What is Condensation? Steps to Prevent and Fix Condensation Problems


Condensation is described as a process in which the water vapor that is present in the surrounding air changes into liquefied water. For example water in air also know as water vapor which is gas from a hot bath or shower cools down when it lands on a cooler surface such as a window or mirrors. This is what causes water vapors to condense which results in a liquid form. You will notice this moisture in the form of fog, or beads of water on surfaces in an around your home.

What is Condensation?

what is Condensation

The condensation point in regards to water will be the same as the boiling points related to water. This occurs at 100 degrees Celsius and when water is increased above 100 degrees Celsius it starts to boil. When this process is revered and the water vapor is cooled below 100 degrees Celsius it condenses and will return to a liquid form.

While condensation will occur at any temperature between 0 degrees Celsius and 100 degrees Celsius it becomes more noticeable when a significant temperature difference occurs between the atmosphere and surrounding objects. A classic example of this would be taking a container of ice-cream out of the freezer on a very hot day.

Condensation Types

There are four main condensation types. These include:

  • Surface Condensation

This condensation type if the most common and takes a water form on cold wall and tile surfaces, window panes and walls.

  • Interstitial Condensation

This condensation will form between walls or inside the structure of a building.

  • Reverse Condensation

Also known as “Summer Condensation”, when rain drenches surfaces such as outside walls and then extreme sunlight dries the water. The heat is what forces water vapor to occur on the walls. When it meets with insulated surfaces, it will develop into condensation on that barrier.

  • Radiation Condensation

Also known as “clear night condensation” occurs when a drastic drop in temperature occurs at night and can cause condensation to occur on the underside of a roof covering.

What Causes Condensation In Your Property?

Condensation is often the more common type of dampness that can appear in and around your property. This condensation can cause damp patches, and wall paper to peel and the accumulation of moisture on windows and walls. When left untreated this condensation can result in mold growth that is potentially harmful which can later result in health issues along with breathing difficulties.

The reasons as to why condensation appears in a property are usually due to an inadequate flow of ventilation. In addition, when spending time indoors and making the property a lot more energy efficient this is when the build-up of humidity and moisture levels increase.

Why Do The Windows In My Home Sweat?

The physics associated to why windows sweat is very simple. In the winter months, the inside of the surfaces even the ones of great quality will likely be the coldest surface inside your home. Air inside the home naturally creates convection current cycles against these colder surfaces. As the colder air starts to sink, warm air will replace it.

What Causes Condensation Inside Windows?

When moist, warm air comes into direct contact with the interior cooler glass surface, the air then drops below the dew point, which is what deposits the moisture onto the glass. As convection currents continue more moisture is deposited onto the interior glass until such stage that the window sill starts to become a real sweaty mess.

What Is The Primary Cause Of Condensation On Walls?

Everyday tasks such as bathing, washing, cooking as well as breathing contribute to moisture that gets released into the surrounding air. In addition, the air also holds specific levels of water vapor and the warmer the air the more vapors it holds. When cooled when it comes into contact with cold surface such as a wall, water vapor converts into water droplets known as condensation.

Ways You Can Identify Condensation

If you find moisture on your walls, inside of windows, or on other types of cold surfaces, it is more than likely condensation. You may also find black mold on your walls especially inside cupboards or cold corners or green or blue mold on wood or leather.  This water that collects on your on surfaces and walls will be more evident when the surface or walls are not able to dry out. The more common area types in regards to condensation occur on walls, windows, the corners of rooms and above skirting boards and especially at ceiling height and floors.

What Are The Primary Problems Of Condensation?

One of the main issues associated with condensation is that it can result in unsightly mold which can damage wallpaper furniture, clothing and even you. When this mold dries it sends spores out into the air we breathe causing a variety of health and breathing issues for people, but particularly in the elderly and the young. The mold is typically seen as a “black spot” mold, however, white, yellow and green mold can also develop which will be dependent on the surface and the conditions.

Some of the types of mold are classified as “toxic” and these two species include Aspergillus fumigatum and Stachybotrys chartarum which are a lot more dangerous as they possess the ability to produce myotoxins that lead to health effects that are more exaggerated such as lung infections, rashes, headaches and nausea. The worst of these mold types usually have a yellow or greenish synthetic look to them.

The Basic Steps To Prevent Condensation

How to stop condensation

Condensation can be avoided or prevented in the way of increasing the temperatures of the objects that need protection in order to keep these objects above the dew-point temperature. This is possible by implementation of an air-drying system. This particular solution will be dependent according to the application. If you find yourself constantly having to wipe away condensation from windows and walls and you already have your dehumidifier running for many hours at a time, you should consider whole-house ventilation for a more permanent solution for condensation as well as to improve the indoor air quality in your home.

7  Best Solutions For Condensation

  • If you frequently use a tumble dryer or washing machine in your home, you need to ensure the machines are vented correctly. A single load of your washing emits around 2 liters of water into the surrounding air.
  • When possible, rather dry your clothes outside to avoid excess moisture from escaping into the air. If you are only able to use your tumble dryer, it is best to open the windows or doors in this room.
  • When boiling your kettle, cooking or taking a bath or shower, make sure the bathroom or kitchen door is closed to stop the steam from escaping into the colder rooms that results in condensation.
  • When you do cook make sure your pots and pans are covered with lids to decrease moisture. It is also advisable to open windows in the kitchen or use your extractor fan. Avoid immediately closing the windows or switching off your extractor fan once you have finished cooking, leave the extractor fan on or the window open for at least 15 minutes to clear any moisture out of the air.
  • Similar to cooking, when you use the bathroom to bath or shower make sure a window is open or use an extractor fan if you have one fitted in your bathroom. This assists in getting rid of any steam that is produced by running hot water in cold environments.
  • If you do not have extractor fans in your kitchen or bathrooms you need to ensure that surfaces are wiped down once you have taken a shower or when you are cooking in order to remove the moisture from settling onto surfaces. This excess moisture that is allowed to sit on a surface can easily and quickly turn into a mold which is very difficult to remove once it has started to grow.
  • Draft proofing, loft insulation and double glazing also assist to decrease the heat lost out of the home. Installation of insulation is also able to keep surfaces in your home at a higher temperature which assists in the prevention of condensation.

Five Easy Steps To Fix Condensation Issues

Here are five steps you can take to drastically decrease condensation issues in your home. These steps are associated with the changes that you may need to make in the way in which you live in your home and to become aware of the actions that caused the problem in the first place.

Step One: Produce Less Moisture By Changing Your Lifestyle Habits

  • Cooking

To decrease the moisture amounts, cover any pots and do not allow your kettle to continuously boil.

  • Bathroom Extractor Fans

Your extractor fan in your bathroom should always be on. To ensure these fans are working efficiently place a paper sheet against the vent-grill, if the paper adheres or sticks well the fan is operating well. However, if the paper falls then your fan might not be robust enough.

  • Sleeping

Upon waking in the mornings you should immediately open up windows and doors to vent out any vapor. Leave these windows open until you have to leave home for work.

  • Window Frames

The frames that feature “trickle vents” are regarded as ideal and they should never be shut. The frames should be a “thermal break” type which means the inner surfaces will not be in contact directly with the outdoors, which means the cold will not be conducted through these frames.

Step Two: Avoid Using Portable Gas and Paraffin Gas Heaters

These are the heater types that emit excess amounts of moisture that land up in the air and around 1 gallon of paraffin or gas produces around 1 gallon of water. If you already have condensation issues it is highly unadvisable to use these heater types. In addition due to the moisture amounts produced by this heater type along with condensation damages that are caused, today most landlords will not allow their tenants to use portable gas or paraffin heaters in the rented property.

Step Three: Ventilation In Order To Remove Moisture

A certain degree of ventilation is important for the removal of moisture as it is produced. This means keeping vents or windows open when moisture is inside a room. Additional ventilation is necessary in areas such as the bathroom or kitchen whereby washing up, cooking, drying clothes or bathing is conducted. The best solution is an extractor fan that switches on automatically when the air starts to become humid. It is also important to allow for the necessary space in order for air circulation around furniture in your home. Open up wardrobes and cupboards to ventilate and avoid over filling them with excess objects that may stop the air from circulating.

Step Four: Draught Proofing And Insulation

Insulating areas such as your loft and draught proofing windows and doors is able to reduce the costs you use of fuels and keep the temperature in the home constant which reduces condensation. When you draught proof ensure you don’t block up the permanent vents, or in rooms where there may be mold or condensation present.

Step Five: Heat Up Your Home A Bit More

When the entire home is warmer, condensation issues disappear. During a cold spell it is far better to maintain a lower heat for longer periods of time opposed to switching to a higher heat for a shorter period. When possible attempt to heat up the entire home and if your home features a central-heating system use the setting that offers background warmth to all the rooms in the home. Keep in mind that variations that occur in the temperature in your home will either release or soak-up moisture which means that if you switch off your heating the air cools down it releases vapors. For this reason it is best in the colder months to leave your heating system running at a lower and constant temperature.