Condensation

Condensation is a real problem and where it persists a specialist surveyor should be engaged to explore the cause of the problem and provide advice or propose solutions.

Problem

Condensation is the most common cause of damp and can lead to damage and unhealthy living conditions. When the temperature inside a building drops, the moisture in the air migrates to the coldest surfaces such, as external walls and windows.

Householders often find it difficult to believe that such severe damp problems can be caused by condensation alone. Often they believe there must be some sort of building defect, which is usually not the case.

Often the condensation can occur at low levels where the surface of the wall is coolest, starting in a corner and then spreading along the length of the wall. This may appear to be rising damp and can easily be confused.

If the water vapour in the air of a home can escape somewhere, condensation would never occur. When homes were draughtier and open fires common, damp air would mainly escape up the chimney. Houses are now significantly better insulated, but with nowhere for the moisture to go condensation problems have increased significantly.

Diagnosing condenstaion

Fortunately condensation is relatively simple to diagnose and detect, if you notice any of these signs then you may have a condensation problem:

  • Musty/damp smells around the property
  • Water droplets on windows or walls
  • Mould on walls, curtains, carpets, tiles and window sills
  • Damp walls causing peeling wallpaper or flaky paint

Solution

Condensation is a real problem and where it persists a specialist surveyor should be engaged to explore the cause of the problem and provide advice or propose solutions.

We have listed just a few of the possible methods of controlling condensation below.

1. Decrease humidity by increasing ventilation with a positive input ventilator, extractor fan and/or trickle vents.
2. Increase surface wall temperature by insulating the wall with plasterboard or external insulation.
3. Maintain a consistent air temperature and improve heating by upgrading the existing heating system, replacing the windows and/or improve loft insulation.

Simply heating the air is unlikely to resolve the problem, not only because of cost, but also because of practicality. However a constant background heat is preferable to intermittent heating as this will help maintain a higher ambient temperature in the fabric of the building.

Unless cold surfaces are eliminated, condensation is almost inevitable. Any remedial action, therefore, must involve both a lowering of moisture levels and the elimination of cold surfaces.

Improved heating and ventilation coupled with specific action in relation to cold spots will usually result in a significant improvement in conditions, although there may be circumstances in which alternative methods are required.

Download our Condensation factsheet

SEND US YOUR ENQUIRY