As temperatures outside drop and the heating starts to come on, many home-owners will be plagued by a mysterious black mould. Many people panic that the mould is the side-effect of a costly damp problem but the mostly likely cause is condensation, which causes about 70% of damp problems in the UK. In this series, we explore what condensation is, what causes it and how to avoid it.
What causes condensation?
Condensation is the result of moisture in the air turning into water; this happens when warm air hits cold surfaces, or your home is humid. During autumn and winter, particularly during cold mornings and evenings, condensation can be a problem: the warm, heated air in your house hits the cold windows and turns to water.
Aside from the difference between temperatures inside your home and outside, condensation can be caused by everyday activities in the home; showering, cooking, using the tumble dryer without proper ventilation, and drying wet clothes on warm radiators contribute to the build-up of warm, moist air and steam into your home. As soon as this air hits a cooler surface, it will release its moisture, like squeezing a sponge.
The day-to-day condensation-inducing activities, such as cooking and showering, are not usually a problem during the summer months, as the temperature is warmer and the home tends to be better ventilated, with windows and doors left open. However, in the cooler months, these things add up and could result in a condensation problem.
A bit of water may seem harmless, but if left untreated, condensation can lead to black mould which stains clothes, walls and furniture and is potentially damaging to your home and your health, leading to issues such as rashes, congestion and even bronchitis.
Signs of condensation
With regard to condensation, prevention is definitely better than cure. Keep an eye out for the signs of condensation: as soon as you notice water gathering on the inside of your windows, take preventative steps. Even if you are accustomed to water dripping on the inside of your windows on cold winter mornings, this can be the start of a much bigger problem. You may notice damp patches near the windows, or specks of mould beginning to bloom on your curtains, furniture or walls. This is a result of the moist air settling on soft furnishings and interiors, causing a perfect, damp environment in which mould will flourish.
Don’t hide away from the signs of condensation. If you notice any signs of damp or condensation, call a local trusted damp specialist, who will be able to advise you on the cause of your damp or mould and recommend an appropriate and affordable course of action.