How to Prevent Condensation in Your Home

I came across an incident recently where a standard brick built semi-detached house started to show signs of condensation and mould growth. The house, fitted with gas fired central heating, was previously warm and dry but due to a change of personal circumstances the owners had been forced to move to a different part of the country. Tenants moved in and lived there for twelve months. On vacating the property it as discovered that every room was suffering with damp.

One can only assume the likely cause but experience leads one to believe their lifestyle brought about this occurrence.

Many years ago I attended an all-day seminar on the subject of ‘Condensation and Mould Growth’.  Having listened to all manner of ‘experts’ attempting to sell their patented solution to this widespread issue we eventually listened to a real expert who clearly knew his subject.  He stated the only way to eradicate the problem was adequate heat and ventilation.

Warm air is able to absorb higher levels of water vapour than cold air whilst ventilation will help to dilute the percentage of water vapour in the air.

Thus, poorly heated properties (or those where the heating system is run at minimum temperatures) plus permanently closed windows will likely suffer high levels of condensation. Cooking, washing and drying clothes, bodily perspiration and exhalation all contribute to the problem. I am sure you have all come across instances where unheated bedroom windows stream with water whilst cold wall surfaces develop a bloom of black spores.

How to Prevent Condensation in Your HomeI am mindful of recent media comment relating to poor internal air quality in basic new homes where sophisticated ventilation systems cannot be afforded. We hear of attempts to monitor Carbon Dioxide levels in new homes as a consequence of inadequate natural ventilation levels and during the May/June hot spell there was even concerns expressed about the inability to keep new homes cool.  It appears the traditional notion of opening doors and windows to let in fresh air is a thing of the past.

Policies designed to conserve energy in the home by demanding an air-tight structure seem to have backfired. Sadly, whilst this tightening of Building Regulations ADJ was felt necessary by the Secretary of State, it has resulted in the potential for yet further unfortunate unintended consequences.

One wonders whether complaints of condensation and mould growth will come back to haunt us once again?

Jim Lambeth

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