Condensation occurs in all most all properties and can be caused by the activities of the occupier, such as cooking, washing , lack of heating within a property, or items relating to the property itself such as a lack of insulation causing temperature differences between wall surfaces and room air or a combination of several factors. Condensation is commonly found on cold surfaces and one of the most common indicators of a condensation issue is the presence of mould growth, which is generally black in colour. Furthermore beads of water of windows or wall surfaces are additional indicators.
Condensation can be controlled, information on common methods used can be found below:
Natural Ventilation and Heating
Ventilation is important in the combatting and controlling of condensation, particularly in rooms that feature minimal if any form of natural ventilation. Whilst simply opening a window can begin helping the situation more permanent measures are usually required such as replacement of existing vents for more modern high flow ones or the inclusion of new / additional vents to introduce airflow within a property.
It is essential in the combatting of condensation issues that sufficient heat is provided and for sufficient periods of times throughout a day. Working closely with contractors should areas of property be suffering from a lack of heating this can be rectified using the most suitable method of heating for your property.
There are two main methods that may be used within a property to introduce mechanical ventilation, these being:
Positive Pressure Units
Predominantly a loft mounted unit (flat specific option available) which reverse's airflow within a property and continually provides a positive pressure within the property, removing stale air whilst supplying, filtered air at a positive pressure,. Running on a low watt motor they require minimal maintenance and are very economical to run alongside being near silent.
Installation of a Positive Pressure Unit within a flat requires access to an external wall and a suitable cupboard / area for the unit to be placed.
In areas of high humidity it is essential to remove warm air with a high moisture content, depending upon the location within the property, typically a Bathroom or Kitchen and access to an external walls will determine the fan size and specification. Sympathy to the existing rooms is also given to minimise the disruption to the rooms and occupiers.
Surface Cleansers and Anti-Mould Paint
Following the installation of required remedial products it is not always necessary to remove any contaminated plaster. In some instances specialist anti-mould and anti-fungicidal cleaners can be used to clean down areas previously contaminated with mould growth.
Following the cleaning down of an area an anti-mould paint can then be applied to help protect the area from future issues.
Increasing Thermal Insulation
As condensation requires warm moist air and a cold surface a further method to combat condensation within a property is to increase the insulation levels particularly of external walls. This is generally carried out via the installation of thermal laminate plasterboard however this is not always possible and external render and insulation packages can also be procured. Aside from aiding in the control or eradication of condensation increased thermal insulation will also aid with energy savings and general environment of a property.
It is important to note that condensation generally is atmosphere and building use related. The works detailed in part or as a comprehensive package will aid in the control of condensation and with the right use of a building manage the issues to an acceptable level. However, it can not be guaranteed that should a change of use of the building or the atmosphere created within a property that future works wouldn't have to be considered and undertaken. It is essential that adequate heating, ventilation and good practice within the property are used.