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What causes condensation and how to get rid of it for good

Condensation on windows and walls may not seem like a huge deal, especially if it’s very minor, but it can lead to all sorts of problems in the home, including a home insurance claim. Condensation can be tough to get rid of, but it is possible.

Our guide looks at the best ways to tackle the stubborn problem. 

Condensation in the home with signs of damp

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If you let it fester, and the situation gets really serious, it can even lead to health complications. Once condensation builds up it can also lead to mould and damp in the home, which can cause serious health problems as well as structural issues to your home. .

Figuring out how to treat condensation and trying to stop condensation on windows without leaving your home open to the elements can be a tad confusing. It’s usually not possible to keep windows open all-year long, especially in the winter when you’re trying to stay warm and paying for energy bills. 

Here, we look into how to deal with condensation, and ways to keep your home free of unwanted moisture. 

 

What causes condensation on windows and walls?

You’ve probably seen it on your windows or mirrors, especially after a shower or bath. But it’s the kind of condensation that lingers, which you should be paying attention to.

We won’t go into too much detail about how condensation forms, as we assume you were paying attention in GCSE science lessons.

But suffice to say that condensation forms when warm air meets a cold surface, and when the air has a high level of humidity.

Humidity in properties tends to be higher than you might think. It’s estimated that it’s between 50% and 70% for most homes.

And here’s another fun stat: a family of 4 in a 3-bedroom house produces 112 pints of moisture every week. That’s just from everyday activities such as showering, cooking, boiling the kettle and breathing.

It might be even more if clothes are dried indoors and dishwashers are used.

Condensation in the home is much more of a problem in winter than summer, as cold surfaces cause air-bound moisture to cool quickly.

Having the central heating on, for instance, leads to a greater disparity in temperature in the home.

Plus you’re more likely to keep the windows closed, so the property is less well ventilated.

This is why condensation on windows is more common in the colder months. 

 

Why is condensation such a problem?

If moisture is left to gather, it’s going to start getting mouldy.

Mould is unattractive and smelly, but that’s really the least of the problems it can cause.

If you start getting black mould on your walls, ceilings and furniture, they’re likely to degrade. If you don’t deal with it straight away, it could ruin furniture completely.

That could lead to a home insurance claim to replace your damaged furniture.

Plus, in the worst cases, it could affect your health.

Mould can be bad for the skin, bad for the sinuses, cause coughing and wheezing, cause breathing problems and irritate the throat.

It can also cause and exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.

Those with a weakened immune system might be particularly sensitive to it, such as people undergoing chemotherapy.

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How to stop condensation

Like so many things, prevention is better than cure in condensation’s case. If you find droplets gathering regularly, there are a few steps you can take to reduce condensation in the home in the short term.

Ventilation

Keeping windows open or ajar generally improves the ventilation in your home. This isn’t always practical, though, especially in winter, especially if you want to save on heating

Reorganising your home could also be helpful for allowing air to circulate. Keep furniture at least 5cm away from external walls, and have wardrobes against just internal walls if you can.

If you’ve got a few quid to spare, you could look into other ventilation systems to supply your home with fresh air, such as heat-recovery systems. 

Insulation

In general, a well-insulated home should be more evenly heated, which helps to prevent condensation. So it’s a good idea to have cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and damp-proofing if you can. And you can try these home warming hacks, too.

Dehumidifiers

If you’re getting a lot of condensation localised in one spot, you could get a dehumidifier.

This collects moisture and dries out the air. This isn’t really a long-term solution, though.

Dehumidifiers tend to be bulky and use a lot of energy, so use sparingly

Check prices for dehumidifiers on Amazon

Extractor fans

Keep the bathroom door closed when you shower, bath or shave. Bathrooms tend to be better built to deal with moisture, and this stops it spreading to the rest of the house. Then, when you’ve finished, keep the door closed and the extractor fan on until its work is done.

Removing water from your windows and walls 

If condensation’s collecting on windows or walls, lay a towel down and then use a squeegee to scrape away the water.

 

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