Condensation (Black spot
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Condensation is an extremely underestimated cause of damage to buildings which is responsible for rot in
roofs, floor joists, window frames and many other areas of our homes. On walls condensation problems
often lead to blackspot mould which is as it sounds - a black spotted mould
growth, It is particularly prevalent on cold areas of walls and ceilings. Another product of condensation can be mildew, mildew can be a white or
beige coloured mould which looks almost like a fine pale fur. Mildew is often found in cupboards and wardrobes and
on the clothes stored in them. These moulds which have usually resulted from the effects of condensation can affect our health and can cause or aggravate Asthma and other ailments.
People with weak or compromised immune systems can also be affected, this is because of the millions of spores
these moulds release into the atmosphere within our homes and buildings and which we subsequently breathe
How to identify
It is not always easy to tell what condensation
is, but other kinds of damp such as leaks from plumbing, spillage and floods, usually leave a ‘tidemark’.
Condensation is usually found on the interior of external north facing walls, in corners, in cupboards and under
work surfaces – in fact wherever there is a cold or cooler surface and little air movement.
If you live in a new or recently modernised property, don’t forget that it will take
time to dry out after building work. It can take 9 to 18 months drying time. After a source of moisture
ingress has been corrected the times for drying out of walls etc are similar. Usually more heat and
ventilation will be required during a drying out period.
What causes condensation.
Condensation is caused by
water vapour. All air contains water vapour. The quantity of vapour contained is dependant on the temperature
of the air. This ratio is called the relative humidity. Hot air is able to carry much more moisture than cold air,
so as the temperature of air rises, it expands thus containing a greater volume of vapour within.
As soon as warm air, containing vapour, hits a cooler surface, it will condense. This
is most obvious on windows and wall tiles (which usually have a cooler surface), but this can also happen on damp
or cold walls and ceilings, it is often worse on certain decorative finishes. Because warm humid air generally
condenses on cooler surfaces we need to let the humid stale air out and bring some fresh air in.
Ventilation is the key to reducing condensation. There are many ways
we can deal with symptoms or effects of condensation, but only one way to deal with the cause. We must ensure the
building is dry and adequately ventilated.
Condensation tends to manifest
itself in the corners of a room or behind furniture etc against colder walls (often north facing) where there is
less air circulation.
Moisture forms on the surface of the walls/ceilings and creates a damp area; this can
even penetrate some surfaces. The fungal spores (which are constantly in the air all around us) come into contact
with the dampness which gives them the ideal conditions to propagate and develop into the various moulds.
Condensation mould is usually formed in spots and patches; these patches tend to have a blackish appearance which
is why they are termed 'Black Spot Mould'. This can cause irreparable damage to decoration and furniture, sometimes
occupants can develop chest or breathing complaints if a condensation problem goes
Finding the solution to condensation
Once you have
eliminated all the obvious sources as mentioned above, if the problem still persists, we primarily need to
introduce more ventilation, it is however important that we introduce the correct type of Ventilation for your
property type and circumstances. Mechanical ventilation may need to be installed. These ventilators
come in many different forms, some are more effective than others. Heat recovery ventilation systems
will take in fresh air from outside, pass it through a series of interconnected chambers warmed by the outgoing air
(similar to a car radiator in reverse) so that you are introducing heated air into your home and not pumping warm
out and cold in which could affect your comfort levels and heating bills. Other types of unit, especially
PPU's (positive pressure units) can increase the internal pressure of the property thus driving the stale humid air
out. For more info on these units and the pros and cons of the different types or which one will be more suited to
your particular circumstances you will need to arrange an inspection from one of our experienced
here). They will offer free advice and can either arrange everything for you or we can offer
a supply only service where you can buy a unit from us and arrange fitting yourself using our DIY options available
through our shop at http://condensation-solutions.com/Products-to-prevent-condensation-and-mould.html