How Does Ventilation Prevent Condensation?

Condensation stems from many things in buildings, such as showering, cooking, and doing your laundry. Especially during winter, the cooler outside air temperatures mean that many buildings suffer from excess condensation build up.

In any type of building, you’ll find that wet rooms (kitchens, bathrooms, ensuites and utility rooms) are the most susceptible to excessive condensation build-up. Therefore, they’re more prone than any other room to mould growth and it’s no secret that mould damages walls, ceilings, and fixtures.

But are you aware it can also damage your health as mould increases the chances of respiratory problems, allergies, and a weak immune system? In this article, we will answer the question, how does ventilation prevent condensation?

What is condensation?

The scientific meaning behind condensation is the process of change of the phase of water where the vapour transforms to the liquid state..

Condensation occurs when humid air meets a cold surface and is in the form of little droplets. For example, you may notice condensation build-up on windows whilst you are showering due to the heat emitted from the shower combined with the cold temperature of the window.

Identifying condensation in the space during the early stages helps to prevent long-lasting problems. Condensation reduces tremendously if you make sure that the interior rooms of the building are well ventilated. It includes:

  • Allow moist air to move out of the room by opening the window or the window trickle vent.
  • Open the windows across opposite sides of the room or house to promote effective cross-ventilation.
  • There are different ventilation systems like heat-recovery ventilation units.
  • Always maintain a gap between the walls of the room and nearby placed furniture to allow the circulation of air.

Let’s focus on ventilation within this article and see what options you have.

What is ventilation?

Ventilation is a process of removing stale, humid, and odorous air that is in a building and replacing it with fresh outdoor air. This is where passive ventilation and/or mechanical ventilation come into play.

The fact is that many of us don’t realise the effect condensation has on buildings and our health, and therefore don’t know the steps to improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). But with the updated government regulations, there is now more being done to ensure buildings have sufficient ventilation, especially due to homes becoming more airtight and the push for a Net-Zero culture.

Types of ventilation that prevent condensation.

Before we had mechanical methods of ventilation, we would rely on open windows and air leakage through cracks in the exterior of the building. But does this reduce condensation?

The answer is yes, but it doesn’t do enough and therefore we need mechanical methods to help. With advanced technology and government regulations in the mix, extractor fans are one solution to preventing condensation. A classic method of ventilation that has the provision of ON-OFF and can be either continuous or intermittent.

In conjunction, ventilation regulations for each type of extractor fan require a certain amount of extraction, measured by litre per second.

We also now have mechanical ventilation heat recovery systems (MVHR) which is a method of ventilation that extracts indoor stale air and supplies clean filtered air from the outside that is warmed using heat from the indoor extracted air.

Both methods of ventilation give you significant ventilation control.

How does ventilation prevent condensation?

A well installed ventilation system will prevent condensation by removing excess moisture from the air before it has the chance to condensate on a cold surface such as a window, mirror, or wall. Say goodbye to those water particles and hello to clear windows.

Although vents in windows and walls allow moist air to escape, mechanical ventilation is a more efficient way to prevent condensation. This is due to the use of pressure and suction to force stale air out, and in the case of MVHR, bring fresh warm filtered air back in.

How does MVHR prevent condensation?

So how does MVHR work against condensation? Firstly, it’s a whole property ventilation solution, so no room goes un-missed.

As well as removing humidity from a building/room by ventilating it, MVHR also ensures there is no heat loss. Due to this the room will maintain a consistent temperature and therefore condensation is less likely to form as the room temperature would not be cold enough to allow it to occur.

This is the crucial difference between MVHR and regular mechanical ventilation. Not only are MVHR systems more effective against condensation, but it’s also more energy efficient as the heat exchanger unit transfers waste heat from exiting air to incoming filtered air.

Preventing condensation is just one reason to consider installing MVHR in a building, you can read more about the benefits of ventilation here.

How we can help!

There are many ways to ventilate a building and the cost of ventilation varies and is dependent on factors like the age and size of the building. Furthermore, excessive condensation inside a building should not go unaddressed. Ignoring it can result in poor air quality, damage to the building and a host of many other health issues.

If you need help identifying an appropriate method of ventilation for your building contact the specialists at Mid-Tech Services. We’ll take care of everything from planning/design, installation, and maintenance to keep you and your building condensation free this winter and beyond.

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