Steamy Windows - not the only effect of condensation


Condensation is largely the consequence of today’s improved standards of insulation and draught proofing, particularly when older properties have been upgraded. Lack of adequate ventilation allied to modern occupancy lifestyles in terms of cooking, washing and bathing can lead to a build-up of excessive humidity and moisture.

This leads to condensation forming on cooler surfaces, particularly in areas with little air circulation. The result can be peeling decorations, unhealthy living conditions, unsightly mould growth and damage to fabrics and clothing.

The ability of air to hold water vapour increases with temperature. Condensation arises when the air is fully saturated and 100% relative humidity (dew point) is reached. Then any air in contact with colder surfaces will cool and release moisture in the form of water droplets.

Air with a high moisture content will have a high vapour pressure. Water vapour does not always condense in the room of it’s source and as a gas will move through the property seeking pressure equalisation with the colder air outside.

Building materials vary in their heat conduction capabilities and so their capacity to stop surface condensation forming.

Various general measures can be adopted to help alleviate the problem of condensation, including:

 Reduce sources of excess moisture (eg. drying clothes indoors, keeping lids on saucepans, venting tumble driers, etc).
 Improve ventilation and air circulation (eg. open windows, utilise kitchen and bathroom extractor fans, keep furniture and clothing clear of external walls, etc).
 Improve heating and maintain constant levels.
 Improve levels of insulation and, therefore, increase surface temperatures.

Should condensation problems persist, it may be necessary to consider the installation of a mechanical condensation control - ranging from extract ventilation to bathrooms to full house positive input ventilation systems. Our surveyors can advise on the most appropriate solutions which vary from property to property.

Condensation is often misdiagnosed as rising damp or water penetration by inexperienced/ unscrupulous contractors and extensive unnecessary remedial works recommended.


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