Avoiding condensation

Avoiding condensation

Condensation is the most common form of unwanted dampness in buildings and occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with a cold surface.

Keep homes winter warm

We all find that the winter months can be a struggle. With cold, wintry weather; shorter, darker days, we spend more time at home and feel the impact of winter bugs all at this time of year.

On this page you’ll find information, advice and links to support available to help keep you, your home and family more comfortable over winter.

Condensation tips

Keeping your home warm, dry and reducing condensation at this time of year can be challenging, particularly when people cut back on heating and appliances that can cause energy costs to rise.

Condensation is the most common form of dampness in buildings and occurs when warm moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces such as walls and ceilings. Moisture builds during everyday living including when you cook, dry clothes and shower. When condensation appears wipe it dry dry to avoid a build-up of black mould growing on walls, curtains and woodwork. It’s important you take steps to limit the moisture in the air.

There are four main causes of condensation:

  • lack of heat
  • lack of insulation
  • lack of ventilation
  • moisture production

There are a number of ways you can reduce condensation. Try implementing this advice at home:

  • Keep ventilation vents free from obstruction
  • Where possible, use your heating system efficiently and effectively. It’s more effective to have heating on a low setting for longer to maintain a minimum temperature rather than heating to high temperatures at short bursts
  • Open windows a little when cooking and showering
  • Make sure tumble dryers are vented outside

Winter health

Damp and mould can affect you and your family’s health by causing respiratory infections, allergies or asthma and can also affect the immune system. Some people are affected more than others including children and babies, older people, people with skin problems and respiratory issues.

Keeping in heat

  • Close the curtains early evening and tuck them behind any radiators (except gas wall heaters).
  • Move furniture that blocks heat from radiators.
  • Cover up draughty gaps around letterboxes, keyholes and doors.
  • Open internal doors of rooms which get most of the winter sun to allow warm air to travel through and heat your home naturally.

Condensation and new windows

For those of you with new windows fitted recently, you may see more condensation appearing on the inside of the windows.   The reason being is that replacing your property’s original double-glazing windows with new is not enough to eliminate the problem of condensation. Although the inside of your new windows will be warmer and your property itself will be warmer, the new glazing will eliminate draughts that used to wick away moisture from the surface. You may see an increase of water on the surface of the glazing until you get used to new regime of heating and ventilating. It is important to ensure that you heat your home and leave your trickle vents open particularly after showering and cooking liquids to allow excess moisture from the home to ventilate out.

You may also see beading of water around the window cill or at the junction of the frame that you did not have before, again this is because there will always be colder spots around the new window at the junction of the brickwork and this is where moisture in the air will form, at this slightly colder spot from time to time, particularly on colder days. Again, heating your room, improving ventilation, and ensuring tumble dryers are vented outside will help keep condensation away.

Take a look at Energy Savings Trust’s useful video on minimising condensation at home: