As we get further into the winter months the cold weather intensifies and brings with it many little annoyances: snow, increased heating bills, the pain of de-icing the car in the morning, amongst others. However one of the most underestimated elements of winter affecting homeowners is condensation, as it is difficult to prevent and can lead to bigger problems, such as damp and mould in the home.
Condensation is a form of damp, occurring in the home when moisture in the warm air inside the house comes into contact with cold surfaces, for example windows. On contact the air becomes cooled and loses its moisture onto the surface, causing it to become damp. As windows are particularly cold surfaces within the house, it is typical to see damp forming on the walls surrounding them. However other walls and even ceilings can be targets for condensation, and can be hotspots for mould to develop.
While the temperature indoors is higher than that of the outside during the winter months, due to an increased usage of heating, the need for protecting against condensation is greater than ever. There are a variety of different methods that can be used to help deal with condensation, with two main techniques proving the most effective: improving ventilation and ensuring heating is efficient.
As the air outside is drier than the air inside, it is necessary for the moist air in the house to escape and be replaced by this drier air. Whilst the house needs to stay warm, the moisture build up in the air can lead to high levels of condensation, so it is important to keep the house well ventilated. Opening windows regularly is a good way of doing this, however can be a pain to keep doing, especially when you feel as though youâ€™re wasting all the heat from your house.
Installing a ventilation system such as a fan is another great method of reducing condensation in the house. Having these fans installed in the kitchen and bathroom can be vital for helping warm air escape, and replacing it with drier air from outside. Many of these systems are energy efficient and cheap to operate, and when coupled with regularly opening windows can prove really effective for reducing condensation.
Rapid changes in environment can encourage condensation, since constantly changing temperatures causes the air to heat up and cool faster than the walls of the house, and as such increases the level of moisture on them. It is important to ensure that heating in the house is kept at a constant low temperature, rather than constantly turning it on at high temperatures and then turning it off again. By having a consistent temperature, the walls warm up gradually with the air, and thus reduced the level of condensation built up on them.
Whilst improving ventilation and ensuring heating is efficient within the house have proven to be the most effective methods of controlling condensation, there are additional techniques that can be implemented too. Installing a dehumidifier is a good way of removing water from the air, reducing the level of condensation affecting the walls and ceiling. Additionally ensuring that the wall structure is in good condition is important to prevent water penetration from the outside creeping through to the walls on the inside of the house.
Condensation can be an annoyance in the house, particularly in the wintertime. However by ensuring that the above methods are well used, with particular focus placed on good ventilation throughout the house and efficient heating, condensation can be controlled and minimised.
Timberwise provide property maintenance for both homes and commercial buildings, ranging from waterproofing basements and dry and wet rot treatment, to rising damp, damp proofing and woodworm cure.