The treatment and prevention of condensation

Published on: 2nd July 2018

Using the knowledge and expertise you have gained, we are going to identify the treatment methods which can be used to eradicate that unwanted condensation issue within your property. Firstly, we will focus on the key factors to treat condensation, this will depend on the severity of your condensation issue. The three key factors you need to consider are heating, insulation and ventilation.

Heating

Consider controlling your heating, if a constant temperature is provided throughout the building then this will prevent condensation from occurring as the air temperature changes will be less often resulting in a reduction of warm moist air condensing on the cold surfaces. Generally, the warmer the air is the more moisture it can hold and therefore reduces the possibility of the dew point being available within your property onto which condensation can form.

Insulation

There are many ways you can insulate a building when treating condensation issues, however this will be determined by the building type, age and how it has been constructed. If your property has single glazed windows, then the first and most important option will be to install double glazed windows as this will treat the condensation issues you may have been experiencing and could save you money by reducing your heat loss. Adequate ventilation will also need to be considered with this option as it is important to achieve a balance to prevent further issues occurring. Obviously, the more the building’s envelope is ‘sealed’ by insulation, the less effective the ventilation is within it, which can itself lead to condensation. For example, in Victorian era properties, which are notoriously draughty; owners often decide to seal all draft sources in the building, but by doing so, they reduce the ventilation and therefore experience condensation problems as a result.

The installation of cavity insulation is somewhat of a grey area, as many people are for and against its use. The insulation has been reported for being the cause of condensation issues in building where it has been installed. However, installing suitable insulation within your home can reduce the condensation issues. Ensuring it is installed in the correct locations and by a qualified contractor. Therefore, it is important to consider all aspects of your building before you introduce insulation, either to the loft space or walls.

Insulating the areas of ‘cold bridging’ in your property is the most effective way of solving that type of condensation.

Ventilation

When your building is suffering from condensation issues, we first need to look at the means of ventilating the warm moist air out of the building. There are many options we can implement to improve the ventilation of a building, this will depend on the severity of your condensation issues.

The simple method to improve the ventilation is to open a window and leaving them like this more often will significantly reduce the amount of warm moist air trapped within your home and therefore the risk of condensation. The installation of air vents within your walls, chimney stacks, soffits and windows will help reduce the moisture levels too, however specialist advice would need to be provided as this method will increase heat loss and it is important to achieve a balance. This method of control is most effective when you are performing moisture producing tasks within your home, such as washing and drying clothes; boiling food, such as cooking rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. or showering or bathing. 

If your condensation issue is contained to a certain area within your home, then one option would be to install a mechanical extract fan, for example within a kitchen or bathroom where there are excessive amounts of water vapour produced or trickle ventilators within windows. This option will allow the warm moist air to be removed out of the building and significantly reduce the relative humidity within your home, which will prevent the condensation from occurring.

Further options you may consider are the use of a dehumidifier, which helps to reduce the moisture content out of the air. However, these options can be expensive and should only be used as a temporary fix. If your condensation issue is occurring throughout the whole building, then there are options to install a whole house ventilation system which can be installed throughout your property to extract the moisture from all or certain rooms within your home and remove the unwanted moisture. This option will need to be designed and implemented by a professional to ensure the system works efficiently.

Conclusion

So now you are ready to tackle your condensation issues head-on. Just remember the key factors, diagnose to identify the source of the problem, treat the issues by controlling the moisture within your home and last of all, make sure the condensation issue does not return.

Combating condensation - everything you need to know

Most people in the UK have suffered with the dreaded condensation issue at some point in time, especially during those freezing cold winter months. Well there’s no need to worry, if this defect has been driving you crazy then you’re in luck. We have finally prepared the complete guide on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent one of the most annoying defects found in buildings.

Read More....

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Most people in the UK have suffered with the dreaded condensation issue at some point in time, especially during those freezing cold winter months. Well there’s no need to worry, if this defect has been driving you crazy then you’re in luck. We have finally prepared the complete guide on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent one of the most annoying defects found in buildings.

[fulltext] =>

What is Condensation? – The science behind it!

Condensation is produced when warm moist air containing water vapour comes into contact with a cooler surface or the temperature of the air within your property reaches its dew point – the point the air reaches full saturation. This will result in the warm air losing its ability to hold moisture and condensing to a liquid form, usually on a window or cold external wall. If condensation is occurring regularly within your home, this can cause serious damp problems and black mould growth to form on the internal surfaces. The black mould growth is the key indicator for diagnosing condensation, however we will go further into detail later.

Condensation, is one of the most common forms of dampness found within a property. It is so common, that one in five homes in the UK suffer from condensation issues. However, taking this into consideration it is an often underestimated cause of damage to buildings and your health too.

If excessive amounts of water vapour are being produced within your home, this can cause severe issues to the building fabric causing deterioration of the building materials. All materials susceptible to moisture can be affected by condensation in your home, including your new oak wardrobe and all its contents which are now sadly ruined.

So, if condensation is left to thrive, fungal and black mould growth can occur which will not only damage your building, but it can cause major health issues to you and your family. Once mould has begun to form within your property, the fragments or spores will be released into the air. When they are inhaled, this can cause serious health problems such as inflammation of the airways, nasal congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and throat irritation to name a few. The mould growth in your building can be so dangerous and according to the World Health Organization a considerable proportion of the world’s 300 million cases of childhood asthma is attributable to exposure to indoor dampness and mold.

Therefore, to ensure you, your family and your home are safe, it is important to keep in mind that there will always be water in the air, although we may not be able to see it. So, in order to defeat your condensation issues controlling the moisture is key…

Click the links below to find out more about what causes condensation, how to diagnose it and most importantly how to treat it.

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What causes condensation in buildings?

During an average day in your home, there are many activities which contribute to moisture production such as cooking, bathing, heating, washing and drying your clothes and even breathing releases water vapour into the air. Although, it is impossible to stop moisture production the key points to consider are control and prevention, this will allow you to carry on with your day to day activities without the worry of condensation sneaking back into your property. 

Read More....

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During an average day in your home, there are many activities which contribute to moisture production such as cooking, bathing, heating, washing and drying your clothes and even breathing releases water vapour into the air.

Although, it is impossible to stop moisture production the key points to consider are control and prevention, this will allow you to carry on with your day to day activities without the worry of condensation sneaking back into your property. 

[fulltext] =>

To fully understand the potential causes of condensation, we also need to focus on the construction methods and materials used when the building was constructed, extended or refurbished. This will allow us to understand if your condensation issue is because the way your property was built rather than the moisture-producing activities occurring inside.

The other main contributing factors to consider are a lack of insulation within the thermal elements of the building such as walls, roofs and floors. This is generally older properties which were built before the Building Regulations introduced in 1965 to limit the amount of heat loss through the building’s envelope.

The final cause and factor to consider is poor ventilation. The need to adequately ventilate your property is essential to remove that unwanted moisture vapour from causing condensation issues throughout your home. There are various methods which can be implemented to increase the quality of ventilation within your home and we will explore these options later in the treatment and prevention methods.

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How to diagnose condensation?

As condensation is a form of damp, finding the source or cause of the moisture is the most important point to treat the ongoing issue. However, there are several types of condensation which can occur within your property and I have identified these below including how each type can be diagnosed.

Read More....

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As condensation is a form of damp, finding the source or cause of the moisture is the most important point to treat the ongoing issue. However, there are several types of condensation which can occur within your property and I have identified these below including how each type can be diagnosed.

[fulltext] =>

Cold-bridge condensation

Cold-bridge condensation occurs when warm moisture air makes contact with internal surfaces, which are colder (equal to or below its dew point). This is caused by an element in the structure or fabric of the building being allowing coldness to pass through from the external surface to the internal finishes. This is most often caused by the lack of a insulation break between the external face of the building and internal surface (such as around windows and doors). When the warm moist air is produced in the building and it touches these colder elements, this is known as Cold Bridging.

If you are diagnosing this form of condensation, examples of this process include condensation at the base of external walls, condensation on window panes where evidence of decay to the timber frames is apparent, and condensation forming on the undersides of roof surfaces. This form of condensation can also be found when different types of damp are visible such as penetrating damp into structures, as this will usually degrade the insulating properties of the element and therefore form a ‘cold bridge‘, which completes the vicious circle resulting in further condensation. If you have noticed deterioration to timber window frames and/or door surrounds with evidence of flaking paint finishes, or water run-off marks to window and door jambs, which are both key indicators that your damp issue is cold-bridge condensation.

Older readers may remember frost appearing on the inside of windows, but in today’s central heated buildings, the ‘frost’ is now more likely represented in condensation forming and shows a lack of thermal insulation in the window panes, more commonly remedied by installing new double or triple glazed windows.

As mentioned above, cold bridging is more likely to occur on saturated surfaces, as wet surfaces as less thermally efficient. If you have a leak in your property, these areas are more likely to be colder and thus allow cold bridging to occur more readily. You will therefore need to ensure that any leaking gutters, downpipes, heating and water pipes and the like in the area are repaired before being able to treat the ‘cold spot’.

Interstitial condensation

Interstitial condensation can be found in all buildings and can occur when warm moist air diffuses into a moisture-permeable material, usually fibrous wool insulation which is generally used in insulating walls and loft spaces. If one side of the insulation is colder than the other the moisture will continue through the porous material until it reaches a surface cold enough to condense, this is the point where the water vapour will condense to a liquid form and start to deteriorated the building materials. Of course, where condensation forms on the insulating materials it dampens it, reducing its thermal properties, allowing the colder surfaces and condensation formation to creep ever inward, thus being a degenerative defect.

The key indicator of interstitial condensation is mould growth to the wall surface, although the same defect occurs when other types of condensation are apparent the best way diagnose this form of condensation is to focus of the mould pattern. This form of mould can be distinguished by being over an entire surface instead of confined to a corner of the room or a particular area.

Now you can diagnose the different forms of condensation within your building, the final and most important part is the treatment methods. For those of you who don’t currently have a condensation issue but are worried about condensation occurring within your property, we will also detail the prevention methods which can be implemented to ensure this defect does not affect your home.

Warm-front condensation

This form of condensation generally occurs in cold unoccupied buildings within the UK, the process occurs when warm moist air ‘warm front’, arrives from the Atlantic during the winter months and enters cold unheated buildings. This causes condensed water to run down the surfaces of the internal walls and windows which can lead to deterioration of the internal finishes, fungal growth, wet and dry rot. If these issues are left untreated for prolonged periods of time the damage caused to the building can be catastrophic, resulting in major structural issues and expensive remedial works required.

If you have a building which is currently unheated and unoccupied, you may have notice black mould growth and water staining to the interior surface of the external walls. The mold will form on the wall surfaces, generally at lower level where the water droplets have saturated the material finish.

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