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Condensation Season Commences

Posted by: on 21/07/2016

Advice

As the overnight temperatures plummet into single figures the Condensation season bears down on us. The combination of heating systems being switched on for the winter months and cold overnight temperatures will inevitably lead to an influx of concerned clients who are having problems with mould growths in various locations around their property and damp musty smell in cupboards.

When we switch on our heating and warm up the air in the property this warm air can hold large quantities of moisture. As long as the temperature remains consistent this does not pose a problem. The problem occurs when the temperature starts to drop when the heating is switched off generally at night as people go to bed).

As the air temperature cools the air has to shed the moisture it is holding (warm air can hold more moisture than cold air). When moisture-laden air comes into contact with cold surfaces such as windows, external walls, uninsulated ceilings etc the moisture laden air will reach 'Dew Point' and will shed the water that it is holding.

The water is distilled and is ideal for fungal spores to germinate and thrive. Hence areas in which condensation is occurring will sustain heavy mould growths. It is remarkable how quickly the mould growth can expand in size.

The mould can be particularly damaging to organic materials and that is why leather and suede boots, shoes, handbags, coats etc are particularly vulnerable to mould/mildew growth.

I will post regular tips over the coming weeks to help you to reduce the risk of condensation. If you find these tips useful please drop me a message. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Tip 1 to reduce the condensation levels :-

Ensure that any fans in the wet areas of the property are working effectively. The wet areas of a property will be the kitchen, bathroom, shower room and utility room. If the fan is connected to the light I would recommend that this is changed so that it runs of its own fused spur. The fan will come on when the light is switched on but will only run for 5-10 minutes after the light is switched off. This is not enough time for the fan to extract all moisture laden air.

If you do not have a fan in a wet room I would strongly recommend that you get one fitted. Eighty percent of the moisture within your property will stem from the wet rooms. Reduce the moisture levels in those areas and the rest of the property will benefit.

Ideally, replace any old fans with a 'Constant Trickle and Boost Fan' (CTB). These new generation of fans are very efficient. They are a lot quieter than old style fans so you are less inclined to turn them off. They have a humidistat built into the unit which monitors the relative humidity and will increase the extraction rate until the relative humidity has been reduced to an acceptable level. The fan will run continuously in Trickle mode so it is always removing air from the wet room.

The running costs are minimal. Approximately £4-5 per year so do not worry that it is permanently active. A CTB fan is more expensive than a standard fan but not by much. It is certainly worth the investment. The extra £30-50 that you will pay for the fan will be easily offset by the cost of the redecoration of the room due to black spot mould contamination if the issue is not addressed. Plus it will save throwing out your leather and suede goods that have been damaged by the mould growths.

Any competent electrician will supply and install a CTB fan. No specialist knowledge is needed.

Mould growth on a bedroom ceiling Condensation season begins.
Heavy black spot mould in the bay window. Black spot mould in the bay window affecting the blinds.
Mould/mildew growths as a result of condensation occuring Mould/mildew resulting from condensation on a cold wall.

Useful links

Controlling Condensation
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