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How to Combat Condensation

Moisture sources 

Humidity can have two totally different origins: that they are caused by liquid water that comes from a pipe, reservoir, rainwater filtration, or something similar and that is lost due to a pore or defect in the ducts or in the containers that the contain. In this case, it is appropriate to find out where the permeance is and solve it.

The other origin of humidity is by condensation of moisture in the form of gas contained in the air. Although it may seem easy to discriminate which of the two is the cause of humidity, it is sometimes quite complicated.

Condensation is evident on the surfaces of the crystals and mirrors in the form of small droplets of water or by clouding them and on the walls and ceilings in the form of black spots and molds.

Condensation takes place when the air, with a certain relative humidity, comes into contact with a cold surface whose temperature is below the so-called dew temperature. Without going into too many technicalities we can affirm that the risk of condensation increases the higher the relative humidity of the air and the colder the surface is in contact with that air.

Measures to avoid condensation

A first measure to reduce the risk of condensation is by controlling the relative humidity of the air, preventing it from increasing to percentages above 80%, although it is necessary to be aware that in certain geographical areas and / or in certain atmospheric conditions the external air can reach and even exceed that percentage of relative humidity.

Inside the houses, activities are carried out that punctually increase the relative environmental humidity: showering, cooking, steam ironing, burning of butane stoves, drying of clothes, watering plants, etc. and there is another activity that is carried out without interruption such as breathing in people (about 60 gr. of water in the form of gas per hour and person).

How to reduce condensation?

To reduce this relative environmental humidity it is possible to do it using thermodynamic machines (air drying) whose cycle consists of cooling the air a lot so that it expels a good part of its moisture by condensation and reheats it, This process is very expensive in energy terms, the other way, more logical and economical to reduce the relative humidity of the air is to properly ventilate the room.

Nor should it fall to the opposite extreme of having excessively low humidity because this would create discomfort in people (dry throat), it is not recommended to decrease from 30% relative humidity inside premises with human presence.

When does the condensation of water occur in the home?

Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with a cold surface, causing water droplets to appear. Though for some, the concept of condensation may be confined to long forgotten science books and notebooks, for others, condensation poses as a daily problem. In fact, statistics say that condensation is among the most persistent problems that home owners have to deal with. On a day to day basis, people combat condensation to avoid its ill effects.

The problem with condensation does not directly concern the water droplets that form from it but rather, the effects that water droplets are directly responsible for. While water droplets are harmless on their own, if they are constantly present and not given the chance to properly dry out, mould forms. This is the reason why areas within a house or living space that are frequently exposed to condensation are also those wherein mould can typically be found. These areas usually include the kitchen, the bathroom and secluded bedroom corners.

While there are no purchasable products or sprays that can do that, some adjustments within a house or living space could get the job done. In order to do that, four elements within a house or living space must be thoughtfully manipulated. As science has explained, these specific four elements go into the occurrence of condensation and can hence be used to help eliminate it.

4 Elements to avoid condensation

  1. The first of these four elements is heating. As cold surfaces are what part of the condensation equation, eliminating or diminishing these could help combat condensation.
  2. The second element is ventilation. By allowing air to pass through all spaces and areas within a house or living space, water droplets formed by condensation will have bigger chances to dry up. If water droplets are dried out, surfaces will not develop mould.
  3. The third element is insulation. Insulation works the same way that heating does, preventing cold surfaces from being available for condensation to take place upon. A number of different materials can be used to insulate a home or living space, one simply needs to make a visit to the nearby hardware store.
  4. The fourth and last element that can help is moisture reduction. Moisture within a house or living space can be reduced by implementing some small habits such as drying clothes outdoors and taking showers at room temperature. One could also choose to invest in an air humidifier as these can remove large amounts of moisture from the air. Mostly, they are not too expensive and are also easy to find.

With a bit of manipulation of these four elements within a house or living space, one can surely combat it. Again, even if there are no available products or sprays that can help, a bit of recall from those long-lost science books can surely help.

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Nilda Nora

I love writing about interior design. I am in love with achieving harmony at home to improve the well-being of my family. I usually write for the "Visitacasas" blog, both in Spanish and English, and personally answer the questions about home decoration of all our users.

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