How to stop condensation with the help of Bray Building Services
The problem of condensation, particularly in dwelling houses, is very much a problem of today and results from a series of relatively simple, totally invariable conditions, and is directly related to standards and methods of heating, ventilating and insulating buildings.
What is Condensation?
Condensation in a building usually occurs when warm air comes into contact with a cold surface. The air is cooled below its saturation point causing its excess water vapour to change into liquid water. The condensed water usually appears as water droplets or water film on non-absorbent surfaces such as windows, tiles and external walls.
Conditions for Condensation
Condensation in dwelling houses is mainly a winter problem particularly where warm moist air is generated in living areas and then penetrated to colder parts of the building.
Water vapour is produced in relatively large quantities from a number of household activities such as cooking and drying clothes. It can also rise from damp ground under buildings, from under poorly ventilated timber floors, pass freely up wall cavities and in inadequately ventilated roof spaces. This will often induce timber decay, woodworm infestation, degradation of masonry and rusting of steel construction components.
The Causes of Condensation
In dwelling houses condensation is related to modern living standards, economic pressure and change in building design.
The main cause of condensation is naturally the generation of moist warm air by domestic activities. Moist air can come from cooking, bathing, washing and drying clothes as well as paraffin heaters and flueless gas heaters – up to 17 litres of water can be produced daily in some homes . Usually in certain areas such as bathrooms and kitchens where moist, warm air can then spread to cooler parts of the house to condense on cold surfaces.
The effect of moisture generation is further aggravated by the way houses are ventilated – it is theoretically possible to avoid condensation by adequate ventilation. Up to about the late 1960’s there was natural ventilation in many homes because of the lack of double glazing, poorly fitting windows and doors, open fire places. Present attitudes have eliminated natural ventilation by the use of double glazing, draught excluders, fitted carpets (preventing air movement up through suspended wooden floorboards) and the removal of open fire places with the introduction of central heating. To put it simply the greater ventilation the greater heat capacity required to replace heat loss in this way – buildings have been effectively sealed and provided better conditions for condensation to occur.
Ventilation is only effective if consistent throughout the whole inside of the house. Further problems are encouraged by poor ventilation where stagnant air pockets are created. There is a real danger of condensation occurring where air is left undisturbed behind furniture and cupboards, often recognised by the appearance of mould growth.
A paper in the British Medical Journal, Vol. 298, June 1989, stressed the higher incidence of ill health in damp buildings with accompanying mould growth and it is now accepted that air pollution is a major reason for the huge increase in asthma sufferers of whom children are often the most vulnerable.
Mechanical Ventilation and Servicing
So how do you reduce condensation but still retain warmth in your home or property? Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) is an effective answer and one that Brays Remedial Service are skilled at implementing and maintaining. These practical systems take warm, moisture heavy air from ‘damp’ areas of a home, for example a bathroom or kitchen, and send it over a heat exchange cell to conserve the heat before the damp air is discharged outside. Simultaneously to this process, cool fresh air from outside is sucked in through the heat exchanger where it gathers the conserved heat and is tempered before being released back into the property.
Passive Ventilation has a whole host of benefits. Utilising a range of exterior vents on windows, roofs and external walls, passive ventilation lets outdoor air to come into a property in a controlled way. Fresh air is drawn in and spread throughout the home thanks to natural air flow, the difference in temperature between inside and outside air and wind. In the meantime the clean air expels polluted, warmer air into vertical ducts that lead to the attic where the air is ejected outside. Most fresh air vents are adaptable, being able to mask disruptive outdoor noises, regulate airflow and screen out dust and insects.
With no moving parts, fresh air events have no running costs, making them extremely-cost effective. An added bonus is the fact that this type of ventilation does not need electricity to run so saves energy and reduces emissions of carbon monoxide. These quiet, energy efficient ventilation systems help reduce condensation and with occasional cleaning of the filters being the only maintenance necessary after they have been installed, they are highly recommended for any property.
Internal Wall Insulation
It goes without saying that a warm home is a happy home and insulating your internal walls is a perfect way to achieve this whilst cutting your energy bills as you will not need the central heating on as much. Internal Wall Insulation is carried out by either installing rigid insulation boards to the wall or by constructing a stud wall, formed from vertical timbers, and then proceeding to fill this stud wall in with insulation material, for instance mineral wool fibre. Brays Remedial Services have extensive experience in internal wall insulation, which we always pass on to new clients to achieve our priority of customer care and satisfaction.
Up to a quarter of heat can be lost through the roof in an uninsulated property as all heat rises Insulating your loft, attic or flat roof is an easy and effective way to limit loss of warmth and significantly cut your heating bills. In addition the Energy Saving Trust states that: “Loft insulation is effective for at least 42 years and it should pay for itself many times over.”
Our remedial team are excel at insulating lofts that are inaccessible, flat roofs and lofts you want to use as a living space in the future. It is worth noting that insulation traps heat in, preventing it from escaping, so while it keeps your overall living spaces warmer, it will make your attic cooler, paving the way for damp and condensation issues or excelling the rate of existing problems of this nature. Our operatives will have to fix any damp problems prior to insulating your loft and may need to increase ventilation vents to prevent condensation and damp taking hold of your property.
Mould growth will appear on any damp surfaces such as plaster, wallpaper and timber and is associated with condensation and damp problems in many buildings. It is unacceptable because of appearance (unsightly growths of various colours – greens, yellows, pinks, black, grey or white), odour (musty and damp), and fears of health and hygiene considerations. We can efficiently remove mould from your home, leaving it clean and redecorate, restoring your home to a comfortable, attractive place to live.
For expert advice from Bray Building Services:
Call us on 01484 911 191, email email@example.com or fill in the form below for a call-back.