what is condensation?
Condensation is the process by which water
vapour in the air is changed into liquid water.
Condensation generally occurs in the atmosphere when warm air rises, cools
and loses its capacity to hold water vapour. The water vapour condenses on a
cool surface to form liquid water. Condensation is crucial to the water
cycle because it is responsible for the formation of clouds. Clouds produce
rain, the primary way water returns to the surface. In short, condensation
occurs naturally in our environment.
However, we don't have to look at something as far away as a cloud to
observe condensation; for many of us condensation is a problem in our homes.
CONDENSATION IN THE HOME
Condensation affects new and old
buildings alike. It is one of the most misdiagnosed forms of dampness
reported in properties - often diagnosed as penetrating or rising damp.
As properties have become better heated and insulated the instances of
condensation forming are on the increase. First evidence of condensation may
be water droplets forming on the inside of the window pane, because the
glass has a lower temperature than the fabric of the wall. Please remember
the windows are not the cause of the condensation, they are merely an
indication of a condensation problem.
A family of four in a three-bedroom property can generate as much as 18
gallons of water per week as a result of cooking, bathing or by just keeping
house plants. With double glazed windows and doors and no ventilation this
moisture becomes trapped within the property and can cause mould growth,
commonly seen around windows and external corners of the walls.
There is evidence to suggest that condensation and mould have health
implications as well as the fact that it spoils the decor and may be the
cause of decay in timbers and timber window frames.
Interior condensation is more likely in the winter months. This happens when
moisture in the air contacts a surface whose temperature is lower than the
Exterior surface condensation usually occurs on sultry, humid summer days.
An example would be that moisture forms on the outside of a window in the
summer when an air conditioner is being used in the home. This creates a
surface temperature of the glass below the dew point.
CAN WE TREAT CONDENSATION
In short the answer is "No". Condensation
can only be controlled, but there are some steps that you can take to reduce
your indoor humidity level.
One way is to make sure that all appliances requiring a vent (for example
clothes dryers) are vented properly. Avoid using gas heaters and install
extractor fans. Extractor fans are an excellent way to increase the air flow
and reduce humidity if installed correctly. Areas that would profit most
would be bathrooms and kitchens.
Another option is to make sure that your home is properly vented. There are
a couple of ways to achieve this desired effect. One solution for more
severe cases would be to open a window in each room for a short period of
time. This is a very temporary solution.
For a more permanent solution the installation of passive vents on your
windows should be considered to allow the passage of warm moist air out and
allow fresh air in without critical heat loss.
All opening casement upvc
windows supplied by Easyfit Window Warehouse are fitted with night vent
facilities. This allows the opener to be locked in a partially open position
which allows ventilation of the room, this is particularly effective in
bedrooms. Alternatively, trickle vents that are fixed onto the frame that
allow air to pass through are available as an option. Both night vents and
trickle vents can be open or closed as required.
Ensure your property is adequately
ventilated and heated. Pay particular attention to the bathroom, kitchen and
bedrooms; the main source of moist air in homes. Fit windows with a
ventilation facility and use it.