Of all the damp problems that can affect a home, condensation is probably the least serious at first and the easiest to fix. But that can be misleading because it is also the root cause of a number of much more serious problems that can lead to the kind of damp that affects the structure of your home and your health.
What is condensation?
Condensation happens when water vapour turns into a liquid. This normally takes place when warm air with tiny beads of water molecules in it touches something cooler, such as a wall, window or piece of furniture. It can also happen on anything from the ground outside to a glass of warm liquid.
On its own, there are lots of ways to put condensation control measures in place and avoid the need to call a damp expert. But if the problem isn’t dealt with it can allow other, more serious problems to gain a foothold in your home and then you begin talking about issues such as damp and your health or worrying conditions such as dry rot affecting the entire structure of your home.
The first and most important part of condensation control is ventilation. While this might sound complicated, it can be something as easy as opening the window to allow air to flow. Other methods of ventilation include air bricks – these are bricks made with small holes to allow air flow as well as window vents and even roof ventilation tiles. All of these automatically ventilate your home without you needing to do anything.
The most important places for ventilation are the bathroom and kitchen as these are where the warmest, moist air occurs. Fans can be a great step to help deal with the problem and there are also dehumidifiers that can take the moisture out of the air. Around 4 in 10 people now use one of these in their homes to help manage condensation.
Heating and insulation
Managing your heating and insulation can stop condensation and also help control electricity bills so this can be a good step to make. By having the heating at a constant temperature rather than turning it on or off, you can keep condensation at bay and keep your home at a steady temperature that is more pleasant and more energy efficient.
Likewise, having insulation to the right standard keeps the warmth in your home and stops cold spots where condensation can form. Cavity wall insulation is one example but even traditional insulation in the roof space can make a big difference.
There are also lots of smaller tips that can help deal with condensation in your home. Things like covering pans with their lids to stop the release of warm, moist air into the room and leaving a little space in wardrobes for air flow can all help ease the problem and reduce the need for a damp expert to visit the property and deal with a much more serious problem such as black mould or dry rot.