Living in New Zealand’s damp climate means it’s hard to escape condensation.
Waking up in the morning and seeing water droplets covering the inside of your windows is just a part of life for many of us.
The air inside your home contains moisture. When the indoor temperature cools down, the air can’t hold as much water vapour. This means the vapour condenses as a liquid, which is particularly visible on cold, non-absorbent surfaces like windows. There’s also unseen moisture which penetrates your carpets, fabrics and other absorbent surfaces, making them feel cold and damp.
• Every time we breathe, whether asleep or awake, we put moisture in the air. On a cold morning, you can see the moisture appear right in front of you
when you breathe. Water vapour also comes from using water, such as when cooking, showering or growing indoor plants.
• Clothes dryers and unflued gas heaters can create a significant amount of moisture inside your home.
• New houses will have a higher level of internal moisture, because framing timber, concrete floor slabs and other building materials can take several months to stabilise. Even your geographical location and climate can have an effect on condensation. New Zealand humidity levels vary across the country.
Thanks to science, we can use measurements to pinpoint the exact time when condensation will appear.
Ventilation can help reduce moisture and condensation, keeping your home drier, healthier and more comfortable. Keeping windows open, even if only by a little for part of the day, can help reduce condensation.
Some window types can be supplied with passive ventilation, which allows you to lock your windows without stopping ongoing ventilation. Ventilation is especially important in newer homes, because they tend to be more airtight, providing less natural airflow.
When cooking, drying laundry, or showering, make sure you let the water vapour escape outside. You can do this by opening windows or vents, or turning on a ventilation fan.
Dehumidifiers are useful to reduce moisture in the air. A dehumidifier draws in the moisture-laden air from around the room, extracts the water and deposits it into an inbuilt container. You can easily dispose of this water by removing and emptying the container.
DOMESTIC VENTILATION SYSTEMS
There are several types of HVAC systems available, which work by replacing the moisture-laden air in your home with air that may be drier – potentially reducing condensation and improving air quality as a result. Some systems have built-in electric heaters that also warm your home.
Double glazing helps keep the surface of the inside glass warmer, reducing the likelihood of condensation forming on the windows. Like double glazing, thermally efficient window frames help reduce the transfer of heat through window frames, helping to reduce condensation on windows. Thermally efficient window frames should only be used with double glazing.