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Condensation Causes – Big Problem?

As local experts in water damage, fire damage, leak detection and damp, we frequently come across problems with properties that are linked to it. Condensation problems are very common in properties of all ages but thankfully there are things that can be done to help the situation and we offer a full condensation, damp and mould survey service. We offer this service to local customers across the York & Yorkshire Coast Region.

This is aimed at achieving a number of goals:

  1. Surveying the structure of your property and environmental conditions
  2. Understanding the causes of your condensation problem
  3. Where it is affecting within your property and why
  4. How we remedy the condensation problem
  5. Helping to recommend ways to prevent future problems

We have an experienced, professional and friendly team ready to help you and guide you through the whole process from start to finish. We will treat your case on an individual basis, adapting the process to cater for your individual property, its design, layout, contents and, most importantly, the occupants. All properties are different and we take that into consideration as part of our service.

Because we work with many of the UKs biggest insurance companies, we have high standards, trusted & qualified staff. All our front-line technical Damage Management staff are BDMA (British Damage Management Association) qualified members and are experts in property restoration, especially from water damage – including from condensation.

Condensation, Damp and Mould - York & Yorkshire
Condensation, Damp and Mould – York & Yorkshire Coast

What is Condensation?

Although most people are familiar with condensation and see it commonly, for example it appearing on your bathroom window after you have a shower, it’s not always simple to explain. In a nutshell, condensation is water vapour in the air which ‘condenses’ on a surface (often relatively cold – more on that later).

Without getting too technical, condensation happens when two things happen. Firstly there is the presence of moisture in the air. We refer to this as humidity, or to be more precise, ‘Relative Humidity’. There is nearly always moisture present in the air, but as you might expect, some things can increase it. Secondly, there is the actual process of water condensing on a surface which is at or below dew point temperature.

So naturally, the question is – what is dew point and relative humidity?

  • Relative humidity is the amount of moisture in the air (occurring as water vapour or ‘steam’) expressed as a percentage of what the air is capable of holding at a given temperature. That sounds technical, and it is, but put simply if you consider ‘saturated air’ or 100% humidity like in a steam room, a room with 50% humidity would have half the amount of moisture in the air!
  • Dew Point is the temperature at which the air is cooled down to for it to become saturated with water and so turns into water droplets, which we know as condensation! The dew point is calculated by knowing the relative humidity in the room and temperature of the air.

So combining those things together, using having a shower as an example. When you have a shower, steam and moisture from it goes into the air, it comes into contact with a cold window, wall or ceiling which is at or below dew point and turns into condensation. This can be more concerning when you have an artex covered ceiling.

What Causes Condensation
What Causes Condensation?

As you might expect, because colder windows (and other things) are more common in winter, condensation problems (and mould and damp associated with it, including mould on walls or damp plaster) tend to be more common in colder months, especially as colder air is capable of holding less moisture too (so humidity may be higher). On the subject of mould, sometimes chemicals are used to remove it, see our guide to hazard symbols which can apply to some of these chemicals and antimicrobials.

You may be interested in our recent Christmas mould article, which has some good tips. As has our detailed guide explaining what causes mould in houses.

When you think about it, this is one of the reasons where when rooms have things that create moisture (like baths, showers, cooking etc) you are more likely to have extractor fans to help remove the moisture. This is why poor ventilation or poor mechanical extraction can contribute to condensation problems in a property.

To find out more about this, check out our guide to explaining what is condensation.

If you have a problem with excessive condensation on windows, walls or ceilings, get in touch with us today and we will be glad to help.

What Causes Condensation?

We have explained more about condensation in the previous section but what things can contribute to condensation problems? Well, there are many things but let’s look at a few of the main ones:

  • Poor ventilation – which can cause humidity to build up in the air, including
  • Lack of trickle vents (or use of them), window opening, blocked or dusty vents
  • Poor extraction – linked to the previous point, but mechanical vs ‘natural’
  • Things adding to moisture in the air – this can be many things, including…
  • Bathing, showering, laundry, cooking, plants, people and of course…
  • A Water Leak – which we can help find with our leak detection services
  • The presence of cold spots – from poor insulation or structural issues
  • Issues with heating – including radiator placement, poor airflow around

These are just some of the things that we look for, alongside many other things that are related to them. For example, if we are looking at condensation or damp under floorboards, we’d be looking for air bricks and air flow etc. As you might imagine, because all houses are different for (a) the causes of condensation and (b) how well they ‘deal’ with lowering humidity in the air and (c) the construction, all cases are different.

Condensation & Moisture Meters - York, Yorkshire
Condensation & Moisture Meters

We use a number of specialist, professional equipment to monitor for condensation, mould and damp problems. This includes the following:

  • Moisture Meters for Psychrometrics – moisture, humidity, dew point etc in the air
  • Pinned Moisture Meters – for taking moisture readings in materials like wood and damp plaster
  • Pinless Moisture Meters – for taking readings deep into or through materials (various)
  • Thermal Imaging Cameras – to look for variations in temperature across a structure
  • Laser Thermometers – to check temperature of a material vs dew point
  • Anemometers (air flow meters) – to measure air flow and ventilation etc
  • Air Quality Meters – to check for the quality of the air and to check for gases
  • A range of other tools and equipment in our surveying processes including leak detectors

As you can see, as professional water damage experts, we use a number of tools to monitor and measure conditions in a property. But very importantly, we back this up with experienced and skilled technicians who know what to look for and how to deal with it. The two things combined help us to deliver an excellent service.

Condensation, Mould and Damp Problems - York, Yorkshire
Condensation, Mould and Damp Problems

What Damage Does Condensation Cause?

In many ways, damage from condensation is like water damage from a water leak, over time it can cause primary (direct) and secondary (indirect) damage within a property. Sometimes including:

  • Problems with Dampdamp on walls, floors and ceilings. Which can cause…
  • Cosmetic issues – for example, peeling / bubbling paint or staining
  • Structural damage – to the fabric of a building (e.g. rotting timbers)
  • Electrical problems – if the above gets into contact with electrics
  • Rust and Corrosion – to metal objects coming into contact with the moisture
  • Mould problems – mould can flourish in areas affected by condensation or damp
  • Air Quality Issues – including from mould spores and related to that…
  • Possible Health Issues – especially for vulnerable people or those with health conditions
  • Odour Problems – damp, rotten or ‘foisty’ smells related to things above

If you think you have a problem with condensation, especially if you spot any of the things listed above, please get in touch with our team who will be glad to explain how we can help you.

Top Tip
If you have noticed an unusually high increase in condensation at your property and you notice it is making things damp, get in touch with us asap for help.”

Leak Detection Team

How Can You Stop Condensation?

There are several that you can do to help to control or reduce condensation in your property. As part of our condensation survey and inspection service locally, we will look at your property in detail and make tailored recommendations as to what options are (a) available for your style of property and (b) what benefits they would bring you to help control your condensation. Sometimes, these things can be relatively simple to implement and may include changing behaviours of the occupants (at no direct monetary cost to make the change) that will help alleviate or supress your condensation problem.

As you might expect based on our earlier comments, these recommendations will look at how to control moisture in the air (and things contributing to that) and focus on areas with conditions causing condensation to collect. This will include looking at mould and damp if they are present.

Condensation Survey - York and Yorkshire
Condensation Survey

Condensation surveys are popular in tenanted properties and we do this work for landlord associations and their tenants across the area. We provide an impartial, informative service.

Condensation and Mould

On of the most common things that you get when you have a condensation or damp problem is mould. Mould spores are generally present in our day to day environment, waiting for the right place and conditions to grow. Mould needs several things to allow it to grow and flourish and one of the key things is moisture. Just like a plant needs to be water, mould needs moisture too.

As you might expect, excessive condensation is like watering a plant and can provide good conditions for mould to grow, alongside other things that are present in a property that provide conditions that mould likes.

We are experts in mould remediation and can help remove mould as well as helping provide recommendations on how to stop it returning. As you might expect, if mould is present, this will be looked at as part of our service.

An increase in mould will likely lead to an increase in mould spores in the air, which in turn affects air quality and can have health risks, especially for people who are vulnerable or who have health conditions, especially if those are related to respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies etc.

Condensation and Damp

As we mentioned earlier, a build up of condensation in a property can absorb into materials, contributing to damp. Over time, just like we say with a water leak, that damp / condensation related moisture can build up an cause damage to your property, or weaken or soften things. For example, if it gets into wooden floors or floorboards it can compromise their structural safety.

If you have a condensation problem and notice that it has migrated into areas around, causing possible structural issues, contact us for help and we will help to evaluate the damage and recommend actions to resolve it.

Drying Properties – Condensation and Damp

As part of the service we offer, and if needed, we can help to dry your property from the condensation related damp if needed. As experts in water damage and property drying and have a range of specialist property drying equipment, including a range of industrial dehumidifiers, targeted heaters, air movers and more.

We also offer a full pressure drying service locally, for advanced drying situations. This can be enhanced and supported with the addition of remote monitoring services. We discuss condensation further in our informative article and guide on what to do if you suspect you have an issue with a leak under kitchen sink.

Water Damage - Property Drying, York and Yorkshire
Water Damage – Property Drying

At Rainbow Restoration – York & Yorkshire Coast we are experts in Leak Detection and Water Damage Restoration, so if you need help finding a water leak or getting your property back to normal after a leak or flood, get in touch with our friendly local team who will be happy to help you with this.

Find out more about the areas we cover.

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Leak Detection Logo

What are the best examples of condensation?

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There are many examples of condensation that can occur but some of the most common are – condensation on your bathroom windows after a bath or shower (especially in winter), steam condensing on your bathroom mirror, dew on grass and plants in the morning, fog from your breath when you exhale in cold winter weather. Finally, steam on your glasses when you go inside to a warm humid place after being outside in the cold weather.

What is condensation vs evaporation?

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Condensation is the process of water vapour in the air being turned back into liquid after reaching dew point conditions. Like when you get condensation on your windows in the winter. On the other hand, evaporation is the process of liquid water turning into a gas or vapour. Like when you boil a kettle and steam is released or steam from a bath or shower in your home.

Can condensation cause a ceiling to collapse?

There is a possibility that, over time, condensation on a ceiling absorbs into the plasterboard (or other materials) in your ceiling causing the structural integrity of it to be compromised. This may not happen immediately, like can happen with a major water leak or storm damage, but over time, if the ceiling continues to get wetter and wetter without drying the risk of the ceiling falling, even partially, can rise. If you have a problem with condensation on ceilings, especially if you can see damage to your ceiling forming, do not ignore it and get help.