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Moisture by condensation: how to recognize and prevent them

Posted by Nadine Hurtado on Wednesday April 3rd, 2019
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Having dampness at home can cause different problems. On the one hand, indoor air quality, and on the other, the appearance of fungi. This second problem because the fungus is a living organism that will continue to reproduce if we do not tackle the root problem. Humidities can occur in many areas of the house, although the most commonly affected are the kitchen and bathroom, where a large amount of humidity is generated, and the walls of the exterior facades of the house.



Moisture on the facade: by condensation or filtration?

In order to solve a problem it is important to be able to recognize what is the cause. When we have moisture in the wall of the facades it is important to know what the origin is. The humidities are produced mainly by filtration or by condensation. In the case of moisture through filtration these are due to some defect in the insulation on walls and ceilings of the house with the exterior. Due to the lack of maintenance of the facades of our buildings, it is very common for humidity to arise during periods of rain, for example. In this case it is important to repair the facade, otherwise the problem will persist, returning to each new rainy season. In the case of the facades, being a community element, the community of owners should be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the same, as happens with the cover, but it is important to take it into account and review the status of and request their repair as soon as possible.

Another possibility is that the leakage is due to a leak in a pipe, which is the most usual when the humidity is in an interior wall. In this case it is necessary to detect the leak, repair it and then fix the wall with new paint and an appropriate fungicide.

Moistures due to condensation are due to excess humidity. There are several reasons why these humidities occur. On the one hand the domestic activities themselves (kitchens, the steam of a shower, the humidity generated by the plants and all the living beings that inhabit the house …). To visualize the difference in humidity, a family of 4 members generates 9 liters of water per day that evaporates in the air, generating very different levels of humidity compared to the outside. When we have a higher humidity in the interior than there is in the exterior condensations take place. They are much more frequent in winter than in summer, since they are colder periods and we ventilate the house less frequently.

How to identify humidity by condensation?

A quick way to detect it is by the formation of water droplets in the window itself. When these appear besides in the own crystals, in the frames of the window, usually they are an indicator that there are dampnesses by condensation in the house. However, if you want to know for sure the best thing is to use a hygrometer, which will give us an accurate indicator of humidity. To do this, first take a measure of the exterior and then another interior. If, for example, the external relative humidity is 40% and the interior humidity is 70%, we must take measures to regulate it and equalize it as much as possible.


Why do humidities occur due to condensation?

It is difficult to diagnose humidity by condensation, but generally they occur because there is no air circulation between the interior and exterior areas. One of the causes is that the current construction systems seek a seal to the millimeter, so that the thermal comfort of the house is improved, but sometimes problems like this are generated. Badly insulated walls, thermal bridges, carpentry and glass are cold spots that allow the humidity inside the house to become a liquid formed water.

Another reason is a bad heating regime. Hot air admits more moisture in the form of steam than cold air. Bad regulation of the heating system with sudden variations in temperature implies condensation problems: in walls, windows, etc.

Insufficient ventilation is another cause. The good news is that it is one that can be solved more simply by simply opening the windows periodically.

What are the consequences of humidity?

The condensation of moisture will eventually cause stains on the walls, the appearance of mold and unpleasant odors. Although of course the humidity is an aesthetic problem, the presence of mold and mites carry serious threats to the health and the contents of the house. These microscopic microorganisms spread through the air and are breathed by people who are in this space, so they can aggravate respiratory diseases, such as asthma or allergies. Another consequence is that they shorten the useful life of furniture, especially those that are made of wood.

Treatment of humidity

Once the moisture has left the main thing is to end the fungus. It is a living organism, so if you simply clean it with bleach and then paint it, there is a danger that the fungus will continue to spread. Therefore, it is recommended to apply a fungicidal treatment in the first place. Once the wall is dry, it can be painted. In the market there are lots of additives to add to the paint that prevent the appearance of fungi, so if you have condensation problems it is advisable to add it to the paint to be applied. For this it is best to ask for advice in your store of materials or your trusted repairman.


Prevent dampness

There are many measures we can take to prevent humidity. It is advisable to start with the simplest and if the problem is persistent, continue to others of greater magnitude:

  1. Ventilator: The first thing is to ventilate the house properly, for example for 5-10 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon.
  2. Change your habits: some simple things like always turn on the extractor, ventilate after using the shower or locate the dryer in an area with an open outside window, will be enough to reduce indoor humidity.
  3. It controls the humidity: a small device to know at all times the relative humidity of our house, can give us a clear idea of when it is necessary to ventilate.
  4. Portable dehumidifier: If the problem persists, ask yourself how to get a device of this type. They are portable and some of them can also be programmed.
  5. Windows with breakage of the thermal bridge: if you notice that there are drops of water in the frames of your windows, it means that there is a thermal bridge, so the transmission of heat is not adequate. Windows with thermal bridge break will minimize dampness due to condensation.
  6. Fixed dehumidification systems: they are a higher investment, but they are fully automated and ensure the renovation of the air in the home approximately 20 times a day.
    Source: Pedro Martín Llach
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