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Cold winters, warm houses and condensation problems

Posted 17/12/2013

With winter truly here and with the drop in temperature we are all turning up the dial on the thermostat to try to keep the cold at bay. Unfortunately keeping our homes warm can have a downside especially with old buildings that were constructed differently to new, modern buildings.


As Surveyors we often see old properties that have been amended and refurbished with modern extensions, insulation, double glazed windows and central heating. These changes mean that the buildings cannot function as they were originally designed to do. Often all ventilation is blocked including air bricks, vents and chimney openings. This basically means that the property is almost air tight which creates problems when moisture generated within the building needs to escape but cannot.

This moisture is generated within the property by everyday activities such as showering, cooking, drying washing inside and even breathing. Condensation can be removed from the building by simply opening windows or the use of mechanical extractor fans, preferably humidity controlled.     

We are all used to seeing condensation on glass or mirrors but if this condensation is excessive in a property then more serious issues such as black mould can occur. 


A recent Survey

We recently carried out a building survey on a ground floor flat that had severe condensation problems, caused by a multitude of sins.

  1. The property had been amended inappropriately for the age, style and type of building.
  2. The design of the modern amendments was poor with no consideration given to the original construction.
  3. Lack of maintenance to the property had added to the dampness.
  4. Occupiers lifestyle was a contributing factor.
  5. Lack of working extract fan to the kitchen


In this particular case we felt that the cost of resolving the problems would be very expensive and felt that it would be in the interest of our client to sell the property.  


How to help resolve the problem of condensation in your property

 To help resolve the problem of condensation the airflow within the building needs to be improved. We would always recommend:-

  1. Large humidity controlled extract fans in humidity generating areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and any rooms where clothes are dried.
  2. Radiators should be placed under windows where possible rather than on internal walls
  3. Trickle vents in windows should be opened
  4. Opening of windows after showering or cooking
  5. Not drying clothes on radiators
  6. Air bricks and chimneys should not be blocked 

Externally old properties need to be able to breathe so appropriate renders and paints should be used rather than cement renders and plastic paints.



For further information regarding condensation and other property matters please see our website where we have written hundreds of surveying and property articles that can help you.


or call us 0800 298 5424






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