Did you know that condensation is naturally produced by us going about our everyday lives? For example, two people at home for the day can produce around three pints of condensation and when we add the fact that having a bath or shower can produce two pints of condensation, cooking with saucepans and boiling the kettle produces six pints and running an unvented tumble dryer can produce nine pints it’s no surprise that condensation is one of the most common causes of damp in a home.
Every home is different as are the ways in which we all live our lives. There is no set formula to managing damp and condensation that will work for everyone but hopefully this article will help you to work out what works best for you and your home.
But what is condensation?
Condensation is mainly a winter problem especially where warm moist air is generated in living areas which then finds its way to the colder parts of the building.
Air always contains moisture and warm air holds more moisture than cool air. So, when the air temperature gets colder, tiny drops of water form as the air comes into contact with cooler surfaces such as mirrors, windows and window sills. This is condensation.
Some houses are unoccupied and unheated throughout the day as many people are out at work or school. When the house is empty, the building cools down which means that when people come home and start producing moisture, there is more chance of condensation forming on cold surfaces such as windows and walls.
Although condensation may be more likely on single glazed windows as the inside surfaces of these windows can sometimes be the same as the outside temperature, it’s not uncommon to find condensation in homes with double glazing too. The better a house is ‘sealed,’ the more likely that condensation will occur as any moisture produced can be trapped within the house. This is why ventilation is key when attempting to minimise and avoid condensation forming in your home.
How do I avoid condensation?
It’s really hard to avoid getting condensation but there are a few things you can try.
It’s recommended that you try to heat your home between 18o and 21oC. This is because the higher the air temperature, the more moisture it can hold which can prevent the moisture turning back to water on cold surfaces – thus reducing condensation.
As well as heating, the right ventilation is key. For example, opening a window when you’re taking a shower or bath and putting lids on pans when cooking can help reduce the amount of condensation in your home. If you have extractor fans, these should be left running for at least 20 minutes after taking a shower, bathing or cooking. Try to move furniture away from the wall slightly as furniture placed against the wall can block air flow and cause condensation and mould.
Drying clothes on radiators can also contribute to condensation in your home. Wherever possible, drying all clothes in one room on a clothes horse where you can close the door, open the window or put the extractor fan on will help.
These tips should help to avoid condensation but where you still find it forming on windows or other surfaces, it is recommended that you wipe the moisture up with kitchen towel or a dry cloth. You should also wipe down tiles in the bathroom and kitchen after bathing and cooking and if you have trickle vents on your windows, try to keep them open as much as possible when cooking, bathing and drying clothes.
If it is that you do notice any mould forming in your home you can clean it off using a specialist cleaning product that can be found at your local supermarket. Ensure that it has a health and safety executive approval number and follow the instructions for use carefully. You can then treat the affected area with mould resistant paint.
To find more hints and tips take a look at our #WinterWellbeing campaign here. You can also follow us on Twitter @Bromford and search for #WinterWellbeing or like our Facebook page for regular updates.