Condensation occurs when warm air comes in contact with a cold surface, which causes moisture, or water droplets, to appear on surfaces in your home. It can also pass through the walls causing damage both inside and outside of your home. If left untreated, this can lead to other problems such as mould growth, peeling paint, drywall bubbling and wood rot. A musty odour could develop in your home as well. There are precautions you can take to reduce the amount of condensation inside the walls of your home.
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Install a vapour barrier inside your home. A vapour barrier is a material that slows the speed with which the moisture can travel. The most common types of vapour barriers are rigid foam insulation, foil-backed wallboard and aluminium- or paper-faced fibreglass roll insulation. All types of vapour barriers are not recommended for all climates, so it is best to do some research before you install one. Most new homes are built with vapour barriers already in place, but many older homes either do not have enough or don't have any at all.
Install miniature louvres in the exterior walls of your home. Louvres are slatted vents that allow air to properly circulate and prevent the moisture from becoming trapped and condensing inside your walls.
Check that your attic louvres are not blocked and are ventilating properly. You should have at least two attic louvres placed across from each other at opposite ends of the home to allow for proper ventilation. If there is not enough ventilation in your attic, moisture will condense and can cause damage to your roof and to the ceilings below. Mold growth could also occur, leading to more severe problems in your home. Mold can also affect your health as well.
Place foundation vents in your crawlspace, if you have one. A minimum of four vents, one at each corner, placed just below the bottom of the joists, will give proper ventilation in your crawlspace so moisture will not build up and soak into your floors and walls.
Watch for signs of mould growth. If there is mould growth within the walls of your home it will eventually come through to the outside of the walls. The presence of mould will also cause a musty smell throughout your home and can cause health issues as well. If you notice any signs of mould, it is important to take immediate action to remove the mould before it causes additional damage to you and to your home.
Tips and warnings
- Sweating pipes could be a source for condensation inside your walls.
- Mold can cause health problems such as asthma, headaches, sinus problems and many other conditions.
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- Reading Borough Council: Reducing Condensation in Your Home
- University of Georgia College of Family & Consumer Sciences: Moisture Control in Homes
- Dartford Borough Council: Damp or Condensation
- U.S. Department of Energy: Vapor Barriers or Vapor Diffusion Retarders
- Stratton Sells: Facts About Condensation
- Toxic Black Mold Information Center: How to Find Black Mold