As the temperature outside begins to drop, condensation build up can become an issue for homeowners. Condensation occurs when the water vapour comes into contact with a colder surface then the surrounding air. This is commonly found on the inside of windows of older homes as the glass allows the heat from the room to pass through and often becomes the room’s coldest surface.
Everyday activities – such as boiling the kettle, washing dishes and bathing – can create water vapour, which when the temperature outside is lower, can lead to condensation on windows, doors and other glass surfaces. While you can’t control the elements outside, there are steps you can take inside to minimise the risk of condensation. MyGlazing.com, the independent glass and glazing advice site for homeowners, explain how.
1. Upgrade your glazing
As condensation only forms on surfaces colder than the surrounding air, double or triple glazing can greatly reduce it as it allows the inner glass of the window to retain heat – and a warmer glass surface means less risk of condensation. Energy efficient glazing reduces the amount of heat that can pass through the glazing unit, meaning the outer pane remains cold, and as the dew point of the outside air occurs, the vapour condenses upon this surface, instead of internally. As such, replacing your windows to more energy efficient glazing can be a long term solution to the problem which, if left untreated, can lead to more damaging problems such as damp and wood rot. Double or triple glazed windows are also designed to reduce the loss of heat from a room, which is an extra bonus!
2. Consider the ventilation in your home
Ventilation is the exchange of air between the interior and exterior of a building. Something as simple as ensuring doors and windows are opened regularly to allow the rapid exchange of air, or a more long term solution such as fitting vents between rooms around the home to encourage the circulation of air, will help water vapour evaporate, preventing condensation. Vents should be fitted approximately 1.7 meters off the ground to avoid drafts. If you have ventilation systems such as air conditioning units or extractor fans, make sure these are working efficiently and not being blocked by dust or debris – a common problem with fans.
3. Increase the temperature
By turning the heating up a few degrees you can encourage a more rapid evaporation of water vapour in the air. The quicker the water evaporates, the less chance there is of it sitting on windows and other colder surfaces.
4. Fit draft excluders
By draft proofing internal doors you can prevent the movement of air with high water vapour content. Keep in mind that water vapour does not remain in the room where it is first generated, but tends to migrate all over the home as air pressure in the original room may be higher than elsewhere, and so the moist air will be forced out into rooms with a lower pressure. For example, draft proofing the bathroom door will prevent steam from building up in the hall, which may have surfaces more likely to suffer from damp, such as carpets and wallpaper.
5. Think about your curtains
Curtains can trap warm, water vapour-heavy air between the room and the window which will lead to a build-up of condensation on the glass. Ensure curtains are at least 15cm to 20cm away from window glass to allow free movement of warm air and prevent damp building up on the fabric.
For more information go to www.myglazing.com