Dealing with damp
How to stop condensation
By Liz Ransome-Croker
Article 2 of 7
How to stop condensation
In this guide we'll show you what you need to do to get rid of condensation yourself, and when you might need to call in a professional.
Condensation is the easiest damp problem to fix. It can often be solved cheaply and quickly, without the need for professional help.
If you've got condensation in your home, you'll need to work through the following steps:
Flick through our gallery and read on below to find out how to get rid of issues with condensation, whether you do it yourself or call in someone to help.
Better ventilation helps reduce condensation problems. This can be as simple as remembering to open windows when you're at home or, if you have windows that lock partly open, leaving them like this more often. In our survey, more than half of those with a condensation problem did this to fix it.
For a more permanent solution, ventilation options include:
- Building air bricks (made with small holes) into outside walls
- Installing air vents through internal walls or sealed chimneys to allow airflow through the house
- Fitting roof ventilation tiles and/or ventilated soffits (under the roof and guttering) to allow air through the loft
- Adding window vents to the tops of window frames.
Bear in mind that these measures may mean that some heat is lost from your house, so balance that against your damp issue. You may want to consult a specialist to check the best course of action.
Your bathrooms and kitchen are responsible for most of the moisture in your home. If you don't have extractor fans in these rooms, you should consider installing them to reduce your condensation issue. This can cost from £400 each, but will significantly reduce the amount of moisture in your home.
If extractor fans aren't cutting it, the next thing to consider is a dehumidifier, which will draw moisture out of the air. These can be particularly useful if you often dry clothes inside the house – another common source of excess humidity. There are different types and brands available, so read up on how to buy the best dehumidifier to find one that does the job.
For more serious condensation problems, there are bigger systems available that claim to improve ventilation. We tried out the Drimaster Heat – take a look at our review to see what we made of it.
We've heard from lots of Which? members who have successfully tackled condensation themselves by ventilating. One said: 'I open windows for better ventilation and use a dehumidifier to reduce water content in the air.'
Sudden rises and drops in air temperature can exacerbate a condensation problem, as water evaporates and condenses each time your central heating switches on and off.
You may find that having your heating on a constant low heat is better for damp (and for your air temperature) than having it frequently swing between hot and cold.
If you're going to do this, make sure you're on the best energy deal first. You can compare gas and electricity prices with Which? Switch.
Cold spots on walls or ceilings increase the likelihood of condensation, so better, more consistent insulation can be a good solution. Cavity wall and loft insulation, or having specialist insulation materials fixed to the outside of your house can all help.
Keep in mind that in some circumstances cavity wall insulation can be the cause of damp, but this tends to be rare. See our advice on penetrating damp for more details.
If you have single-glazed windows, this may also be part of the problem. Single-glazed windows are a lot colder inside than double-glazed ones, so are likely to attract condensation. Our guide to double glazing reveals the best and worst double glazing companies, and shows you the typical costs.
If you do decide to install more insulation or double-glazed windows, this should be balanced with good ventilation in your home (as mentioned above), or all the extra energy-saving measures could cause damp problems to re-occur.
In the short term, make sure you regularly clear your windows of condensation so it doesn't cause damage or develop into mould. You can do this easily with a towel, tissues, or for windows that open, a squeegee.
Alternatively, there are some window vacuum cleaners on sale that claim to help you remove condensation from your windows quickly and easily. Find out what happened when we tried out the Karcher Window Vac.
When you can, always try to limit the amount of condensation produced in your home. Try to dry clothes outside rather than on radiators on sunny days and, if you don't have an extractor fan, open windows when cooking, washing up or showering.