Condensation occurs when warm air collides with cold surfaces. Or, when there’s too much humidity in your home and creates water, which collects as droplets on a cold surface. This is especially common in winter, when your central heating system comes on in the cooler hours of the mornings and evenings. When warm, moist air comes into contact with either a surface or air that is colder than it is, the warm air is unable to retain the same amount of moisture as it did and the water is released either into the cold air or onto the colder surface, causing condensation to form, quickly followed by mould.
It doesn’t matter if you live in an old heritage property or a new-build home, condensation can affect everyone. If you have noticed condensation in your home for a while now, you may also notice mould developing around the window frames and on the walls as moisture builds up in your home.
Condensation starts small, but it can have a big impact. The cause of condensation in your home could be the result of numerous factors. It is important to discover the cause for yourself so that you can put the appropriate prevention methods in place. If you don’t deal with condensation right away, it can develop into a more serious long-lasting problem.
Condensation on the Outside of Windows
Condensation that forms on the outside of your windows is a good thing as it is a natural result from temperature fluctuations in the weather. If you discover condensation developing on the outside of your windows, there is no need to worry. It’s just a sign that your windows are performing well and doing a good job of insulating your home.
Condensation on the Inside of Windows
Condensation that forms on the inside of your windows is usually the result of high humidity levels in your home. All of this excess moisture collects and cools on your windows. Properly ventilating your home is the best way to prevent this problem from worsening.
Condensation Between the Window Panes
What happens when vapor gets in between your window panes and condensation starts to form? Condensation between window panes is a bad sign that your windows have sprung a leak. This means that water vapor has been allowed to get in and is a sign that your windows are no longer performing effectively.
If your windows are new and you have noticed condensation between the window panes, it is likely your windows have not been properly installed. If you discover the problem of condensation between the window panes, it is time to replace your windows as the problem unfortunately won’t get better on its own.
When Does Condensation Occur?
Condensation occurs when warm air collides with a cold surface. The levels of humidity in our homes are always higher during the colder months when the heating is turned up high and the windows are kept closed for most of the day.
High humidity in the home can also cause condensation. Activities like showering, cooking, drying clothes, and turning up the heating can increase humidity. When humid air packed with moisture comes into contact with a cold surface, like your windows, it quickly cools down, releasing the water which turns into small liquid droplets.
While a little bit of condensation probably sounds harmless enough, if it isn’t dealt with it can encourage mould growth, which in turn can lead to harmful health issues including skin rashes, sinus issues, and even bronchitis. So, it is important to reduce the levels of condensation in your home as much as you can.
Condensation on Windows in the Bedroom
Condensation on the inside of windows is the most common type of condensation. The chances are that you will notice a build-up of condensation in three main rooms of the house:
Many people can understand why condensation tends to build up in the kitchen and the bathroom, but why is it also common in the bedroom? The most likely reason for condensation in the bedroom is that we are typically confined to our bedrooms for extended hours during the night, often with the door closed, and this may cause the levels of humidity to increase.
Condensation on Newly Installed Windows
If you have recently had new windows installed, don’t be surprised to see more condensation build-up. Newly installed double-glazed windows are extremely effective at doing their job and, therefore, in this case an increase in condensation is a good sign as it means that your windows are working effectively.
How Double Glazing Reduces Condensation
One of the main advantages of double glazing is how it prevents condensation. It does this by holding a vacuum or layer of gas between two sheets of glass. This means that when heat builds on one side of the window, it has trouble passing through the inner layer of glass, and as a result most of the heat is conducted back into the room. This is how double glazing prevents heat escaping from your home and helps reduce your energy bills.
10 Tips How to Reduce Condensation in Your Home
1. Ensure Washing Machine Is Correctly Vented
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, this effect is only magnified if the machine is fitted in a kitchen as cooking will only add to the condensation.
2. Dry Clothes Outdoors
Where possible, try to dry your clothes outdoors to prevent excess moisture from building up in your property. If you are unable to dry your clothes outdoor then keep them in a bathroom with the door closed and windows open until the clothes are fully dry.
3. Close Kitchen & Bathroom Doors
Bathrooms and kitchens are the worst culprits for condensation. When cooking food, boiling the kettle or taking a shower, ensure that your kitchen or bathroom door is kept closed to prevent the moisture in the air from going into colder rooms which will cause condensation to form if it touches a cold surface.
4. Use Pan Lids When Cooking
When cooking ensure that you cover your pans with a lid to reduce moisture being created from the water boiling. Also, ensure you are using an extractor hood if you have one above the cooker. This is designed to help reduce moisture created when cooking.
Remember, don’t turn off your extractor fan as soon as you finish cooking. The moisture can still be in the air even when you have finished. Instead leave it on afterwards for 10-15 minutes to help to clear the humid air. Another option is to purchase an extractor fan with intelligent humidity sensors which speed up when you start boiling water and slow down once humidity levels have returned to normal.
5. Turn On Extractor Fan When Taking A Shower
Similar to when cooking in the kitchen, when you are taking a shower or having a bath ensure that you turn on your extractor fan to remove the steam and moisture 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 and walls.
6. Stop Using Portable Gas & Paraffin Heaters
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 which is stated in most tenancy agreements as not allowed in rented flats.
7. Cover Up Fish Tanks & Aquariums
Many families have house pets and plants which produce a lot of moisture. Make sure you cover up your aquarium or fish tanks to prevent excess moisture. If damp patches start to appear on your walls or you start to notice more surface condensation on your windows and walls near to your house plants then look to move them outdoors.
8. Wipe Down Cold Surfaces
If you don’t have an extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen then make sure that you wipe down any cold surfaces when you have been cooking or taking a shower to remove any moisture that may have settled on the surface. This excess moisture in the air sits on the surface and will quickly turn to mould if left untreated.
9. Don’t Overfill Wardrobes & Cupboards
Do not overfill your wardrobes or kitchen cupboards. A lack of ventilation and air moisture trapped in warm overfilled cupboards can become a breeding ground for mould as the air is not able to circulate freely inside. You might notice a musty smell or clothes might have a damp feeling to them which is a sure sign that the cupboard is overfilled.
10. Move Furniture Away From External Walls
For the same reason as above, make sure that your furniture is at least 50mm away from the surrounding walls. The air can circulate around the property. Try to ensure that your wardrobes are placed against internal walls in your bedroom which will be less cold than external walls and less likely to cause damp and mould problems.
The Long-Term Solution to Condensation
There are many ways you can reduce the problem of condensation inside your home. Check out this article on the best prevention methods. However, just like many other things in life, preventing condensation is so much easier than attempting to cure it. The best way to avoid condensation in the long-term is to invest in high-quality windows that are properly sealed, providing both effective ventilation and thorough insulation when you need it.
Upgrade You Windows Today
If you don’t have double glazed windows in your home, you should definitely consider an upgrade. Double glazed windows are one of the best ways to protect your home from condensation. They keep your home warmer and drier than single-glazed windows because the levels of condensation are significantly reduced.