Condensation occurs when warm moist air carrying water vapour is dramatically cooled. The cool air is unable to hold water vapour to the same quantity as the warm air once did and as a result water is released from the atmosphere.
You are most likely to observe this process occurring on impervious materials such as glass, wall tiles and plastic surfaces, because the water is easily identifiable as it beads upon the surface. Condensation can, however, occur within walls, roof spaces and beneath floors which is less noticeable. Where porous materials such as wood and plaster are present, condensation can lead to decay, infestation and rapid deterioration of the building fabric.
Prolonged condensation can also lead to the germination of moulds which grow on decorations, furnishings and other stored articles, this is usually your first indication that a severe problem exists. Once mould spores begin to germinate, in the right conditions they can spread quickly, with colonies of mould often occurring where air movement is limited i.e. in corners of rooms or behind furnishings.
Generally, most properties will at some point suffer from minor condensation, which is more a nuisance rather than a serious issue. Condensation can however, become problematic and even a risk to health if significant decay and mould occurs.
Before trying to provide a solution, it is essential that the severity and extent of your problem is known, for this reason a survey is required.
Condensation is most likely seen during busy periods in the day i.e. early morning and late night, when most water vapour is produced. These are ideal times for a survey to be undertaken. A spot inspection however, may not always reveal the true extent of the problem, therefore data logging and assessing the atmospheric conditions over a longer period may be required in some situations.
Reported instances of condensation are generally more common in winter months as the outdoor environment is cooler and occupants are reluctant to open windows and ventilate. Modernisation of buildings over recent years with the installation of double glazing, central heating, retrofit insulation and draught proofing, have all reduced ventilation rates and increased the potential for humid air being trapped within the property.
In March 2018 Homes Act came into force and amended the prior 'Landlord and Tenant' Act of 1985. The intention of the Act is to protect the health and safety of tenants and occupants by ensuring all tenanted properties both social and private are suitable for human habitation by maintaining decent standards. Two of the main parameters used to measure standards for human habitation include freedom from damp and having suitable ventilation
If you are a landlord or letting agent, we provide a pre-tenancy survey designed to identify faults prior to letting which could lead to condensation and mould problems occurring.
If you suspect you have a problem with damp, condensation or mould, or simply need advice please contact us.