O N D E N S A T I O N
the major complaints from a tenant is to contact the Landlord or agent and
say they have
"a damp problem". Quite often they have not opened
windows or turned extractors on whilst washing or cooking, they live in a property
without a chimney, that has double
glazing and no fresh air is getting in.
dry their clothes over an electric radiator or heater in the living room or bedroom
and before long there is water running down the glass on the windows, black mould
occurring on walls, corners of ceiling and in built in cupboards.
all over curtains and around window frame and wall.
do occur because of the way in which buildings are built today or have been converted,
however many people just do not make sure the property is properly ventilated.
Up until the middle of the twentieth century, most houses had high natural ventilation.
There was not a lot of home insulation and since energy saving methods such as
double glazing have been introduced the problem has got worse.
Imagine a standard "Edwardian / Victorian" house, high ceilings, exposed
floorboards, plenty of fireplaces and therefore plenty of fresh air coming in.
Today there are wall to wall fitted carpets, laminate flooring, wall insulation,
dry lined internal walls.
following notes provide more information
effect of moisture generation is increased by keeping the moist air in the property
and it is possible to avoid condensation by adequate ventilation. Certain parts
of the property like the bathrrom and kitchen will have much more warm air that
contains a lot of moisture so it spreads to cooler parts of the property.
to shrinkage, condensation is the most common problem in houses.
Condensation occurs when warm moist air meets a cold surface.
The water in the air then either settles as water droplets on the surface
(as it does on windows for example), or, if the surface is absorbent, it soaks
into the surface. In the latter case
condensation is often not noticed unless or until mould appears.
tends to appear on surfaces where condensation takes place regularly.
Because the external walls of a room are usually the coldest they tend
to be most affected by condensation (and as a result of mould) particularly at
the corners of the room. Mould is
often found in cupboards, and behind furniture which is pushed close up against
a cold wall, this is because there is poor ventilation in cupboards and behind
furniture so that any condensation there gets little chance to dry off.
have become more effectively sealed, keeping any moisture produced within the
property that provides better conditions for condensation.
Left and below:
Typical condensation situation where the windows have not been opened.
moisture can come from cooking, bathing, washing and drying clothes as well as
from paraffin heaters and flue-less gas heaters - even breathing
produces condensation. However there
are ways of controlling condensation. One
way is to reduce the amount of moisture in the air (the "humidity"),
or another is to increase the warmth of the surface of the walls or other areas
affected. Reducing condensation is
the best way of controlling mould but it is possible to use fungicidal washes
and paints also.
TO CONTROL CONDENSATION
that your rooms are always warm and properly ventilated.
Too much ventilation in rooms can carry away too much heat and this can
cause wall surfaces to get so cold it will actually encourage condensation rather
than reduce it.
cooking, keep kitchen door shut and window open.
using a bath or shower or washing clothes, keep the room door shut and the window
open. If it is an internal bathroom, make sure the extractor fan
is kept switched on.
clothes: Tumble driers produce a great deal of moist air and this should,
ideally, be ducted directly to the outside of the house.
If condensation is very bad in the house you should consider drying your
clothes outside or in a cool area inside. It will take longer, however there will
be less moisture. When you dry clothes inside ventilate the room.
anyone comes into the property in wet coats, hang them outside the living area
to dry, if you have a porch, use it.
you use a paraffin heater or flue-less gas heater, be sure the window is open
a little. Remember that every gallon of paraffin burnt produces 10 pints
One gallon of paraffin when burned produces water vapour which turns into water
as soon as it touches cold walls and windows.
The amount of water is often rather more than the original amount of paraffin,
because of existing moisture in the air.)
cold weather, keep some heating on all the time, i.e. for 24 hours a day.
The warmer a house the less condensation will occur - providing that the
level of humidity is controlled too.
using a dehumidifier - most large electrical retailers sell these and they are
not expensive for a domestic model. They can remove a surprising amount of water
from the air, but they do need emptying.
not fill cupboards to bursting point - particularly if there are clothes in them.
Let the air flow into the cupboards.
WARMTH: HEATING AND VENTILATION
property can be made warmer inside by increasing the level of heating or by increasing
the insulation. It must be remembered,
however, that if there is not heating at all in the house then improving the ventilation
won't make it any warmer.
insulation is the most cost-effective way of improving the insulation of a house
and a grant may be available from the council towards providing it in certain
circumstances and if you are on supplementary benefit, family credit or housing
benefit and if the house has less than 3mm of loft insulation.
are other, more expensive, ways of improving the insulation of a house but loft
insulation is the one to start with. The
other ways include; cavity wall insulation, double glazing, internal dry lining
of walls and external insulated rendering. A relatively cheap way of providing a little extra insulation
to a wall is to put expanded polystyrene behind the wallpaper (you can buy this
MEASURES AGAINST MOULD
most important action to take against mould is to try and reduce the condensation
in the ways described earlier. In
particular if you have mould behind furniture or in cupboards then move them away
from the cold outside walls if possible and put ventilation holes in the top and
bottom of cupboards if necessary
away mould is best done using an anti-mould solution or wash and there are a number
of different brands now on the market. A
little while after using them the surface should be scrubbed clean with a stiff
brush. These washes kill the mould
and it's spores and does provide some short term protection against the re-appearance
with mould inhibitors: - Longer
term protection against the re-appearance of mould can be gained by redecorating
the area affected with a mould inhibiting paint.
A number of firms produce these (e.g. Macphersons, Bio Kil Chemicals, Glixton,
Signpost Paints and Liquid Plastics Ltd).
companies produce machines called "dehumidifiers".
These machines remove water from the air and produce heat too.
They cost about £1 - £2 per week to run.
They work best in well heated rooms where the humidity is high.
In poorly heated rooms they have little effect.
The machine has to have a large capacity (an extraction rate of 2-4 litres
per day is needed). Some models are ineffective.
In short these machines may be very helpful in some cases, but are not
a sure fire cure for condensation.
Left: Condensation like this will often cling to higher area exposing the
This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without
the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed
at. ©jml property Services
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