Condensation in the home

Condensation in your home can cause real problems if your home is not ventilated correctly and can often lead to mould outbreaks.

Water vapour is constantly being created in your home from a variety of different methods, the water sitting in the toilet pan is constantly evaporating although it is so slow that you will not notice it under normal conditions but if you were to leave the toilet without flushing it for a month or so you would notice a considerable drop in the water level. Bathing, showering and cooking also help to create moisture laden air in the home as well as just breathing!



Here is an example of condensation. This water bottle has just been removed from the fridge and almost immediately condensation forms on the outside of the bottle. You can imagine the amount of water that would settle on a large area of your home such as a cold wall.

So what happens to the moisture laden air ?

Well in most cases it settles on cold surfaces such as plaster walls, timbers etc. in the form of condensation. Take a look at the cistern on your toilet in cold weather when the toilet has recently been flushed, the water in the cistern has entered the property from outside and the temperature of the water may be just above freezing. Because the inside of your home is warm this means that there is even more moisture in the air and this will settle on a cold surface such as a cold toilet cistern. It is quite common for a cistern that has been filled a few times in cold weather to generate enough condensation on the surface that it becomes really noticeable and people often think that the cistern is leaking!

When condensation is a real problem in homes it can often be confused with rising damp or penetrating damp as the effects on the property can be quite profound. Mould can often appear in places where the condensation has settled, cold walls and places where there is no ventilation such as behind furniture etc. can compound the problem and make it worse. Mould is never a good sign in a property and can cause health issues for the people living in the property, especially if the occupants have an underlying medical complaint. Probably the most successful of controlling condensation is to ensure adequate ventilation. Today's modern houses with double glazed windows and almost no draughts certainly do not help when it comes to dealing with condensation. An extractor fan in the bathroom and the kitchen are a must and can really help to reduce the amount of condensation. You can also follow these tips to reduce the amount of condensation in your property.

  • Insulate the property where possible as this will mean that there are fewer places for the condensation to appear.
  • When cooking ensure the extractor fan is switched on, or open the window. Also keep the kitchen door closed and keep the lids on boiling pans.
  • Do not dry wet or damp clothes over radiators or on a maiden, try and dry them outside of the property or use a tumble drier that vents externally.
  • Avoid using bottled gas heaters or paraffin heaters as these produce moisture when burning.
  • When bathing or showering ensure that the extractor fan is switched on or the window is left open, ensure the bathroom door is closed to prevent the moisture laden air being transferred to other rooms.