Condensation is caused by an imbalance of airflow, heating and ventilation resulting in a rise in relative humidity within the atmosphere of a property. As warm air, which holds more water vapour than cold air, hits a cold surface such as a wall or window the air cools and is unable to retain all the moisture. The moisture it cannot hold is released and deposited in the form of tiny water droplets onto the cold surface.
Where does condensation appear?
Condensation can appear at any height, on almost any cold surface and where there is little movement of air most commonly windows, north facing walls, corners and behind furniture. This distinguishes it from rising damp, which almost never occurs at heights of more than 1.2 metres over external ground level and which is confined to walls that are in contact with the ground. Unlike condensation, rising damp normally results in the brickwork or masonry, being of higher moisture content, than the plaster/render.
When is condensation most common?
Condensation is most common in the colder months of the year when the heating is turned on and windows are kept shut. It will also occur if there is a lack of ventilation in a property particularly in rooms which generate a lot of moisture, mainly bathrooms and kitchens. Property layout, living habits, number of occupants and insulation can all effect condensation levels.
What are the signs of condensation?
There are a number of common symptoms of condensation and these include:
- Streaming wet windows
- Damp and musty smell
- Mildew on fabric and leather
- Crumbling plaster and peeling wallpaper
- Walls damp to touch
- Black mould on walls, the ceiling and behind furniture
- Rotton timber caused by rot and possible beetle infestation
- Possible worsening of respiratory problems for property occupants.
Why does condensation need to be kept to a minimum?
In its less serious form, condensation may steam up windows and mirrors. In more severe cases, it can be absorbed by surface wall finishes and underlying plaster, which can cause dampness, although the under-lying brickwork or masonry will normally be of relatively low moisture content. Left untreated in a property, condensation and the increased moisture it creates in the air can lead to a range of problems, such as:
- Damage to walls, plasters, timbers and furnishings
- Mould, which as well as being unsightly and damaging to a property can also aggrevate asthma and produce allergic reactions similar to hay fever due to the sportes the mould produces
- High humidity levels in the property, which creates an ideal environment for the spread of bacteria, viruses and the breeding of house dust mites
- Contributing factor to beetle infestation and fungal decay
Find out more about our damp proofing services.
If you think that your property is suffering from condensation, please contact us to speak to a member of our team on: