James looks at - Condensation on Windows
You have just had your old windows replaced or you've moved into your new build and there is condensation appearing on the inside of your windows! What can you do about it? Can you prevent or fix it?
What is Condensation?
Let's take a look at what condensation is and why it forms. Condensation is caused when moisture in the air comes into contact with a cold surface (such as a window) and it condenses from vapour to liquid. This could mean that condensation in the home could be caused by the humidity levels inside and inadequate ventilation. The same can lead to damage to the property and mould growth, too.
But...my nice new windows!?
Yes, they're doing their job! Condensation on new thermally efficient and energy efficient windows, particularly in the cooler months, means they are air-tight. Older windows are usually less air tight, allowing moisture in the air to pass through the windows without causing condensation (and cold air in). Modern windows minimise air loss and are sealed up nice and tight during their installation. This in turn means moisture can’t escape and so when it hits the glass (usually, the coldest surface), it creates condensation. Condensation can also appear when there’s high-levels of humidity in the home, so it can happen at any time of the year (new builds, we're looking at you). Remember, its probably not just your windows. It is the same reason why our bathroom mirrors steam up too whilst taking a hot shower...it's condensation. It is the same when boiling a kettle or cooking, there is probably a surface somewhere taking the hit. If my other-half doesn't pull out the kettle out from underneath the kitchen cabinet when she is making a cuppa (reminder number 51651), condensation will form and dampen the cabinet surface above. It is the little things we can do to try prevent condensation forming.
Ok, so what can I do?
Now we know that condensation is the result of warmer air meeting a colder surface, what can we do to reduce that. Reduce the condensation we make. Anything living gives off humidity: humans, animals, plants. We then create more humidity by carrying out our day-to-day activities. Being more aware of our habits and making small tweaks can help to reduce the amount of condensation that occurs in our homes.
In the Bathroom: Taking a shower creates high levels of humidity in the air. The hotter and longer the shower is the more water vapour is released. Due to it's nature, this is avoidable so try to keep your water temperature down and shower for a shorter time. You will save water and save on your bills too! If you have one, open the window too (before and during your shower if you can) and leave it open for at least 15 minutes after to let the moisture in the air escape outside . If you don't have a window but have a fan, use that during the shower and leave it running for 20 minutes after. Have a good-sized bathmat, which should help to soak up some of the moisture (whilst avoiding wet, slippery floors) and ensure this is thoroughly dried after. Finally, keep the door closed to prevent moisture in the air escaping and travelling into colder rooms and/or reaching colder surfaces (the windows!)
In the Kitchen: Another room creating the most humidity levels. The kitchen is home to many appliances causing steam. Use lids on the pans when cooking to reduce moisture rising and make use of a extractor cooker hood. Use the extractor fan throughout all of the cooking and for a little after, too. Again, keep the door closed to prevent moisture reaching nearby rooms/surfaces.
Laundry: This is a difficult one, especially in colder/wet months, or if you do not have outside space and/or a clothes dryer. Unfortunately, drying clothes inside produces LOTS of water in the air with every load. If you can, dry your clothes outside or in a exterior-vented or condensing dryer.
Gas appliances: It goes without saying that you ensure your property has adequate ventilation so that the gases produced escape your home...including the water vapour they also create!