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Condensation - help, advice & guidance

Condensation is the most common form of unwanted dampness in buildings and homes. It is an issue that affects many property owners, and seems to be on the rise as buildings become more air tight & insulated. For many home and building owners, the issue will first become apparent when you start to notice beads of water (condensation) or potentially mould forming on colder surfaces such as walls or around windows within your property.

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What that can contribute to causing condensation & mould issues

The moisture in the air that forms condensation within your property can come from a variety of sources. For many homeowners, this will be from normal day to day activities such as

  • Cooking
  • Showers & baths
  • Washing & drying clothes
  • ...and even breathing

Typically, the main reason why moisture from these activities may result in condensation problems is simply due to a lack of adequate property ventilation.  However, poor building design, poor thermal performance and the manner of how we live within a property can also contribute to the issue.

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Condensation - drying cloths indoors - PCA

Problems caused by condensation

 If condensation problems are ignored it can lead to a deterioration in the decorative condition of the property, stained curtains, damaged fabrics, decay in window frames, the appearance of moulds on the surface of wallpapers and paints in poorly ventilated areas and an unpleasant damp smell within the property.
At its most severe, condensation can damage plaster and timber.  If it occurs under suspended floors, it greatly increases the chances of fungal decay (dry or wet rot) in floor timbers.

When & where condensation issues typically occur

Condensation is more apparent in winter as the external air temperatures are lower and external walls and windows are cold. For many homeowners, the issue is typically seen where moisture levels within a property are usually highest such as walls of kitchens & bathrooms.

It is particularly a common problem in homes that are poorly heated, poorly ventilated and poorly insulated.  However, as mentioned above, with many modern homes designed to be as energy efficient as possible, new home improvements such as double or even triple glazing & increased levels of insulation have had the unintended consequences of trapping airborne moisture within a property. 

Mould and condensation

For many homeowners, the development of mould growth is the most common tell-tale sign that there is an excess moisture problem within the property. As much as you can regularly clean the mould away, the only lasting way of avoiding recurring mould is to eliminate the cause of dampness within the property.

To find out more, visit our mould problems webpage where you can find helpful advice and mould related cleaning tips.  In addition, visit our tips page on how to stop condensation.  

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Condensation - mould problems - PCA

Controlling condensation

As a homeowner, there are many things you can do to produce less moisture and to help control the humidity within your property. A lot of these tips are simple lifestyle changes we can all adopt.  They include things such as:

  • Drying clothes outside wherever possible
  • Preventing excess moisture from bathrooms and kitchens escaping into other areas of your property 
  • When showering, ensure the extractor fan is on
  • Opening windows and doors to allow excess moisture to escape
  • If cooking, put lids on sauce pans

To find out more, visit our tips page on how to help stop condensation problems. If however, condensation issues still persist, it is recommended you consider engaging with a specialist surveyor to explore the cause of the problem and provide advice or propose solutions.

Download: how to stop condensation >>

For serious condensation and mould issues

Sometimes a condensation and mould problem will be severe enough that professional help and assistance is required. This might range from professional guidance and the use of diagnostics tools, to having to consider the installation of mechanical ventilation such as extractor fans. If you do feel you need professional assistance here, then the Property Care Association and its members can help.

Find a damp and condensation specialist near you

The Property Care Association (PCA®) is the trade body representing specialists across the UK who can be trusted to help resolve problems affecting buildings such as damp and condensation.

All PCA members have to meet strict membership criteria to demonstrate their technical competence and service delivery standards. To find a PCA specialist near you, simply enter your postcode below and search for a qualified and trusted PCA specialist near you.

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Professional Condensation Guidance

For professional tradesmen or contractors looking to find out more technical detail about condensation, ventilation & mould issues, visit our professional guidance section.

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