It’s that time of year when the heating goes on and the windows are closed. It is also possibly that time of year where you notice the odd damp patch or spot of mould on walls or ceilings.
Discovering that you have got damp is a headache, but the sooner you get a damp specialist in to take a look, the easier it is to deal with. Last week, we talked about rising damp, the signs, causes and prevention. This week, our attention turns to one of the sneakiest of damps: condensation. Here’s what you need to know.
All about condensation
You don’t need to be a science genius to know that when warmer air cools rapidly, water particles in the air condense, forming droplets of water. It happens on an ice-cold class of drink, in cars and, of course, in homes. Condensation is more of a problem when the difference between the air inside and the air outside is very pronounced, for example, when it is 1⁰ outside and 20⁰ inside. During winter, the warm, moist air inside your home reaches a cold window or wall, the water in that air becomes water on your windows or walls.
Condensation is made worse if you have poor ventilation in your home, especially in Kitchens and bathrooms where you are creating a lot of steam that doesn’t have anywhere to go.
Condensation is fairly easy to identify; look out for droplets of water on walls and windows, a damp smell, or dark mould patches.
Dealing with condensation
If you notice a damp or mouldy patch, don’t panic! At the point of noticing, condensation is fairly easy to deal with; it is only if you leave it unchecked that it can cause serious damage. Here are some easy ways to treat condensation:
- Dramatic changes in temperature make condensation much worse. Instead of having the heating go on and off, keep it on low all of the time. It’s cheaper and easier on your boiler, too.
- Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! If you are in the shower or bath and you don’t have an extractor fan, shut the door and open the windows to let the steam go out. In other rooms (particularly if you notice mould or water droplets), you can use a dehumidifier to remove some of the moisture from the air, or invest in proper ventilation.
- Make small changes – don’t dry washing on the radiator (you are just adding more water to the air!); put a lid on pans of water while they are boiling.
- Clean the mould. Mould can be harmful to your health, so once you have sorted your condensation problem, it is a good idea to clean off the mould. There are good antifungal sprays available, but hot, soapy water might do the trick.
- Ask a professional. If the problem is persistent or you are concerned, call a damp specialist.