As the weather cools down and the central heating goes on condensation can start appearing on your windows every morning. But what causes condensation, how harmful is it and how can you reduce it?
Skip to key content:
- What causes condensation?
- How harmful is it?
- Top tips for reducing condensation?
- Top window vacuums
- Best moisture traps
- Dehumidifiers: Pros and Cons
- Air bricks and extractor fans
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What Causes Condensation?
Condensation can be caused by a number of issues but it is basically when the windows and/or walls of the house are covered in droplets of water every morning.
Just breathing and sweating releases water into the air in your home, so a certain amount of condensation is inevitable.
Other causes of condensation include:
- Hot showers/baths
- Drying clothes indoors (see here for tips on how to dry clothes indoors in winter)
- Drying wet hair
- Lack of air flow/circulation
Condensation often builds up overnight as the walls of the house are cold, the air inside the house is warm and the heating hasn’t fully warmed the house up yet.
How Harmful is Condensation?
Condensation looks unsightly covering the windows and the damp can cause curtains or blinds to become mouldy. Lack of airflow in the house can mean mould begins to form behind furniture, such as wardrobes, which stand against exterior walls.
Condensation means that damp air is not escaping from your home.
It can cause wallpaper to peel off, mould or mildew to develop and a musty smell to pervade in the home. Aside from damage to soft furnishings due to damp, the wet air and mould can aggravate lung issues and exacerbate asthma symptoms.
Top Tips for Reducing Condensation
There are a number of simple ways to tackle condensation which should help to reduce the problem of damp in the home, these include:
- Crack the windows open for 30 minutes every morning and evening to let the air circulate
- Always use an extractor fan in the kitchen, or open the window slightly, when cooking
- Move large pieces of furniture slightly away from the walls to ensure air can circulate behind them
- Make sure window vents (if you have them) are clean and open
- Make sure air bricks are clear and roof insulation includes a gap between the insulation and the roof edge to ensure air can circulate
- Always use an extractor ventilator fan, or crack the window open, in the bathroom when showering
- Never drape clothes or towels over radiators to dry
- Make sure your tumble drier is properly vented or is a condensing tumble drier
- Try and keep the indoor temperature fairly constant.
Sometimes despite following all of the above tips condensation can still prove to be a problem. If this is the case there are a number of products that can help you to tackle stubborn condensation.
How to Remove Condensation?
A simple and cheap way to remove condensation from windows around the home is to wipe every window with a slightly damp cloth every morning until dry and then wring it out in the sink.
While this effectively removes water this can be a time-consuming job.
If you are on a tight budget, opening your windows and wiping away condensation is one of the cheapest ways to tackle the issue.
Karcher window vacuums
Another great way to remove condensation (and clean your windows at the same time!) is with a handheld window cleaner such as the Karcher WV1 window vac.
This rechargeable device quickly sucks away the moisture from the windows and can clean 45 windows on one charge.
This product is a really quick and simple way to remove condensation from windows and doors and it can also be used to clean shower doors and windows, leaving them sparkling and streak-free – and usually retails at around just £39.
If you’ve got a lot of windows (or especially large ones) you may want to check out the WV2 model. It’s slightly more expensive (around £49) but has a larger wiper blade service and longer battery time.
Bosch window vac cleaner
This Bosch window vacuum comes with some add-ons such as two micro-fibre cloth attachments in different sizes to ensure your windows are not only free from condensation but also clean and sparkling!
They can be cheaper on Amazon (of course) so worth checking there too:
One of the plus sides of using a window vacuum such as these is that it is a quick and easy job every morning to suck up the moisture and has the plus side of keeping windows clean too.
Just make sure you regularly empty the water from the device to keep it working in top condition.
How to get rid of condensation on a budget
There are a number of products that can help tackle condensation without spending quite as much as you would on a window cleaner.
This ‘Mega Moisture Trap’ (at around £12.99) is a plastic container full of moisture-attracting beads which suck the damp from the air. The trap can be placed on windows sills, in bathrooms, behind doors and anywhere that suffers from condensation.
It has a handy spout so, once full of water, you can easily pour away all the gathered moisture away.
This moisture traps can hold up to two litres of water, and with 500g of crystals keeps working for three months before it needs refilling with fresh crystals (which cost about £6.99 for 2.5kg a time – which should be around a year’s worth!).
This moisture trap can hold up to a litre of water, is effective in a space of up to 45 cubic metres (most rooms are about 2m high, so this will easily cope with a large 5mx4m room) and helps to neutralise bad smells.
It also uses cartridges instead of loose crystals (better for those with small children or curious pets!) and also means water cannot get spilled which so can be ideal for places like children’s bedrooms.
The crystal refill cartridges are about £4.99 for a pack of 3 – depending on how damp your room is, a cartridge can last 1-2 months on average.
The above ‘damp traps’ are great for stashing in out-of-the-way locations but if you need a moisture trap for your living room – and it’s going to be somewhere visible and not hidden out of the way – then one of these more attractive units will not look out of place.
This ceramic pot with stylish bamboo lid retails at around £29.99 and will look neat and unobtrusive on any windowsill.
Is a Dehumidifier Worth it to tackle condensation?
If you have quite a bad condensation problem then investing in a dehumidifier could be the best option.
Dehumidifiers work by sucking the water out of the air and collecting it inside the machine so it can be poured away.
Dehumidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, from compact machines to tackle a small area, such as a cloakroom, to large units which can suck up damp from a larger area.
Pros of dehumidifier
- They are very efficient at stripping the damp out of the air so they can prevent condensation and mould
- They can also be used to help speed up drying your washing inside
- Powerful machines can be very efficient, ensuring the air inside the house remains dry and prevents any damp from building up.
Cons of a dehumidifier
- They can be costly to buy — a good dehumidifier will set you back over £100
- The average dehumidifier costs about 15 pence per hour to run so using one will add to your electricity bill
- They can look unsightly.
Tips for Getting the Most out of your Dehumidifier
- Always vacuum it regularly so the dehumidifier is not spreading dust around your house
- Place the dehumidifier in a central position away from walls so that it can circulate the air
- Keep doors and windows closed when the dehumidifier is on — otherwise it has to work extra hard sucking in the air
- Empty the tank every day to keep it working efficiently
- Regularly clean or hoover the filter to keep it working properly.
Most people leave their dehumidifier working overnight to prevent a build-up of condensation on the windows in the morning. The dehumidifier can then be packed away in the day time so doesn’t look messy or get in the way.
If you have a very large house with many floors it might be worth investing in a dehumidifier for each storey of the house to keep the damp problem from migrating upwards.
This Beurer Compact Dehumidifier (around £249) can work in spaces up to 30m2, it is very quiet and efficient so can be left running continuously.
The unit will automatically stop when the tank is full or alternatively it can be fitted with a hose attachment to continuously empty into a nearby sink or drain.
This Dimplex Xpelair 16L Electric Dehumidifier is a lot cheaper (around £139) can remove up to 16 litres of water a day.
It is compact and easily portable to any room in the house. It includes a special setting for drying laundry.
Other Ways to Tackle Condensation
Tackling Air Flow to Prevent Condensation
Air bricks are a simple way to improve the ventilation in your house. They can be plastic or metal, are in the shape of a brick but with slats in to allow air to pass through.
They are best installed in the roof space or attic, or under suspended wooden floors to help air circulate under the floor.
Air bricks are fairly simple to install, see this video for guidance:
You can get plastic air bricks which are cheap and sturdy:
Or, if you can stretch your budget a bit you can get more fancy iron-work air bricks:
Most modern double glazing window units come with built-in air vents. Ensure that these are all open and clear of debris to improve the air circulation in your home.
Additionally it is a good idea to open the windows around the house for 20 to 30 minutes every morning and evening to allow wet air to escape and fresh air in.
If should go without saying but it is raining or very humid outside do not open the windows as you will just be letting in more damp air.
Install an extractor fan in your bathroom and kitchen
Slim-line extractors fans such as this one are cheap and easy to install in your bathroom – and at around £39 are affordable too:
You can turn them on whenever you use the bath or shower to suck the damp air from the room.
Condensation can be a real problem in both modern and old houses.
Damp air is bad for your health and causes mould and mildew to form so it is important to tackle the problem quickly.
The best way to do this is to stop drying clothes or towels inside by using a vented or condensing tumble drier, or a heated airer in a closed off room with a window open.
Additionally ensure there is good air flow in your house with air bricks, window vents and simply opening the windows every morning for 30 minutes.
In cases of persistent damp a window vac is a cheap and effective way to remove damp.
If the problem is especially bad it is probably worth investing in a good dehumidifier. Before you do this make sure you have first tackled the air flow in your house.