Ever heard the saying ‘great oaks from little acorns grow’? Well, it is a suitable way to describe the impact condensation can have if left to its own devices. Condensation occurs when warm air collides with cold surfaces, or when there’s too much humidity in your home. Central heating can be a common culprit when it is programmed to come on in the cooler hours of the mornings and evenings. Our air here in the UK is often saturated with moisture, which turns back into water droplets when it hits cold surfaces – we see this as condensation.
Why is condensation so bad? It is a big tell-tale sign that the humidity inside your home is excessive. If left undealt with you will soon fall victim to some unsightly scenes such as black mould growing around windows and on the walls and ceilings in your property. Aside from the fact it looks ugly, copious amounts of black mould in your home can lead to some nasty health issues such as skin rashes, sinus problems and in severe cases, bronchitis.
Tackling the issue…
1)Get things under control by cleaning the water droplets from your windows, mirrors, glass shower screens as soon as it starts to appear (a window cleaner’s squeegee will be your best tool for this), then use a wipe away any condensation you find on walls and other surfaces with a clean, dry towel.
2) Once under control, it is time to take preventative measures, so it does not come back again. This might include:
– investing in a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of humidity in your home. They will remove much of the moisture saturating the air in your home, helping to keep your surfaces dry.
– When cooking, prevent excess steam being released into the air by keeping lids on your saucepans, and using your extractor fan (if you have one). Alternatively, keep a window open when cooking or using the tumble dryer, taking a shower or even drying clothes on a clothes airer.
– When taking a bath or shower, keep the door shut, but keep the fan on. This might seem an odd move when trying to aid ventilation, but keeping the door closed prevents the humid air travelling to other areas of your home. The extractor fan should do all the work for you – if you do not have an extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen, it is a clever idea to get one installed.
– Heat your home evenly to avoid condensation forming on cold surfaces altogether. This is best achieved from keeping your thermostat at the same level in every room, and if there are any rooms you rarely use, keep the door to them closed and aim to open the windows in these rooms for a few hours a day to keep condensation from forming.
3) Long term, you might consider switching to double-glazed windows as they stay much warmer than single-glazed ones, and therefore do not experience as much condensation. Similarly, improving the insulation in your home to keep your walls above the dew point (the temperature at which moisture in the air turns to water droplets), would be a sound investment.