In this article
- Find out what condensation is, whether you have a condensation problem and where you might find condensation in your home.
- Tips and strategies to stop condensation from settling on surfaces in the first place.
As the colder months set in, you may start noticing an increase in condensation and mould growth on surfaces in and around your home. These surfaces commonly include windows and mirrors, window frames, walls and ceilings, and bathroom and laundry surfaces.
Condensation, excess water, and damp conditions are the ideal living and breeding ground for mould. Not only does a damp and mouldy home look and smell unpleasant but it is also considered to be hazardous to your health.
Essentially, you want to avoid and remove excess moisture in the air and condensation from the surfaces of your home to stop mould in its tracks. So, what is condensation, do you have a condensation problem and most importantly, how do you stop condensation on windows overnight?
What is condensation?
Condensation is the liquid water on cold surfaces. It is the result of water vapour (a gas) in the air changing to water (liquid) and settling on surfaces. The water vapour starts this process when it hits a surface that is cooler than the air. It is the opposite process of evaporation, where liquid rises and turns into a gas.
When the temperature outside is cold compared to the warm, damp air inside of your home, you will start seeing condensation on surfaces such as ceilings, walls, windows, and behind free-standing furniture. If the surfaces are not dried and aired regularly, mould growth and even dust mites will occur.
Condensation is also the consequence of us using and bringing water (liquid) into our homes. This could be a hot shower, cooking with water over a hot stove, or even the damp clothes you have brought in from the clothesline. From the warm air inside, the water rises and turns into water vapour (evaporation), allowing the condensation process to begin.
If you are finding you have too much moisture in your home, here are some ways to combat the condensation.
How to stop condensation
1. Create a consistent temperature
Managing the temperature inside your home is vital to controlling and avoiding condensation. It is common practice during winter to only heat the areas you use. You might heat your lounge room and close all other doors to contain the warmth. Another popular energy-saving idea is to only heat the house during the day or when you are home.
While these ideas may be energy-efficient, they can also create the perfect environment for condensation. As soon as you open the lounge room door or turn the heater back on, the damp, warm air comes into contact with the colder surfaces. The water vapour in the air then settles on these surfaces. If condensation is left for 24-48 hours, mould will start to grow.
To prevent water vapour from settling on the surfaces from temperature changes, keep the areas you regularly use (or your whole home) at a consistent temperature throughout the day and night.
2. Open windows and external doors
It is important to improve ventilation in your home so the moisture in the air does not become trapped. One of the easiest ways to do this is by regularly opening windows and external doors to allow moisture to escape.
3. Dry the walls, windows, and shower screens
Wipe condensation off walls and windows as soon as it occurs. Incorporating drying your windows and walls into your daily routine will stop mould growth in its tracks. You can use a variety of methods including towels, a window vacuum such as Karcher, or a squeegee and rag.
The bathroom is one area of the house that gets a lot of moisture from hot showers and baths. Investing in a squeegee is a simple and easy strategy to regularly remove the water left on surfaces in the bathroom. Encouraging everyone to wipe down the shower walls after they have finished will help to keep it cleaner for longer! Win, win!
4. Immediately clean up spills
If leaks or spills occur indoors, it is important to clean and dry the area immediately or preferably within 24-48 hours to prevent mould from growing. Any still water that is not removed or cleaned will result in mould growing!
5. Get your carpets cleaned when it is warm
Considering the outside temperature when getting your carpets cleaned, will allow you to easily ventilate the rooms and dry your carpets faster. You want your carpets to dry within 24 hours - a warm day will dry faster than a cold, and you are more likely to want to open the doors for ventilation. This will help to prevent mould from growing in and under your carpets.
6. Remove plants
There are countless advantages to keeping plants in your home. Not only do they look great, but they also improve the air you breathe by reducing a range of pollutants. What they also do, however, is increase the humidity within your home - a process known as ‘transpiration’.
The increased humidity occurs because plants absorb water through their roots and once it reaches the leaves, the water evaporates and turns into water vapour. This increase of moisture in the air can add to your condensation problem.
If you are having trouble with excess moisture in your home, try putting your indoor plants outside. Check to see if it makes a difference.
7. Dry clothes outside or in well-ventilated areas
Similar to indoor plants, wet clothing can also create excess moisture. Hence, the most ideal place to dry your clothes is outside.
If you do not have the option of hanging your clothes on the line outside, try placing them in a room that is well-ventilated and not regularly used. Open the windows so the moisture can escape outside and close any internal doors to prevent the water vapour from dispersing into other rooms.
8. Make sure your clothes are dry
Ensure clothes, shoes, and any wet items (including kitchenware) are dry before putting them away. This creates extra moisture in the air. Mould can start growing in your clothing or inside your kitchen cupboards!
9. Use the exhaust fans (range hoods) for longer
While it is essential to isolate excess moisture, it’s also vital to expel it. Make sure you always turn the exhaust fans on in your kitchen and bathroom when you are cooking and cleaning to rid each room of moisture as fast as possible. Consider opening a window to create more airflow.
Also, consider that only turning your exhaust fan on while you cook and shower is rarely enough. There is still an accumulation of moisture in the air immediately after each activity, so leave the exhaust fan running until you expel most of the humidity.
10. Keep the lids on your pots
To further reduce evaporation when cooking, keep the lids on your pots and pans, particularly if you are steaming or boiling food. When it comes time to remove the lid, do so near an open window or under the exhaust fan so the majority of the moisture can easily escape.
11. Consider double-glazing
As we have already established, condensation forms when warm air comes into contact with a cooler surface. In many cases, this is often a cold window. While we can’t control the outside temperature, there are ways to prevent indoor surfaces from becoming too cold.
One solution is to install double-glazed windows to keep the inner window surface at a warmer temperature. While this is not a cheap option, it can significantly help combat condensation as well as reduce your heating bills.
12. Invest in a Positive Pressure System
A Positive Pressure System takes the warm air from the ceiling space and uses this warm air to push out any water vapour. The system creates warm dry air, makes your home easier to heat, and improves the air quality.
13. Purchase a hygrometer to measure your relative humidity
According to the National Asthma Council, “Relative humidity is a way of describing how much humidity (or water vapour) there is in the air, compared to how much there should be”. They consider that a healthy indoor humidity should be between 30 and 50% relative humidity.
Investing in a humidity-measuring device called a ‘hygrometer’ will allow you to monitor your home’s humidity to help maintain the ideal environment for you and your loved ones.
14. Invest in a moisture absorber or dehumidifier
Both moisture absorbers and dehumidifiers can help to remove humidity from the air, and they do so using different methods.
Moisture absorbers are inexpensive products that typically contain crystals of calcium chloride that harden and dissolve as they absorb the moisture in the air. You can purchase a moisture absorber from Bunnings for less than $10.
On the other hand, dehumidifiers are electrical appliances that will require a power source. Dehumidifiers range in cost depending on the size of the room and the humidity level of your home.
Mitsubishi state that their humidifier stabilises the humidity and “eliminate[s] smoke, odours, and common fine particles, such as dust and allergens from the air in order to maintain a clean, breathable environment in your room.”
15. Do not use unflued gas heaters
An unflued gas heater does not have a chimney or flue to release the air pollutants and water vapour outside - releasing the toxic air straight into your home. Not only are unflued gas heaters a hazard to your health and safety, but they also produce a lot of moisture in the air. Therefore, do not use unflued gas heaters in your home.
16. Check your house for damage
It is important to check for any other possible issues around your home that could be causing the excess moisture and condensation. Looking for things like a leaking roof or broken pipes within the walls or under the house can help you to ensure there are no “fixable” issues causing the condensation in your home.
If none of the above tips helps with the excess moisture in your home, seek a professional to review your personal circumstances - including the airflow and the relative humidity in your home.
Now that you are equipped to solve your condensation issue and stop condensation on windows overnight, you may want to continue your reading below with our related posts or head to our resource hub to find more helpful articles and guides.