Condensation and the Causes of Condensation

Learn about condensation, why it happens and which of its causes you can control to reduce its probability of occurring in your home.

What is condensation?

Condensation in a household setting is when air-borne water vapour condenses into a liquid and is transferred on interior (or outside) surfaces.

If the temperature of a things (e.g. lawn, metal, the glass of a window pane) falls listed below what is known as the dew point temperature level for a provided relative humidity of the surrounding air, water vapour from the environment condenses into water droplets on its surface area.

This humidity differs according to the amount of water in the atmosphere and air temperature (called relative humidity). In damp conditions condensation takes place at greater temperatures. In cold conditions condensation happens despite relatively low humidity.

With regard to windows and doors, it is the distinction in temperature level in between the environment, be it internal or external, and the glass, that causes condensation to form.

Why does it happen in homes?

The air surrounding us in our homes constantly contains water vapour, which is invisible. A typical example is the steam cloud from a kettle, which rapidly becomes invisible – it has in truth been absorbed into the atmosphere.

The warmer the air, the more water vapour it can hold, however there is a limit to the amount it can hold for a given temperature. When that limitation is reached, the air is said to be ‘filled’.

When saturated air enters contact with a surface area that is at a lower temperature than itself, the air is chilled at the point of contact and sheds its surplus water vapour on that surface area, at first in the form of a mist and, if excessive, ultimately in the form of droplets of moisture.

An example of this is when a person breathes onto a mirror: condensation occurs because the exhaled air is saturated and its temperature level is higher than that of the mirror (which is at room temperature).

The factors governing condensation:-

1. Water vapour

This is produced by normal living activities such as cleaning, cooking, bathing, and so on, and can be managed by the use of extractor fans, cowlings, and ventilation at suitable places.

2. Inside temperature

This can be managed to some extent by changing single glazing with energy effective double or triple glazing, therefore maintaining a greater surface area temperature of the glass on the space side.

This will assist to keep the space’s air temperature, which, along with sufficient ventilation, will allow the room to hold more water vapour without condensing.

3. Outside temperature level

This can not be managed, but its impact on the inside room temperature level can be decreased by the installation of energy efficient double or triple glazing.

4. Internal and external temperature variation

This can not be controlled as the primary version is the outside temperature level. However, this variation might also be impacted by developing orientation, localised atmospheric conditions, shelter from close-by trees or buildings, air currents, wind speeds and close-by vegetation.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • It is typically the case that external condensation will appear on some windows but not on others due to variable microclimates in varying locations.
  • Condensation may take place on the outside of a window or door when the surface area temperature of the external pane is listed below the dew point. This can be the outcome of the reduction in the transfer of heat from within to out and is visible proof of the energy performance of the window or door.
  • Following the setup of replacement windows and doors, it is essential that appropriate ventilation is included to eliminate the airborne vapour. Failure to do this might result in this vapour condensing on the coldest surface which would no longer be the window but could be an outside wall.

Post Sponsored by Newham Glass 24/7 – Your Local Glazier.

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