How to prevent condensation in the home

condensation on window

What is condensation and how can you prevent it?

Condensation is the most common form of dampness and can have a huge impact on your living space, especially if it’s left uncontrolled. It can cause mold and damp that affects your furniture and walls, or even become a serious health hazard.

What are the causes of condensation?

The air around us contains moisture and its temperature determines how much moisture it can hold – warm air contains more than cold. When warm air collides with a cold surface or air that is colder than it is, the moisture it is holding gets released into the air or onto the surface, causing condensation.

There are several types of condensation:

  • Surface condensation – The most familiar kind of condensation, found on window panes, cold wall surfaces and tiles
  • Cold-bridge – Often mistaken for rising damp, this type of condensation happens when warm, moisture-heavy air meets surfaces at or below its temperature and occurs at the base of external walls
  • Warm-front – This kind often happens during winter when a ‘warm front’ from the Atlantic arrives and warm, damp air gets into a cold house
  • Interstitial – This forms between walls or within a building structure

When you start to turn up the heating during winter, and at cooler times such as early mornings and evenings, condensation becomes especially common. Keeping our windows shut and our heating turned on throughout colder months plus a general lack of adequate ventilation means that there’s often too much humidity in the air in our homes.

Daily routines like boiling the kettle, cooking, taking showers and washing and drying clothes all contribute to the moisture in the air at home. Now that we have things like double glazing and more insulation for houses, there aren’t as many escape routes for the moist air and it cannot be replaced with fresher, colder air.

How can you prevent condensation?

Now you know what’s more likely to cause condensation, how do you put a stop to it, or at least reduce how much of it occurs in your home? We’ve put together some top tips to help you:

  • Improve the ventilation in rooms that you use most often by opening a window slightly. Breathing is a major cause of condensation, so any extra ventilation will help
  • Don’t overfill spaces like cupboards and wardrobes, it prevents air from being able to move around freely
  • Try to place larger items of furniture against warmer, internal walls rather than cold, external ones
  • Use extractor fans in the kitchen while cooking and bathroom where possible. If you don’t have one installed make sure you wipe down surfaces after you’ve cooked or showered to remove excess water on the tiles, walls and other surfaces
  • Cover your pans while you cook to reduce the amount of steam they release into the air
  • Make sure your washing machine and tumble dryer (if you have one) is vented correctly. A load of washing releases a lot of water into the air
  • Double-glazing, loft insulation and draft proofing will help to reduce the amount of heat you lose from your property. Try to find a comfortable, warm temperature for your home to keep the amount of moisture in the air controlled

The three key things to remember when trying to control condensation are to:

  1. Control humidity
  2. Provide ventilation
  3. Add insulation

If you keep those three things in mind, you’ll be able to minimize condensation in your home. There are some extra steps you can take, too.

Plant some help

Some plants can help absorb humidity in your home. When used alongside other humidity solutions they can help soak up extra moisture in the air, and they look attractive while they do it, too.

Some of the best plants for the job are:

  • Tillandsia – Often called an ‘air plant’, it’s ideal for environments with high humidity levels, living off the moisture and nutrients from the air by absorbing them through its leaves.
  • Reed palm – This will thrive in warm temperatures, but be warned it can grow quite tall
  • English ivy – An advantage is that it can be planted in a hanging pot placed higher in the room, close to the ceiling, absorbing humidity that rises

Invest in a dehumidifier

You can buy a dehumidifier that will actively reduce the levels of humidity in the air in your home. They run quietly and efficiently and mean that you don’t have to keep opening windows to improve the humidity levels, which is especially helpful during colder periods.

Let us help

At Urban & Grey a great deal of our bespoke aluminium glazing systems are thermally brokenoffering stunning sightlines and the ultimate thermal efficiency, preventing condensation. Why not request a brochure for our full selection?