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Preventing Condensation Build-Up In The Home

Britain is a pretty humid country and when temperatures plunge during winter, condensation build-up on windows is a common occurance in the home, in garages, bathrooms, kitchens, as well as in commercial buildings.

If you have noticed condensation buildup on your windows and walls, this is due to high relative humidity within the space. If this is not dealt with, further problems can develop, such as damp spots on walls, mildew and mould. This is not only unsightly but it can exacerbate allergies and illnesses, creating an unhealthy environment.

What Causes Condensation?

Condensation is caused by moisture in the air turning back into liquid when it comes into contact with cold surfaces.

As we breathe, we put moisture out into the air. Common household activities such as showering, bathing, cooking, cleaning, ironing and drying wet clothes also put moisture into the air.

If this moisture is unable to escape the building, due to closed windows, lack of ventilation and high levels of insulation, then it builds up in the building, causing the relative humidity level (the amount of moisture in the air) to rise. Eventually the air reaches saturation point, where it can't hold any more water and it begins to condense on to surfaces. As colder air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air, when the temperature drops in winter, moisture in the air condenses on to cold surfaces such as windows.

How Do You Stop Condensation?

The best ways to prevent condensation are to put less moisture into the air in your home, to improve ventilation, or to use a dehumidifier to extract moisture from the air and lower the RH level in the home.

Whilst older homes are often not insulated as well as new homes, the air circulation that the reduced insulation allows actually helps to maintain an ideal relative humidity level within the space. So whilst older homes may not be as efficient at holding heat, they often experience fewer problems with condensation and damp. Newer homes are much better insulated, which is great for trapping heat, but it also traps a lot of the moisture produced in the home - leading to condensation, damp and mould.

Improve Ventilation

  • Ensure that extractor fans in kitchens & bathrooms are clean and working efficiently.
  • Keep windows open as much as possible to allow fresh air into the home and moisture to escape.
  • Install vents in windows, cupboards and wardrobes to allow air to circulate around the home.

Reduce Moisture Levels

  • After bathing or showering, open a window and leave the bathroom door closed, to prevent steam from the bathroom circulating around the home.
  • Dry laundry outdoors - this is not always possible, during winter especially. So a dehumidifier can be used in the area where you dry your clothes to extract moisture from the air in colder months.

Use a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier extracts moisture from the air to reduce the relative humidity level within the space, preventing a build-up of condensation, damp and mould. It can be used in any room in the home that experiences condensation and damp problems. A dehumidifier can also be used to assist with drying laundry and removing moisture from kitchens and bathrooms following cooking and showers.

Do Dehumidifiers Really Work?

Most high quality home dehumidifiers are easy to use, inexpensive to run and run quietly.

There are two main types of dehumidifier: refrigerant and desiccant. A refrigerant dehumidifier draws air in and passes it over a set of metal coils, refrigerated using refrigerant gas. Moisture in the air condenses on the cold coils and drips into a tank, to be emptied when full, or the water can often be run straight to a drain by a hose.

With desiccant dehumidifiers on the other hand, an adsorbent material extracts water from the air. The desiccant material is dried within the machine and the moisture is removed as water vapour via a wet air exhaust, which can be vented outside.

Refrigerant, or 'compressor'; dehumidifiers are efficient and effective machines for general use in the home, as they are best suited to more heated conditions. Desiccant dehumidifiers are capable of working in much lower temperatures than compressor dehumidifiers, such as an unheated basement or attic.

Dehumidifiers do work. It is important to have a good quality dehumidifier and the right type and size for your space. A dehumidifier will not stop condensation in a single day, but over a period of a couple of weeks, you will notice the problem being resolved.

Should You Buy A Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers also help allergy sufferers, as allergens, bacteria, dust mites and mould thrive in humid conditions. Humid conditions have also been found to lower concentration levels and contribute to poor sleep. Dehumidifiers help to prevent problems with condensation, damp and mould, and provide a more hospitable living environment, making your room or house feel less muggy.

If you have noticed any of the following, it might be time to consider a dehumidifier:

  • Condensation. If your windows regularly become wet during winter, your room might be too humid.
  • Mould & mildew, especially on ceilings & walls, in corners, cupboards and wardrobes. This can spread quickly and become toxic, with repercussions for those with respiratory problems.
  • Musty smells.
  • Damp or water damage. It could be a leak, or it could be a problem with ventilation.
  • Rotting wood.

We have a wide range of home dehumidifiers available for tackling condensation build-up in the home. We can also supply suitable machines for commercial and industrial use.