Condensation

condensation

1. What is condensation?

Black_mould_-_condensation.jpg_26052010-1242-46Condensation is the process by which water vapour becomes a liquid. The air in our atmosphere contains anywhere from 0 to 4 % water vapour. This water vapour will remain in the air until either so much water vapour is added to the air that it becomes saturated and can no longer hold the water vapour; or the temperature of the air drops low enough that the air can no longer hold the water vapour. In either case the water vapour turns into liquid and forms on a surface as condensation that can eventually develop into condensation black mould.

2. What does condensation indicate?

When you see condensation forming on your windows it is a warning that there is too much water vapour in the air of your home or that there is insufficient air circulation next to the windows on which the condensation is occurring.

3. What causes condensation?

Condensation is caused by the air temperature becoming too low to hold the water vapour that is in it. The factors involved in condensation are as follows:

1. The amount of water vapour in the air of the home (measured in relative humidity)
2. The circulation of the air within the home

4. Where does water vapour that causes condensation come from?

Water becomes vapour by a process known as evaporation. Evaporation is the opposite of condensation. The air in a home gains water vapour by evaporation from a number of sources. The most obvious sources are running water in sinks, baths and showers, washing machines, and water generated from cooking. Some less obvious sources may include house plants, the ground beneath the house, leaky basements, humid outside air allowed in through open windows or doors, any new construction materials and even the air that you exhale contains water vapour produced by

5. How does air circulation affect condensation?

Heat_Recovery_Ventilator.JPG_28052010-1351-28Air circulation affects the supply of fresh air to the living areas of your home. Poor air circulation within your home will cause the air next to your windows to cool down quickly. When air remains still next to a cool surface, it cools down sooner than air that is well circulated. As the room air temperature decreases, its ability to hold the water vapour decreases thus increasing the potential for condensation to develop.

Curtains, blinds or other coverings tend to trap air next to the window greatly reducing the air circulation around them. Bay and bow windows and other windows that extend from the walls of the home outward are also susceptible to air circulation problems. When possible, try to open these windows and blinds to help improve the air flow within your property and/or install Heat Recovery Ventilator.

6. How does air quality affect condensation?

Not only is it important to have good air circulation in a home to prevent condensation, but the quality of the air that is being circulated is very important. The new home construction designs and materials that are used today help make homes more energy efficient and air-tight. This has also unfortunately, greatly affected the quality of the air in the home and also caused condensation related enquires to become more frequent. Most heating and cooling systems are used as the primary air circulation system. In a modern air-tight home, these systems will only circulate the air already within the home unless a fresh air supply system is also used. Fresh air supply is mandatory to properly vent and maintain humidity levels in the home, preventing musty smells, condensation and mould growth.

7. How does the temperature affect condensation?

The amount of water vapour air can hold is directly related to the air temperature and the amount of condensation produced. Warmer air can hold more water vapour than cooler air. When warm air is cooled it loses its capacity to hold water vapour and, if it cools enough, it will begin to condensate and produce condensation and mould growth.

During the summer, the air temperature in your home will probably be maintained at a fairly constant temperature. The real affect of temperature and its impact on condensation will be the relationship between the indoor air temperature and the outside temperature during the winter. The colder the temperature outside the colder the glass surface temperature will become as well as the air temperature in the hidden structural areas of your home. As these areas cool down the air near them begins to cool as well. The air temperature in the room may be relatively unaffected, but the air next to the window glass or in these hidden areas will cool down. The air in these areas may cool below its maximum vapour saturation point and condensation will begin to form.

8. What happens if I ignore the Condensation?

Common sense tells you not to! If not rectified, condensation will cause significant damage to your home and belongings. Unsightly stains, mould and mildew are only the visual signs but these can lead to costly redecorating. It can also be the cause of poor health and respiratory problems. Condensation is one of the symptoms of too much moisture in the home. Controlling condensation is the best investment you could make in your home and your families health.

9. Get in touch?

Should your property suffer from mould growth and condensation related problems as described above, then complete our contact form, and we will be in touch to arrange a convenient time for one of our CSRT (Certified Surveyor in Remedial Treatment) Qualified surveyors to visit your property and resolve the problem, alternatively contact our office on 0161 425 7595.