One of the biggest problems of modern living is the damage caused by condensation in the home. Anyone who has experienced the appearance and growth of mould in a home can confirm how unpleasant it is, not only is it smelly and unsightly, it can be a breeding ground for germs and infections. A look at the causes, cures and preventions of condensation will enable you to take the necessary steps to eradicate the problem, and to prevent it from recurring.
How does condensation occur?
Condensation occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with a cold surface. Walls, ceilings, and in serious cases floors become covered with moisture which can cause mould, rot, and the growth of fungus. The incidence of condensation is increased if a property is not properly ventilated, the temperature is not moderated, or if excessive moisture is being produced. The cold weather is usually worse for causing condensation because windows are opened less frequently, and more moist air is trapped indoors for longer.
Where does condensation occur?
Some condensation is inevitable in bathrooms and kitchens for short periods after usage, but it can also occur in unheated rooms. It appears on windows, or in cupboards or corners of rooms where air circulation and ventilation are restricted.
Top ten condensation busters
You can reduce almost all the condensation in your home of you follow the Top Ten Tips listed –
- Do not use paraffin or gas heaters – the produce a pint of moisture for every pint of fuel they use.
- When possible, hang your washing out to dry. If you have to dry clothes indoors, put it in the bathroom with the door closed and a window open. Do not dry it on radiators, or in front of the fire. If you have a tumble drier, make sure it has an outside vent to carry away the warm moist air.
- Keep pan lids on when cooking, and use minimal water for cooking.
- Keep kitchen and bathroom doors closed when the rooms are not in use, this prevents warm moist air from spreading to other rooms.
- Ventilate your bathroom for about twenty minutes after use – leave a small window open.
- Ventilate your home for about an hour a day by leaving all internal doors open and opening a small window upstairs and one downstairs, which are at opposite positions in the house. This is called ‘cross-ventilation’.
- When filling a bath, run the cold water first and add the hot water last, this will reduce steam production by as much as ninety per cent.
- Ventilate your cupboards and drawers. Try to ensure they are placed against internal, rather than external walls. Place heavy furniture on small blocks to allow air to circulate underneath, and avoid having furniture flush against walls for the same reason.
- Do not draft-proof every window and door in any room with a condensation problem. Leave the top edges of doors and windows without draft-proofing to allow air to circulate.
- Try to keep some heating in all rooms during cold weather – condensation is caused by cold surfaces so a little heat over a long period of time is more effective than a blast of heat for a short time.
Prevention is always better than cure, and following these simple steps will ensure that the condensation in your property is kept as low as possible, and should not give rise to any serious problems. If mould does appear, clean the area thoroughly with a fungicidal wash and shampoo carpets. Re-decorate with a good quality fungicidal paint, which must not be painted over or covered with wallpaper.