Winter is here again and the perenial tenants disease of condensation starts again, so I thought I would share some recent experiments and tips that I have gleaned about how to stop condensation on walls and windows.
Firstly you need to understand that the trick to solving window and wall condensation is about two things, warmth and ventilation. Ventilation is absolutely paramount. Condensation occurs when the moisture content in the air is too high, and as it cools it finds the nearest cool, flat surface to form water droplets on. Over time if they are left untreated you will end up with black mould, which can be difficult to eradicate.
So lets look at the simple things first. Stop most of the moisture forming in the first place by;
- Opening a window when cooking, and using lids on your saucepans.
- Use the kitchen and bathroom extractor fans if you have one fitted.
- Put a tea towel over a boiling kettle until the steam subsides. ( Also saves electric as it takes less time to boil.)
- If you dry clothes near radiators, put them in a room with the window cracked open and shut the door, so the moisture escapes outside.
- If you have a dehumidifier, run it while washing is drying or when the day is at its coldest to extract excess moisture.
- Make sure tumble dryers vent outside if you use them.
- When you run a bath put the cold water in first, this will prevent 90% of the steam forming in the first place.
- If you have blinds and/ or floor length curtains moisture will get trapped in the cold space between them and the window/ wall. Move curtains away from the wall at night so air can circulate around them. (Particularly around bay windows.)
Warming The Glass or Walls Helps Stop Condensation
I have recently been experimenting with ways to warm the window glass or wall so that the air temperature does not hit the low where condensation forms. I have found the following things to really work for massively reducing condensation problems, and they are all cheap to achieve. ( Always a bonus!) Window film works well for this. Most films are a kind of thick plastic which helps to stop the window glass reaching the cold temperature which attracts condensation moisture.
Static Cling Window Film: This costs about £7 for a couple of meters. You apply it to window glass using a water spray and a cloth- it’s important to make sure it covers the whole glass. Most people buy this because it comes in frosted versions which helps with privacy for homes that have road facing rooms, but you can buy clear versions.
Heat Shrink Film: This film acts like a kind of secondary double glazing. You apply double sided sticky tape to the window frame, attach the thin plastic and then use a hair dryer to heat the plastic and shrink it tight. This creates an air gap just like double glazing. It is also excellent at keeping out draughts, and hence, keeping your bills lower by using less energy to heat the room. It’s very cheap costing £5 a packet for 4 square meters. However, in my experience it’s worth splashing out on a super strong tape, because the stuff that comes with it is rubbish. Over time the film does stretch back, but you can just run the hairdryer over it again if the tape is still in place.
Low E or Solar Film: This is normally used in hot climates to stop heat glare from the sun, but there is a new version which claims to stop heat escaping through the glass and instead spread it over the glass and bounce it back into the room. Costs about £30 per roll. You will need to cover the whole glass.
Lastly, on very chilly nights, having a radiator set very low at night near a window increases air flow and warmth around the area which stops condensation forming on walls and window glass. By the way, double glazing alone will not stop condensation if the air flow is static. Stopping condensation will help keep the room warmer, thereby saving you money on fuel. If you have any top tips, please feel free to add them in our comments section below.