Condensation control techniques are highly sought after to combat one of the most common forms of damp conditions in buildings. Condensation is usually formed from high relative humidity as a result of the various indoor activities of occupants such as breathing, cooking, bathing and drying clothes. When the water laden moisture comes into contact with cold surfaces in the house such as windows and cold walls condensatin of the vapor occurs and water droplets are formed.
Why condensation is becoming a problem in Halifax?
Some common places where condensation forms include uninsulated solid floors, solid external walls, concrete lintels and cavity walls. The science behind condensation is based on the ability of warm air to carry more moisture than cold air. When the warm moisture laden air comes into contact with cold surface, the air is cooled sufficiently to force the water carried it to leave the gaseous state and appear as droplets.
At this point referred to as the dew point, water begins to drop out of the air. In places where the droplets form on porous walls and plaster, the problem may not be immediately obvious and may need keen eyes to identify. Condensation affects both old and new buildings and can be a significant problem if not quickly identified and addressed. One of the immediate results f condensation if the formation and growth of molds. This is what the occupier of the house notices first and can give an indication of the potential scale of the problem.
Mold is usually found on many decorative surfaces in the house where it causes permanent spoiling. Condensation can lead to dry rot or wet rot developing in the woodwork. Before condensation can be controlled, it must be identified. This is usually a seasonal problem that occurs in colder months while during the summer, condensation goes away.
During winter months, the ventilation in the home is low. As a result of closed windows and doors, the buildup of water vapor in the house occurs. This build up in many cases is sufficient to cause condensation which can be apparent from the formation of water droplets on cold non porous surfaces, slightly damp decorative material and wall paper and the development of black mold.
Common signs of condensation
One of the sure signs of condensation is mold growth, and one way of confirming that there is a condensation problem is to use a humidity detection device such as a humidity card that can be attached to a surface where the condensation is suspected. After 7 days, the device can give a humidity profile of the house and show the severity of the problem.
There are several ways that can be used in condensation control. The first approach involves improving the ventilation of the home. Water that is moisture laden can be continually swept out of the home and drier air brought in to replace it using equipment such as ventilators or by natural air flow when the doors and windows are left open. Devices that lower the pressure in the moisture laden rooms can be used to force air into the rooms while at the same time extracting humid air to the surrounding atmosphere outside.
Another popular method of condensation control is the use of heating devices that increase the indoor temperatures of the rooms and as a result increase the capacity of air to hold water preventing condensation. Ventilation is then used to safely remove the moist air from the building.
Preventing condensation and treatments in Halifax
To use this method, the heating devices should be set to give low-level background heat so that there are nor drastic changes to the environment and so that minimal energy is used. Other ways of condensation control include using anti mold paints, running dehumidifier equipment, insulating cols surfaces and removing any excess moisture sources in the house such as paraffin heaters of the indoor drying of clothes.
Various methods can be used to keep moisture away from the house ad can be seen as preventative condensation control. These include keeping the properly ventilated by opening the windows on a daily bases and allowing air to escape, drying clothes outside rather than in the buildings.
When using a tumble dryer, it is important that the vent pipe opens to the outside of the house rather than within the house. If this is not possible, then the room that is used for the drying process should be well ventilated and all windows left open, keeping bathrooms and kitchen doors closed so that warm moist air does not condense in cooler parts of the house.
Fortunately, building regulations now require the setting up of humidity extractor fans in all kitchens and bathrooms as a measure of condensation control. In case a house or property having condensation problems also develops mold, the mold should be removed professionally to prevent the inherent health risks.