Published 1st December 2018. Last Updated 6th December 2019.
Here at Ebac, we understand the problem of condensation, and together we can cure it.
With almost five decades designing and manufacturing Dehumidifiers – whose sole purpose is to reduce excess moisture from the air, helping to prevent condensation – we have learnt and know a lot.
Here we share some of our expert knowledge and what can be done to prevent condensation.
What Is Condensation?
Condensation is the process where water vapour in the air is changed from a gas, back into its liquid form. In other words, the water in the air, (water vapour), cools when it touches a cold surface. This causes the water vapour to condense, or turn into its liquid form, water.
In the home, we will see this as drops of water, or moisture as it is often referred to, that have formed on windows, walls or glass throughout the house. The reason this it happens is all to do with the temperature inside and outside the home and the amount of water vapour in the air inside. This is because warm air holds a higher volume of moisture than cold air, so when it comes into contact with colder surfaces, it has to release some of that moisture and as a consequence causes condensation to occur.
And this problem ONLY intensifies in the winter.
Because we are much more dependent on heating methods such as fires and radiators, to keep our home warm, and are more inclined to keep the windows closed to conserve heat, the contrast in temperature make the problem more apparent.
What Causes Condensation?
Understanding The Problem
The short answer? Moisture!
Moisture refers to the amount of water vapour present in the air.
However, too much – or too little – can wreak havoc on our home and our health, so it’s important to deal with it before it makes the problem worse.
The dilemma here, though is that we produce moisture just from living our lives. A shocking 10-50 litres of moisture is released inside our homes that has to end up somewhere! Activities like showering, laundering, cooking and even breathing, all add moisture to a home. And that’s without adding bathing, boiling kettles, ironing etc. into the mix!
And, as we know, condensation occurs when there’s too much moisture in the air! When this moisture-packed air comes into contact with a colder surface like glass, it cools and releases the water, where it turns into water droplets on the cold surface otherwise known as condensation.
Before, when homes weren’t built like sealed boxes with double glazing and insulation, moisture could escape through gaps in windows, lofts and cracks in walls where it would be replaced with fresh air from the outside. However, because homes are no longer built to have a natural escape route, this moisture is trapped and as a consequence causes condensation and even damp and mould!
So, instead of looking at how to get rid of moisture – something that would be hard to do given how much of it we produce – it’s more about what we can do to keep moisture levels in check to prevent condensation happening in the first place.
What Can I Do About It?
How To Prevent Condensation
Fortunate for us, condensation is one of the most manageable problems to fix.
How? Ventilate. Ventilate. Ventilate.
Ventilation often gets overlooked because we all want to make our homes as warm as possible and therefore focus on insulation. However, our homes also need to be able to breathe.
Through taking these five simple ventilation steps, condensation can be a thing of the past.
Circulate The Air
When looking for an effective but inexpensive means to increase ventilation, circulating the air is a straightforward solution to reduce or prevent condensation in the home.
A useful technique is to run fans such as ceiling fans, floor fans and table fans. When warm air doesn’t have a release, it just continues to circulate through the house, and using fans will help with the process.
Prompting air movement and circulation, ceiling fans rotate the air between the room and can cause a breeze that can be strong enough to push stale air out. But, as a general guide, methods that improve air circulation in the room aids in ventilation no matter how big or small.
Use Extractor Fans
Extractor Fans are found in homes all around the world, so use them! Turning bathroom and kitchen fans on each time we bathe, cook or shower will help remove the moisture released into the air.
You should run these fans for about 15 minutes after cooking or showering because of the amount of moisture released which sometimes cannot escape quick enough.
When these rooms are in use, close the kitchen and bathroom doors, even if the extractor fan is running. This will help prevent moisture from reaching other places, such as bedrooms, which are often colder and therefore more prone to condensation.
Open Doors and Windows
This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but opening doors or windows will let fresh air in and push moisture-packed air out.
Through opening doors and windows a few times will allow the trapped moisture-filled air out and fresh outdoor air in, getting rid of excess moisture, and as a result, prevent condensation.
Raise The Temperature
In colder months, it’s a good idea to keep the home at a warm temperature. Condensation happens when warm air hits cold surfaces so through keeping the house warm, the surfaces won’t get cold enough for condensation to form.
We would suggest setting timers for heating to turn on at different intervals throughout the week.
Use A Dehumidifier
However, despite taking these initial steps, it is possible to find that condensation is still an issue in colder months. This is because indoor air is much warmer in colder months and holds more moisture than outdoor air, which is colder and drier.
Therefore it could be an idea to invest in a more permanent solution such as a Dehumidifier.
A Dehumidifier’s sole purpose is to draw excess moisture from the air to help control, prevent and solve condensation. Unlike the above methods, a Dehumidifier solves the problem of condensation and not just the sign through monitoring a home to ensure there is the perfect amount of moisture in the air.