It doesn’t matter whether you live in an old building or a brand-new flat – everyone can get condensation on their windows, and everyone can struggle with the impact of leaving it unattended for too long.
Condensation itself isn’t a sign you should worry straight away, but if you don’t deal with the problem it can lead to longer-lasting problems – usually with pricey solutions.
This can include damp and mould, which can damage your walls and furniture.
Before you begin panicking, rest assured as there are a variety of ways to help reduce condensation in your property.
Why do you get condensation on your windows?
Condensation occurs when warm air collides with cold surfaces – this is called the dew point and causes warm air to turn into water droplets.
This is more common in winter, when your central heating comes on in the colder hours of the mornings and evenings.
It’s not just heating that can cause condensation, though.
Everyday activities like cooking, showering, and drying clothes can release warm moisture into the air inside your home.
When this moisture-packed warm air comes into contact with a chilly surface, it cools down quickly and releases the water, which turns into liquid droplets on the cold surface.
What problems can condensation cause?
While a bit of water might sound harmless enough, if condensation isn’t dealt with immediately it can go on to encourage black mould to start growing on your walls, ceilings, and windows.
Black mould can then spread further, damaging your belongings especially if they are stored next to a draughty area.
For example, if you have a wardrobe by a window or a door, the mould can spread into your clothes.
In addition to being costly to repair damaged items, mould can cause health problems such as bronchitis and other respiratory issues.
How to reduce or stop condensation
When it comes to condensation, it’s easier to prevent it than it is to ‘fix’ longer-term damage, so proactivity is key here.
Fundamentally, the only real way to avoid condensation in the long-term is to invest wisely in both ventilation and insulation.
But there are some quick things you can do to eliminate it short-term.
Keep windows open
Where possible, keep a window open when you are cooking and if you’ve had a shower.
Use pan lids
While it might be a tiny tweak, it can make a big different to use pan lids when cooking as you’re instantly stopping a large proportion of the moisture from escaping.
Keep extractor fans on
Keeping your extractor fan on can help, too, both in the kitchen and shower. Instead of switching it off straight after you’ve finished, leave it on for an extra 15 minutes.
If it’s too cold out for that, if you have an extractor fan, ensure it’s on during your shower and in colder months leave it on for a little longer than usual after your shower.
Vent your washing machine properly
Ensure your washing machine in your home, along with a tumble dryer, is vented properly.
You should have a vent installed if the white goods are more than four feet away from your vent stack. This is crucial because every load emits water into the air, which can cause condensation.
A plumber should be able to advise on whether or not your machine is properly ventilated.
Dry clothes outdoors when possible
While the UK weather isn’t optimal, you should dry your laundry outside when possible to prevent condensation.
Even if you do dry clothes indoors, you should always avoid placing them on radiators to dry. This is due to it preventing heat from escaping your room and trapping moisture within the room.
You could also consider investing in a dehumidifier – these remove moisture from the air and keep it off your windows.
Window specialist Glass Doctor also suggest moving your houseplants – the more plants you have, the more moisture you’ll find in the air. Try moving them outside during the winter to help eliminate condensation – if they can survive the cold weather.
Finally, a more costly – but long term – solution would be to improve the insulation in your home. This could include upgrading your windows to double-glazing if they aren’t already.
This has added benefits, including reducing the cost of your heating bills over time.
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Author: Surena Chande and Jack Slater