As we move into the colder months, the temperature falls, and condensation in our homes rises. Condensation is caused from increased moisture levels, most noticeable as water droplets on windows, which results from the daily routine of showers, baths, boiling kettles, cooking, using a tumble dryer, drying clothes and even breathing.
Before the days of double glazing, wall and loft insulation, this humid, stale air would find its escape route through ill-fitting windows and doors. It would be replaced by fresher, colder air. But as we hunker down for winter, closing windows and doors, this damp air is captured inside. Condensation means poor air quality and if nothing is improved this leads to damp and mould which can have a very negative impact on health and the fabric of a home.
Impacts of condensation
- Water droplets can form all over windows and if unlucky, can cause puddles on windowsills
- Condensation can develop on outside walls in extreme cases
- Mould can commonly grow in the bathroom, or on walls or furniture, deteriorating the property and destroying carpets, flooring, wallpaper and furnishings.
- Health can be adversely affected. Mould spores (seeds) spread around a home causing allergic reactions to some when inhaled.
- The energy efficiency of the property is reduced as heating must work harder to try and combat these issues
- Visual deterioration and structural damage of the property
- Moisture becoming entrapped within the structure can result in long term external damage resulting in costly rectification work.
To reduce condensation, you must reduce the excess moisture in the property, but simply turning up the heating in the winter will not get rid of condensation. A damp house means damp air, and raising the heating thermostat will only heat up the wet air molecules.
Effective ways to combat condensation include:
- Reduce moisture:
- Put lids on saucepans when you boil or steam vegetables.
- Use an extractor fan when you bath or shower or open the window for five minutes afterwards.
- Don’t dry washing on radiators, use a clothes horse and put it in a room with an extractor fan.
- If drying clothes in a tumble dryer make sure it vents to outside.
- Warm up your house:
- Open curtains and blinds during the day to warm rooms up and prevent moisture being trapped around the windows.
- Don’t block up any air bricks
- Don’t let furniture touch outside walls: leave a small gap
- Open doors of built in wardrobes sat against outside walls and try to avoid clothes and shoes from touching outside walls
- Keep gutters clear to make sure water does not spill down your walls
- Don’t build patios above the damp course
- Consider buying a dehumidifier. They work by reducing the level of humidity in the air, through sucking in air from the room at one end, removing the moisture, and then blowing it back out into the room again. The Meaco DD8L Zambezi dehumidifier has a Which? Best Buy Award, works well at low temperatures, is cheaper than using a tumble dryer to dry clothes, and as a desiccant dehumidifier, adds warmth back into a room.
A small property will need a small quiet dehumidifier, and one that can be moved between rooms. The MeacoDry ABC 10L and 12L range has been designed with flats in mind, with a whisper quiet noise level of 35dB, low-weight and availability in a choice of colours. The MeacoDry 20L is designed for the larger home. All have a been accredited with a Quiet Mark, after extensive testing found them to be the quietest products in their category.