As the clocks change and the evenings get darker, we are reminded that the winter weather is just around the corner. During the winter months, we start to feel the cold more and this brings our attention to the damp and condensation issues that are lurking in our homes.
Condensation is perhaps the most common form of dampness that can appear in your property and can cause wallpaper to peel, damp patches to appear on walls and a build up of moisture on your windows. Left untreated the condensation can create mould growth which can be potentially harmful and lead to serious health issues and breathing difficulties.
The reason condensation appears in your property is due to a lack of adequate ventilation. As we spend more time indoors and make our property more energy efficient the build up of moisture and humidity levels increase.
In fact, four people living in a 3 bedroom property would create 112 pints of moisture a week from just breathing, cooking, showering and boiling the kettle.
So how can you reduce the condensation in your property?
If you constantly have to wipe condensation off your windows and have a dehumidifier running for lengthy periods of time then you may want to think about whole house ventilation as a permanent solution to condensation and to improve the air quality indoors for your tenants or family.
If you are looking for a short term fix rather than a permanent solution then here are our suggestions to reduce the condensation levels in your property:
- If you have a washing machine or tumble dryer in your property, ensure that it is vented correctly. From just one load of washing two litres of water is emitted into the air.
- Where possible, try to dry clothes outdoors to prevent excess moisture escaping into your property. If you have no choice but to dry clothes inside we would always advise that you open your doors or windows in these rooms.
- When cooking, boiling a kettle, taking a shower or bath, ensure that your kitchen or bathroom door are kept closed to prevent steam going into colder rooms which will cause condensation to form.
- When cooking ensure that you cover your pans with a lid to reduce moisture. Also ensure that you have opened a window or you are using an extractor fan if you have one fitted. Don’t turn off the extractor fan or close the window as soon as you finish cooking - leave it open for 15-20 minutes afterwards to clear the air.
- Similar to when cooking in the kitchen, when you are taking a shower or a bath ensure that you turn on an extractor fan or open a window to get rid of the steam that is created when running warm water in a cold environment. This will help reduce the amount of condensation that appears on your bathroom windows but won’t eliminate the problem.
- Portable gas bottles and paraffin heaters produce a lot of moisture, along with a lot of toxic fumes. Not only is this form of heat causing excess condensation in your property, it is also a health and safety hazard and is stated in most tenancy agreements as not allowed in rented flats.
- Many families have house pets and plants which produce moisture. Make sure you cover fish tanks and if you are suffering from excess condensation look to move your plants outdoors.
- If you don’t have an extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen then make sure that you wipe down the surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen when you have been cooking or taking a shower to remove any moisture that has settled on the surface. This excess moisture that sits on the surface will quickly turn to mould which is difficult to completely remove.
- Do not overfill your bedroom wardrobes and kitchen cupboards. With lack of ventilation and trapped warm air your overfilled cupboards are a breeding ground for mould as the air is not able to circulate freely inside.
- For the same reason as above, make sure that your furniture is at least 50mm away from the surrounding walls so that air can move around the property. Also try to put wardrobes against internal walls in your bedroom which will be less cold than external walls.
- Ensuring an adequate amount of heating in your property will improve the internal temperature of surfaces in the house and reduce the likelihood of condensation.
- If you use a room on a regular basis, such as a living room, open a window slightly to improve the ventilation in the room. Breathing is a major cause of condensation so this will help to improve the ventilation in your property.
- Double glazing, loft insulation and draft proofing will help to reduce the amount of heat that is lost from a property. Installing insulation will help to keep the temperature of the surfaces inside your property high.
- Adequate ventilation is essential to allow the moisture to escape from a property before it turns into condensation. Installing an energy-efficient extractor fan in the kitchen and bathroom can improve the humidity levels and prevent condensation.