems to solve, as well as damaging the health of those who live in the property.
What Is Condensation?
First and foremost it is important to understand what condensation is, and what causes it. In short, it is the opposite of evaporation, when water is turned into vapour. Condensation happens when vapour touches a cold surface. In a bathroom, warm steam will hit the surface of a cold mirror and turn into condensation. So condensation in your home is the result of general vapour in the atmosphere hitting the cold surfaces of your home – usually walls and windows.
If your property does not have sufficient ventilation, the warm air which contains the vapour cannot escape. As a result it floats around until it finds a cold surface to settle on. This is particularly prevalent in homes where the heating goes on and off intermittently.
What Damage Can Condensation Do?
If left untreated condensation can wreak havoc across a property, seeping into woodwork and compromising its integrity, getting underneath paintwork and wallpaper causing it to bubble and peel, eating into sealants around windows and doors, opening it them up to deeper damage.
You may start to see the appearance of mould, usually in the corners of ceilings and walls. The more your condensation problem persists, the more it feeds and waters any mould growth.
An unexpected consequence is the damage it can do to electrical appliances. Water can drip into the appliance, causing them to be fault and dangerous to use.
As well as damaging your property, unchecked condensation can be detrimental to your health. Damp and mould in the home is dangerous for those who are already ill and vulnerable, but can also be the root cause of respiratory illnesses in many – particularly the elderly and the very young.
How To Protect Against Condensation
We don’t realise how much vapour and steam we generate through simple, everyday activities, so when conducting the following, check that you are protecting yourself against the build up of possible condensation at all times.
- Do you have decent ventilation in your kitchen and bathroom. You need to have an extractor fan over your hob, and another in your bathroom if there is no opening window.
- Maintain a constant temperature – while escalating energy costs might encourage us to switch the heating off unless absolutely necessary, it will actually be more expensive in the long term than keeping the heating on at a steady, consistent lower temperature. This will help to keep the fabric of your property warm, eliminating the cold surfaces which attract condensation.
- Dry clothes outside – during the winter it can be a tricky job to dry clothes. When and where possible dry clean laundry outside. If you have to dry them inside, invest in a simple clothes horse and place it close, but not on top of, a radiator, and an open window to increase ventilation.
These small but effective tips should help you to eliminate the worst of any condensation build up. If it persists, then do not hesitate to call out a professional. The longer you leave it, the greater the potential damage.