How to Prevent Window Condensation
Condensation is a common form of dampness that can affect your property in a variety of ways. Condensation effects walls, furniture, and of course windows. If you ignore condensation, mould can grow in your home. This is potentially harmful to humans and also any pets. Mould negatively affects your health, in particular your breathing.
One of the main causes of condensation build up is poor home ventilation. Ventilation is often reduced to make our homes more energy efficient. Condensation issues are more likely to arise when the home is overcrowded. For instance, four people occupying a three bedroom home will pump out around 112 pints of moisture in a single week!
This moisture is created by cooking, breathing, showering and bathing. Moisture is also created when you boil the kettle in order to make a cup of tea or coffee.
When your home suffers from excess condensation, the signs are typically obvious. You will notice condensation dripping off walls and windows. This may be alarming. You may have even purchased a dehumidifier as a ‘quick fix’ for this problem. However, it’s usually best to improve your home’s overall ventilation capabilities. This will eliminate the need to resort to a dehumidifier and also vastly improve the air quality you and your family must breathe in each day.
Quick fixes to reduce condensation in your home
Above, we mention you may be using a dehumidifier to cut down on the amount of condensation your home is exposed to. This is undoubtedly a ‘quick fix’. However, when you turn the dehumidifier off, your condensation problem is back with a vengeance. Whilst we may not recommend you turn to ‘quick fixes’ in the long run, they may be recommended in the short-to-medium term, since quick fixes will reverse the damage inflicted on your home and your health by unwanted condensation.
Another quick fix to temporarily reduce condensation is to ensure your tumble dryer or washing machine is fitted with adequate venting. This will surely cut down on the amount of condensation your home is exposed to, particularly given that these white goods are known to let off around two litres of water per wash or dry. It may be advisable to rehouse these white goods in your garage. Even better, make use of the sun and hang your clothes out to dry. If you really must dry your clothes inside, consider opening the windows and/or doors where the drying takes place. This will ensure excess moisture is expelled from your property and not allowed to gather in the form of condensation.
An equally effective ‘quick fix’ to reduce condensation in your home is to open doors and windows when you take a shower or a bath. This action is also advisable when you boil a kettle. Again, opening windows and doors will prevent the build-up of condensation in your home.
If you cook using a hob, you can also cut down on condensation by covering pans with a lid. This helps to reduce the amount of condensation created from water or other liquids that are beginning to boil. Another quick fix to reduce moisture that relates to cooking is to invest in an extractor hood. This sits on the top of your cooker and serves to mop up excess moisture created during the cooking process. It’s also advisable to keep the extractor hood turned on for around 20 minutes after you’ve concluded cooking.
Some extractor hoods come fitted with a smart ‘humidity sensor’. This sensor detects the amount of moisture generated from your cooking. The fan will speed up when moisture is detected, and slow down when moisture begins to dissipate.
The amount of moisture in your home is also affected by showering and bathing. When you shower or have a bath, turn on the extractor fan in your bathroom if you have one. Having a bath or taking a shower creates an immense amount of moisture, and opening bathroom windows and turning on your extractor fan is one way you can help to combat this surge in moisture during the cleaning process.
Another rather lesser known cause of household moisture relates to pets and plant life in your home. Both create excess moisture in your home. For instance, a fish tank will pump out around 1 pint of moisture per week. You can simply cover up your fish tank to cut down on this excess and unwanted moisture. Large plants likewise contribute to moisture problems. If you begin to notice wet patches gathering around plants in your home, consider relocating these plants outdoors.
If your bathroom and kitchen lack an extractor fan, be sure to wipe down wet surfaces after cooking, bathing or taking a shower. Wet surfaces are a breeding ground for mould and bacteria, so wiping down wet surfaces is one way to prevent this from occurring.
Preventing window condensation
Condensation builds up between double glazing window panes particularly the winter. Many people will also experience dampness on their window frames and sills. Window condensation commonly affects newer homes due to superior insulation. This superior insulation is a double edged sword since it acts to trap excess moisture in your home which may then cause condensation to build up between window panes.
One way to check on moisture levels is to purchase a hygrometer. This monitors humidity inside your home. You will then be able to track humidity variations throughout the year. If you take steps to improve your home’s ventilation, you will be able to track the effectiveness of these improvements scientifically with the aid of this hygrometer.
The use of gas via your boiler, cooker and fireplace also increase moisture in your home. This explains why your double glazing may be affected by condensation during the winter, simply because you are more likely to turn on gas applications during this period in order to keep your home warm. During the winter, you should thus expect your hygrometer to register higher levels of moisture for this reason.