Condensation and mould growth

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Where, when & how does condensation occur?

Water vapour is in the air and is caused by cooking, ironing, washing, tumble dryers, drying washing on radiators, showering and even breathing.

During the daytime the warm air holds and sustains this water vapour but when the house temperature drops, condensation occurs at what is known as the “Dew Point”.

Condensation takes the form of water landing on cold parts of a room, such as windows, external walls and ceilings lacking insulation. Areas inside some wardrobes and behind objects that are close to walls can also be prone to condensation.

Condensation actually feeds mould spores, causing them to grow and develop, with the result that black mould forms on walls, window reveals, ceilings, inside wardrobes and clothing etc.

The reason it occurs is because of the high humidity levels in the air when the room is warm which cannot be sustained at the lower temperatures.

An ideal level of humidity is below 55%. If the humidity is higher than this, it can result in black mould forming, especially if the high humidity levels occur on a regular daily basis.

Having movement of air throughout a property with good ventilation being available will arrest the problem and prevent it occurring if carried out when humidity is high.

Opening windows and doors and installing air bricks can all help the situation. Having ventilation going across an internal space, causes the air to circulate, thus helping to redistribute the high humidity air to the outside of the property and freshen up the air inside on a regular basis during the day.

Some occupiers will be concerned that such measures will lead to heat loss and a drop in room temperature that will lead to expensive energy bills. An alternative would be to install electrical extractor units with humidity sensors but the cost of electricity has to be taken into account.

Bathrooms and kitchens benefit from this type of an installation as the sensors will run until the humidity reaches a satisfactory lower level and will then switch off automatically. Fully insulating ceiling in under roof areas will help prevent a cold surface from affected if humidity is high.

If you feel condensation is a problem in your property then contact Property Remedies (Damp Proofing) LTD 01484 714107 who will be pleased to advise the reasons for condensation and black mould and suggest possible solutions.