If you have been living in your home a little while you may have noticed that parts of your home’s walls get very damp. This is usually because of condensation build-up in your home and is usually a good indication that your home’s walls are not well insulated. If damp or wet walls are not addressed quickly, this can lead to mould developing inside the home which in turn can damage your walls and furniture and seriously affect the health and wellbeing of your family. In this article, we are going to look at what causes condensation and steps you can take to deal with the issue.
What causes condensation in my home?
Condensation starts to occur when warm air and cold air meet. It can also occur when there is a lot of humidity in the air and not enough ventilation. It is most evident in the winter months and is usually a result of your efforts to keep your house warm. Everyday activities such as cooking, showering, and drying clothes can also release moisture into the air which can also lead to a build-up of condensation in the home.
For older New Zealand homes, there may be many breaks in your home’s thermal barrier which allows air in and out of your home. When the inside warm air starts mixing with the outside cold air it cools down quickly, releasing the water molecules from the air. These turn into liquid droplets that attach themselves to cold surfaces such as your walls and develop into condensation.
Condensation tends to be less of an issue during the summer months as we are always opening the windows and doors to let fresh air in therefore keeping the home ventilated. In the winter months, we typically keep all the windows and doors closed so the cold air doesn’t come inside but, if the house isn’t well ventilated, this can cause condensation to quickly develop. While most houses have extractor fans in the bathrooms, these small fans are usually not enough to keep the entire house ventilated, and when the outside air temperature starts to drop you can start to notice damp and wet walls.
While a little bit of water may not sound like a major issue, if left unattended, it can create the perfect environment for black mould to grow which can lead to several health issues including respiration problems, skin rashes, and sore or itchy eyes.
What can you do to fix condensation issues in the home?
Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to fix your condensation problems and ensure that your home’s thermal envelope is closed. The first thing you want to do is prevent the outside air from getting into your home. There could be several weak points in your home contributing to this issue including:
- Gaps around the windows and doors in your home
- Poor insulation in your walls, underfloor, or roof
- Leaks in your roof
- Damage to your homes cladding
- Poor ventilation in your home
If there is damage to your home and it is not weathertight these issues need to be immediately addressed. Leaving your home exposed to New Zealand’s harsh climate for extended periods of time can lead to an expensive repair bill and numerous health issues.
You could also invest in better extractor fans and/or a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air however, in most situations the underlying issue related to condensation build-up is either poor or no insulation.
Insulating your home is the single best thing you can do for your family’s health and wellbeing and in New Zealand, homes usually only have the minimum standards of insulation. When we inspect most homes, we find that there is a little bit of insulation in the roof and under the floor but usually no insulation in the walls. Insulation is designed to provide a barrier that keeps the outside air temperature out and the inside temperature in. If the walls are not well insulated, all your heating efforts are easily lost through the walls. By insulating your walls, you are helping to close your home’s thermal envelope and helping to permanently fix condensation issues in your home.
Insulation products like CosyWall Insulation can be easily blown into the walls of your home without having to remove the linings. It is pumped into the walls through small holes which are patched up after the installation so you will never know the process was done. Additionally, because it is blown in at such a high density, it will never shrink or slump inside the walls and with a 50-year durability rating, the insulation will last the life of the home.
Talk to the team at Insultech Insulation today about organising a free home assessment for your property.