Understanding and Preventing Condensation In Your Home


What is condensation?



Condensation is arguably the most common form of dampness and can eventually lead to the growth of mould. It occurs in your home when high internal air moisture meets a cold internal surface, such as a glazed window when the temperature drops significantly below the temperature of moist air inside the property.

With this time of year, temperature is swiftly dropping outside and the natural warm moisture that is created every day in your property from cooking, bathing and cranking the heat up to beat the winter chill, creates the perfect conditions for condensation to occur.

The air reaches the point where it can no longer hold onto all the moisture that we create in our homes and it travels to the coldest surfaces - the windows and walls, where it appears as condensation or the more familiar sight of streaming windows!

Description: C:\Users\HAyleyLeech\Desktop\rsz_shutterstock_191614193-1-300x200.jpg

This is what happens in thousands of households across the nation when the temperature drops, especially at night time when the heating is turned off.  Waking up to condensation on windows is a familiar sight for many people, especially in winter and this is usually the first sign of a condensation issue.

If condensation occurs over a long period of time, other signs will start to appear such as damp patches on walls, peeling wallpaper and ultimately black mould growth. These effects can lead to musty smells, damage the fabric of our homes and can even affect our health.

How to recognise condensation:


  • • Streaming windows and walls
  • • Damp areas on walls
  • • A musty damp smell in the property
  • • Peeling wallpaper
  • • Mould growing on window frames, walls and ceilings
  • • Mould and mildew on soft furnishings and fabrics


What causes condensation?


Condensation is caused by a lack of adequate ventilation. Daily activities such as cooking, washing and drying clothes, heating and even breathing produce water vapour. Air can only hold so much moisture in the form of an invisible vapour, no matter what temperature it is.


When the air contains more moisture than it can hold, it reaches ‘saturation point’ and when this is reached, the moisture turns back into water and condensation occurs. The temperature reached at saturation point is called the ‘dew point’.

There are different kinds of condensation that can occur in and around your home:

  • Warm-front condensation occurs when warm, damp air gets into a cold house.
  • Cold-bridge condensation occurs when warm, moisture-heavy air comes into contact with surfaces at or below its dew point. Usually this is found at the bottom of external walls.


Long term issues caused


In the most extreme cases, a long term condensation problem can lead to permanent damage to timbers in your home or plasterwork.
You should watch out for condensation because if left to develop, condensation can lead to an unsightly, musty property. More importantly, it can also aggravate or cause health problems such as asthma and other complaints.

Health problems

If left untreated condensation could cause respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma and in severe cases can affect the immune system.
There are groups of people who are more prone to the affects of damp and mould caused by condensation such as children and babies, elderly and those with skin and respiratory problems. Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Moulds can also cause asthma attacks.

How do I prevent condensation?

Well, the simple answer is to improve your ventilation. This will give the warm air, containing the water vapour a chance to rise, circulate and find a place to escape - such as through an open window.

Description: C:\Users\HAyleyLeech\Pictures\All NWS Images\Windows\Windows - Trickle Vents\photo (129).JPGIn order to ensure that there is good ventilation in your home, a change of air is recommended in all rooms of the house at least once a day.

Below are some simple steps to improve the ventilation in your home:


  • • Open a window at least once a day to improve ventilation
  • • Make sure your furniture is at least 50mm from the wall
  • • Use extractor fans if you have them in your bathroom and / or kitchen
  • • Cover pots and pans when cooking
  • • During or after showers and baths, open windows in bathroom and close the bathroom door after you
      leave so the moist air doesn’t go into other rooms in your home
  • • Avoid net curtains on windows as they don’t allow enough circulation of air
  • • For bedrooms in use, when sleeping, leave the bedroom door open into the hallway to allow for circulation
  • • Avoid drying clothes inside your home or putting damp clothes and towels on radiators
  • • Wipe down surfaces - excess moisture on the surface will quickly turn to mould
  • • Consider Trickle Vents to windows - which is a small opening in a window or door to allow small amounts of ventilation in spaces.

  • Use a Dehumidifier to areas suffering with extensive air moisture – which is a household appliance which reduces the level of humidity in the air
  • Use window latches for constant air ventilation, whilst remaining secure and locked.


Regularly following the above steps where required will help to prevent and treat condensation in your home.
For more information, or if your property regularly suffers from condensation, please call our experts on 01325 381630 or email us