In recent years condensation in buildings has risen significantly to be become a major issue. The increases can be attributed to a change in design and living accommodation and in the lifestyle of the occupants. A major factor in the last few years has been rising fuel costs and a need to conserve energy resulting in more widespread use of double glazing and draught excluders.
What is Condensation?
Condensation is water that has condensed from warm, moist air that has come into contact with cold surfaces. Air holds water in the form of water vapour. Warm air is capable of holding more moisture than cold air. Air that holds its maximum air content is said to be saturated.
Where does Condensation Start?
Condensation is mainly a winter problem. The external air temperature is low and walls and windows outside are cold. Tell-tale signs are:
- Cold air enters the building and is then warmed.
- The warm air takes up moisture which then makes contact with cold surfaces, i.e. walls and windows, which is then cooled below its dew point.
- Condensation then occurs as the excess moisture is released.
The main areas from which this can result is the kitchen (cooking), the bathroom (baths and showers) and utility rooms (drying clothes).
Problems caused by Condensation
Running water on walls and windows is the first sign of condensation. If ignored this can lead to deterioration in decoration and staining of furnishings which can then lead to causing rot in timber frames, etc. Mould can be seen on the surfaces of wallpaper and paint in poorly ventilated areas, e.g behind furniture, in cupboards and in corners of rooms, and in some cases, on clothes in wardrobes.
How to avoid Condensation
Improving the heating and especially the ventilation with relation to cold spots will usually result in a significant improvement in conditions.
We offer a range of ventilation systems to improve air circulation in the home. PIV units (Positive Input Ventilation), uses air displacement to ventilate a whole dwelling, thereby preventing condensation problems from occurring.
A single fan unit mounted in the roof space supplies fresh filtered air into the dwelling via a central hallway or landing. This ceiling diffuser has been designed to direct incoming air along the ceiling where it mixes with warm air before re-circulating downwards, thereby ensuring a more even thermal gradient between the floor and the ceiling.
A wall type vent can also be very effective. The vent allows condensation and moisture laden air to escape the property as the psychrometric conditions on the inside of the building are different to those of the outside. The home dry vent stops annoying draughts, reduces heat loss and traffic noise with minimal energy consumption, it is perfect for combatting problems with mould and algae growth. A loft and wall PIV unit can help reduce respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies and reduce odours and dust mites.
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