Understand the Science behind Condensation and How to Control it this Winter in Your Home

Condensation is a sign of excess humidity in our homes. It happens when warm, moist air contacts a cooler surface, causing the moisture to condense. According to this in-depth article by damp investigation specialists Aspect.co.uk, the most common causes of condensation include drying clothes indoors, showering and even breathing! So where else can condensation occur in our home, why does this happen and what can we do to tackle it? Continue reading to find out.

Before we Start Dealing with Condensation, we Need to Know the Basic Science Behind it

Humidity refers to the amount of water vapour in the air. We usually cannot see it. Relative humidity, in particular, describes the amount of vapour air can hold at a specific temperature. In other words, 100% relative humidity means completely saturated air, typical of warm air because it can hold more vapour.

Condensation happens when water vapour contacts a cold surface lower than the dew point, which is the temperature when the air becomes saturated. Condensation on windows occurs due to excess humidity. Glass becomes colder as the temperature drops outside. Therefore, when moist air contacts the cold glass, it condenses, and water droplets form.

In a nutshell, if you want to control condensation inside your home, make sure the temperature is set correctly, and the humidity levels are just right.

What Else can I do to Control Condensation?

There are many easy ways to control condensation in your home, including:

  • Using extractor fans when showering and cooking and leaving the fan running at least 10 minutes after. Consider fans with a built-in humidity sensor which adjust their speed depending on humidity levels. Also, be sure to cover pans while cooking.
  • Keeping your home adequately heated. By making the temperature of indoor surfaces higher, there’s less chance of condensation occurring. If your home isn’t double glazed or insulated, consider upgrading to make it more energy-efficient. Also ensure the sealant around windows is in good condition. It can disintegrate in time, causing water to leak in.
  • Closing kitchen and bathroom doors. These rooms are where most condensation occurs. So, prevent moisture getting in other rooms by closing doors, preventing condensation occurring on cooler surfaces. Make sure your washer is vented outside as well.
  • Drying clothes outdoors. If this isn’t possible, place them in your bathroom with the door closed and window open. Allow them to dry thoroughly.
  • Leaving windows open when it’s warm. In commonly used rooms like your living room, it’s worth leaving windows open slightly to allow some ventilation. This is beneficial, as breathing alone produces a lot of vapour.
  • Not overfilling cupboards and wardrobes. Doing so leads to poor ventilation and trapped moisture, leading to mould, damp clothing and musty smells. Try and place furniture on inside walls as they are warmer and less likely to lead to damp problems with the contents inside.

Other ways to reduce condensation include not using paraffin heaters or portable gas stoves, wiping cold surfaces and checking the outside of your property for damage. Particularly cracks which allow water inside.

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