What is condensation?

There is always moisture in the air. Condensation occurs when the air gets colder and it can no longer hold all of the moisture, so tiny droplets of water appear. An example of this is when the bathroom mirror mists over if you have a shower or bath.

Condensation mainly occurs in cold weather, whether it is dry or raining. It does NOT leave a ‘tidemark’ or tea-coloured stain. It appears on cold surfaces and in places where there is little air movement e.g. room corners, near windows, behind wardrobes or cupboards.

How to avoid condensation

Some ventilation is needed to get rid of moisture being produced all of the time, including that from people breathing. Keep a small window ajar.

You need much more ventilation in the kitchen or bathroom when cooking, washing up, bathing/showering or drying clothes. This is especially the case in houses occupied by more than 1 or 2 people where these rooms are in greater use.

Avoid putting too many items in wardrobes and cupboards as this stops air circulating. Leave a space between the wardrobe and the wall. Where possible put freestanding furniture against internal walls (i.e. walls with a room on both sides) rather than outside walls.

In cold weather the best way to keep rooms warm enough to avoid condensation is to keep low background heating on all day, even when no-one is home. This is particularly the case in flats or apartments where bedrooms aren’t above a warm living room.

Is it Condensation?

Condensation is not the only cause of damp. It can also come from:

  • Leaking pipes, wastes or overflows.
  • Rain seeping through the roof where a tile or slate is missing, spilling from a blocked gutter, penetrating window frames or leaking through a cracked pipe.
  • Rising damp due to defective damp-course.
  • These causes of damp cause a tea coloured ‘tidemark’, making this type of cause easily identifiable.