Condensation: A clear and present danger

Condensation: A clear and present danger

Wipe out those windowsill sized tsunamis!

Condensation is one of the primary problems associated with the single glazed windows so common in older properties. Depending on a number of factors condensation can become so bad that the water is literally running off the panes of glass and down the window frames before settling in pools on your windowsills. Needless to say, this amount of condensation can be extremely damaging to wooden frames, wall coverings and carpets, but it also raises the spectre of a much more serious health problem: damp.

What is condensation?

Moisture is constantly present in the air. These tiny droplets of water are suspended quite naturally in the atmosphere of a room or office. The amount of moisture latent in the air can depend on a number of factors – For example kitchen and bathrooms tend to have much more simply because of activities such as cooking, bathing or showering. However, simply breathing also adds to the amount of water in the air of a room.

Condensation occurs when this warmer, moisture laden air hits a colder surface – such as a single panes of glass used in older style windows. This causes the water droplets to condense out of the air and appear on the glass. This moisture builds and builds until the water starts to bead and run down the glass.

Secondary glazing solves this problem by acting as a barrier between the outside facing, cold glass and the naturally moist air of a room. The whole term ‘double glazing’ simply means using two pieces of glass, separated by an appropriate gap, to eliminate draughts and greatly reduce heat loss and condensation through windows. By keeping the warmer moisture laden air away from the colder outside glass condensation (and the damp it produces) is prevented from forming.

Why worry about a bit of condensation? Wet rot, damp and mould

Excess water caused by condensation can end up costing you dearly – both in terms of money and your health.

For a start many of the older style windows in London properties are made from wood. Being exposed to condensation will, in very short order, start the process of rot – a situation which, even if caught early, requires expensive repair and, if left for any great length of time, more likely the total replacement of the whole window frame.

Water running down adjacent walls will quickly result in unsightly water damage – discolouring paint, leaving water marks, causing wall paper to quickly come away and even damaging the plaster underneath.

Left unchecked excess water will also start the process of damp and mould growth. These fungal invasions not only lead to unpleasant (and smelly) conditions but also release spores into the air. These spores will not only cause respiratory problems in children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups but will eventually start to cause illness even in healthy adults.

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