Over the winter condensation in the home can be a persistent problem for many households. It is caused when warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces, which is why it occurs mostly during the colder months. If the moisture is not wiped away regularly and is left to build up, the problem can extend far beyond wetness on surfaces – it can have serious implications on your family’s health.
Sharon Boxall at Hampshire-based Met Therm Windows says that taking preventative action will prove worthwhile time and time again. “Condensation can seem harmless enough, but it is the main cause of damp in the home. Normal activities which we all do every day produce large amounts of moisture, which ends up in the air and eventually forms droplets on our windows, walls, ceilings, furniture and other surfaces. Taking a shower or bath can create up to a litre of water vapour, two adults being in the home all day can create up to two litres, and using the tumble drier can create up to an incredible four litres of water vapour. It may seem unbelievable, but the average family can easily create 22 litres a day, just through normal activities!”
If the moisture is left to accumulate then problems with damp and mould can set in, which can become a serious problem. Mould is a fungus which can grow rapidly in the warmth of a home, particularly in areas where the circulation of air is restricted. It can be easily removed, but can cause damage to furniture, belongings and the fixture and fittings in your home if it is left to spread. More worryingly, exposure to mould can be harmful to your health – particularly for those who are older, prone to respiratory infections, battling ill health and for children. The spores from the mould can become airborne and can be breathed in, but simply coming into contact with it could also cause problems. “Common symptoms include developing allergies, chronic headaches, persistent fatigue, asthma, ear and respiratory infections. When mould is toxic, the symptoms can be far more severe, however.
We would urge anyone who suspects their family may be affected by mould to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. “If you notice that mould is becoming an issue in your home, it can be safely removed using mould removal products, appropriate cleaning materials and by keeping windows open during the day so that the air can circulate. The person doing the cleaning should protect themselves throughout with a mask to limit their exposure. While walls and other surfaces may be restored to normal, other items such as furniture or clothing cannot always be cleaned completely and may be damaged beyond repair. “There are many simple ways to prevent mould from reoccurring and to limit the build-up of condensation in the future. Increasing the ventilation in your home by regularly using vents, extractor fans, cooker hoods can make a big difference. As can opening windows each day to allow moist air to escape and fresh air to come in. Using dehumidifiers and drying washing outside can also help. It is also worth checking for any plumbing or roof leaks, to see if this could be a cause. “A major condensation culprit is older windows, which don’t have strong seals and can be riddled with cracks and air pockets which don’t form an effective barrier between your home and the outside environment. Considering upgrading your windows to improve the barrier between the warm interior of your home and the cold exterior could go a long way to improving condensation and the issues associated with it.”