Our tips & advice on beating condensation in winter

It’s easy to disregard the droplets of water on your bedroom windows when you wake up on cold winter mornings, or that run down your kitchen windows when you’re cooking a hearty winter stew. But ignore the moisture at your peril. Condensation can cause long-term damage to your home, not to mention your health, which is why the Property Care Association is determined to help the UK tackle condensation this winter.

The Property Care Association (PCA) has published an eight-page guide which provides an overview of condensation causes and how to combat the problem.

What causes condensation?

Condensation is primarily a winter problem thanks to the difference in temperature between the external air and windows (which are cold) and indoor temperatures (which are usually kept balmy and warm). When the contrast in temperature is erratic or sudden (when you have a hot shower or your heating system is on a timer), condensation is worse. It’s further aggravated by poor ventilation and insulation.

Preventing condensation is a matter of paying more attention to and controlling the levels of moisture in your environment.

How to prevent condensation

According to the PCA, if you want to combat or prevent condensation you need to lower moisture levels and eliminate cold surfaces – trying to maintain an even temperature throughout your house. Improving your heating and ventilation systems is a good place to start. You can set your heating system to provide a stable background temperature throughout the day, rather than using a timer that causes the inside temperature to seesaw.

Extractor fans are required in all new builds in the UK, but if you’re not in a new building you should think about installing extractor fans in your kitchen and bathrooms to manage the moisture levels in these high-risk areas. If extractor fans aren’t in your budget, then you can use a dehumidifier instead.

Quick and easy tips:

  • Cook with lids on.
  • Run cold water first then hot water in a bath (this minimises steam and condensation by up to 90%.
  • Don’t use your radiators as clothes horses – try dry clothes outside.
  • Ensure your tumble dryer vents outside.
  • Keep small windows or top lights open.
  • Open windows in the bathroom and kitchen and install humidistat-controlled extractor fans.
  • Keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed when cooking, bathing or showering.
  • Rearrange your furniture so that there is plenty of space for air to circulate between pieces.
  • Ventilate your cupboards regularly.
  • Don’t overfill your cupboards.
  • Use a thermostat to control the level of heat and ensure that it provides balanced heat throughout the house.

Condensation is a serious problem

Condensation is such a serious problem in the UK that Steve Hodgson, chief executive of the PCA, says that the association intends conducting an in-depth study of occupied homes in the country to track and monitor atmospheric moisture conditions. The idea is to learn as much about condensation, mould and damp in various types of homes around the UK as possible, and then using that information to devise long-term solutions, which will save homeowners money and improve their overall health, as well as maintaining value for property sales.

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