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Condensation can cause problems in properties, particularly at this time of year, what causes it and what can be done to help to alleviate it?

Condensation occurs when warm air comes into contact with cooler air, or a cold surface.  All air contains water vapour – warm air holds more moisture than cold air.  When warm air is rapidly cooled by contact with a cold surface, such as a mirror, a window or an outside wall, the vapour becomes condensation.  Excess moisture on cool surfaces can lead to damp problems and black mould which can be harmful to health.

In the colder months of the year condensation becomes more of a problem as homeowners use their heating more and keep their windows shut against the cold.  Along with other activities such as cooking, showering, drying clothes on radiators humidity in the home will be increased.

If a property is fully insulated and the windows are double glazed, the original draughts that once removed the excess moisture, produced during everyday living, become locked in.

Even our lofts can be affected by damp.  Warm air passes up through ceilings before cooling and condensing and if there are double layers of insulation the natural ventilation from the eaves can become blocked.

What can be done to help the problem?

Do everything you can to ventilate your home naturally by opening windows.

Turn on the extractor fan when cooking and leave it on for a while after you have finished as there will still be excess moisture in the air.  If possible open a kitchen window too.

Put lids on saucepans when cooking.

Avoid drying clothes on radiators.

If you’re using a tumble dryer, whether it’s a condenser or vented one, they cause a slightly humid atmosphere in the room where they are sited, so installing an extractor fan can help considerably.

Use a fan when taking a bath or showering and try to keep the bathroom door shut, as much as possible, so the moisture doesn’t escape into other parts of your home.

Heat your home consistently.

Ensure airbricks and chimneys are unhindered to allow airflow in and out of your home.

Leave a small gap between walls of your home and furniture allowing air to move away and circulate.

Consider a PIV system (Positive Input Ventilation) which will ventilate the home and diffuse and dilute damp air.

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