November is typically the time of year homes can become affected by condensation and, according to UK trade body The Property Care Association, the use of poorly considered or badly installed insulation can compound the problem.
The Association says modern, open plan living – combined with greater moisture production from items such as tumble dryers and power showers – means that some homes produce more vapour than ever, and factors such as the airtight design of homes, inadequate ventilation and poor insulation are making some buildings more susceptible to the effects of excessive atmospheric moisture.
This can cause condensation on or within the structure of the building. The results can be unsightly, but could also lead to decay, further reductions in thermal efficiency and mould growth.
Steve Hodgson, general manager of the Property Care Association, said: “With the demand for energy-efficient properties, newer buildings often present few opportunities for water vapour to escape.
“In sealed conditions, trapped water vapour can result in very high atmospheric humidity. Without adequate ventilation or energy input even well built homes can become affected by condensation.
“After careful site evaluation and monitoring is undertaken, it is often found that only simple, small scale changes are needed to tackle the problem.
“Getting a healthy balance is key. Solutions may be as simple as opening windows, installing mechanical ventilation, closing the bathroom door when showering and using the heating system effectively – all can, in some situations, help to manage condensation problems.”
According to the PCA, some atmospheric moisture is to be expected, but a constant problem with water indoors should warrant action to prevent mould growth, damage to the building fabric and distress to owners or occupiers.
Mr Hodgson added: ““There is no set guide when people should seek expert help with condensation in the home.
“For example, condensation that appears on the windows after a shower or when cooking, but that quickly evaporates, is absolutely normal.
“If condensation persists in the home, or there is often wetness and mould growth on walls, ceilings or floors, then the problem needs to be investigated and addressed.
“Although some problems can be solved with minimal impact and cost, if householders act on the wrong advice then it could result in expensive, poorly directed work, which may have little effect, or in some cases make matters worse.
“A good place to receive accurate and effective advice is from a member of the PCA, as they are experts in dealing with damp in buildings.”
To join the PCA, contractors are all carefully vetted before being awarded membership - and are then subject to rigorous auditing procedures once admitted.
The PCA is also a member of TrustMark, the scheme supported by government to help property owners find reliable and trustworthy tradespeople to make home improvements.
To find out more log onto the PCA’s website www.property-care.org or call 0844 375 4301.