Musty smells in cupboards and wardrobes, green mould growing on shoes and curtains, steamed up windows all the time, black mould in corners and cold areas, and a damp clammy feeling? All of these are likely to indicate a condensation problem.
Almost all buildings get condensation from time to time. It becomes a problem when conditions allowing condensation persist for long enough to allow moulds to grow. Condensation is an increasingly important problem, and is the most common form of dampness in UK buildings today. Concern for energy conservation, cutting of ever more expensive heating bills, and finite energy resources has resulted in more draughtproofing and better insulation. Unfortunately, this has often reduced air movement in buildings to the extent that condensation takes place and mould growth occurs, with possible damage to building contents, fabric, and health of occupiers.
Condensation occurs when the balance between heating, ventilation and insulation in a building gets upset. This may be due to improvements such as double glazing, which reduces draughts but also reduces ventilation and air circulation, or central heating when radiators are badly located. Additional loft insulation is a third common cause of condensation when not well fitted.
Inspections for condensation cover sources of excessive moisture, as well as heating, ventilation, and insulation matters. They include checks on temperature and humidity conditions in a building, often in a number of rooms, and surface temperature measurements, particularly in likely cold spots. Likely sources of airborne moisture are inspected, such as Kitchens, Utility Rooms, Bathrooms. The location and operation of heating systems such as central heating radiators and boilers are checked. Location of furniture can have a major role. The construction of the building can also have an effect. Solid concrete lintels can form “cold bridges”, and porches in older houses are often of inadequate thickness, allowing heat loss as well as possible rain penetration.
We advise a range of control measures, from laundry and heating system use, extractors, cooker hoods, aspects of interior design, to insulation and whole house ventilation units.
Owners and landlords can be faced with repair and fitness for habitation claims based on mould and condensation. We can assist with impartial advice clearly split into design and facilities aspects (usually under the landlord’s control), and occupation issues.
As condensation occurs only when conditions allow, inspections at other times may not always detect it. We can obtain data over a period of time with dataloggers, and show what has happened during that time.