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Should Double-Glazed Windows Get Condensation on the Inside?

Should Double-Glazed Windows Get Condensation on the Inside?

Initially, condensation may seem like a harmless nuisance that can be easily solved with a paper towel. Over time however, it can result in damage to your home and health problems for its occupants. Although condensation can never be fully eliminated, tools such as double-glazed windows can significantly reduce its occurrence. 

In this article, we’ll explore how to remove condensation from double-glazed windows and how to tell if your double-glazed windows are effectively preventing condensation. 

What Is Condensation?

Tackling the issue of how to remove condensation from double-glazed windows first requires that we answer the question ‘what is condensation?’ Condensation is the natural process whereby water vapour becomes liquid, due to falling temperatures. Given that water’s boiling point is 100℃, once the temperature drops below that point, water vapour can start to become liquid. 

What Causes Condensation on Windows?

In the comfort of our own homes, we tend to do activities such as cooking, showering, and washing and drying clothes. Unfortunately, these activities are a source of excess humidity, as they release water vapour into the air. This phenomenon is further exacerbated during winter, when we use more heat. It also occurs when a building is poorly ventilated and excess water vapour cannot escape. 

Condensation occurs when water vapour cools and becomes liquid. Therefore, when water vapour in the air makes contact with the cool surface of a window, the vapour will condense. This results in water droplets falling from the surface of the glass and forming pools on or around window frames. 

Given that condensation is a natural occurrence and typical human activities generate excess water vapour, it’s easy to conclude that condensation is not a problem. However, condensation can settle on the surface of your home’s fixtures and cause serious damage in the form of rot or mould. Although the expense of replacement or repair can be significant, these are not the only concern. Mould spores can become airborne and exacerbate breathing problems such as asthma in your home’s occupants. Therefore, it is a problem that requires a solution. And double-glazing may be one of the most effective solutions. 

Where Does Condensation Appear on Double-Glazed Windows?

Double-glazed windows are two panes of glass that have been mounted in a frame. The space between the two panes of glass is usually filled with argan gas, which is meant to serve as an insulator. The purpose of double glazing is to ensure that the temperature outside the building does not affect the temperature inside the building. It’s an effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency, as it prevents heat and cool air from escaping. In the case of preventing condensation, double glazing helps to stabilise your home’s indoor temperature. Therefore, the water vapour and the window will be the same or near the same temperature, and condensation is less likely to occur. 

Once you’ve installed double-glazed windows, you have to pay attention to where condensation appears, as this will indicate whether the double-glazing is working. With double-glazed windows, condensation is meant to appear solely on the outer pane, i.e. the pane that is facing outside of your home. In this scenario, the double-glazing is working. The gas in between the two panes serves as an insulator that prevents heat transfer between them. The seals around the windows are meant to keep out air and water from entering between the panes and into your house. 

However, if condensation appears elsewhere, it’s indicative of a problem. Where condensation starts to form between the two glass panes, it means that one of the seals is likely damaged. Therefore, insulating gas is escaping, and air and water are filling the space. If left unresolved, it can affect the appearance of your windows, raising the question of how to remove condensation from double-glazed windows. This problem can deteriorate and compromise the inner glass pane. Once condensation begins to form on the inner glass, it may be a sign that the double glazing is no longer effective at preventing heat transfer. However, one must note that condensation on interior windows can also be a sign of excess humidity and poor ventilation, in addition to a broken seal. Therefore, you should employ a specialist to diagnose the true source of the problem. 

Should You Replace Your Windows?

As previously mentioned, excess humidity in a house is a result of normal human activity. Therefore, condensation is nearly unavoidable. However, there are solutions as simple as opening windows during or after cooking and showering, and using a dehumidifier. If your condensation problem decreases after those measures, there is no need to replace your windows. Yet if the problem persists, you may be interested in more invasive measures such as improving your home’s ventilation system or replacing your single-glazed windows with double-glazed windows. 

However, if your home already has double-glazed windows and condensation is forming in the space between the glass panes, it’s advised that you consider replacing your windows. The seals on the window are likely damaged due to age or exposure to the elements. If left unrepaired, water and air can seep in and cloud the window, rendering it translucent. Although there are various home remedies on how to remove condensation from double-glazed windows, bear in mind that you risk exacerbating the problem and damaging your window. If the frames of your windows are wooden, the excess water can rot the wood.  For double-glazed windows that still experience condensation issues on the interior glass, it may be indicative of another issue. Therefore, in addition to replacing your windows, it’s important to consider other factors causing the problem. 

Contact Atlantis Property Preservation

Condensation starts as a harmless nuisance but can gradually become a noticeable problem. The source and severity of the issue will determine the best measure to treat it. Before you rush into the time-consuming and expensive process of replacing all your windows, you should seek the evaluation of an expert who can diagnose the problem and guide you on the best course of action. Contact our experts today for a damp survey, where we can help you find and treat the source of condensation and other structural damp issues.

Everything you need to know about subfloor ventilation

Everything you need to know about subfloor ventilation

Homeowners are often house proud and with good reason. 

Buying a house is a huge investment, and not to be taken lightly. 

Unfortunately, at times even the best constructed properties can experience moisture entering via the subfloor. This could be condensation or other types of damp affecting your living space.

Some tell-tale signs that you have a moisture problem is a stale musty smell entering your home, condensation on windows, ceilings, and walls, mould growing on surfaces, and wallpaper peeling. 

If that’s an issue, it would be prudent to invest in subfloor ventilation to combat the impact of damp and safeguard the health of both the building and your family.

What is subfloor ventilation?

As explained in The Spruce, ‘a subfloor is a solid base underneath your floor covering that you depend on for the stability of a room’s floors and walls.’ 

It’s this space that’s generally dark and can become damp, leading to potential damage to the home and health risks to its occupants. 

Subfloor ventilation is a remedy for these risks and has been likened to ‘opening a window and forcing fresh, cool, and clean air through your house and out the other side.’

Just as your walls and floor work together to create a structurally sound system, so too subfloor ventilation creates a system that draws out the damp, stale air from your home and circulates fresh air under your floor. 

These two aspects of subfloor ventilation can restore the right balance of moisture in your subfloor, thus treating the cause of damp-related damage. 

Does a subfloor need ventilation?

Unfortunately, at times it’s the signs that damage has already been done that lets us know a subfloor needs ventilation. 

It could be that you notice excessive condensation in your home, or mould growing on the window seals or walls. The stale air, from the subfloor if not properly ventilated can flow into your home’s living areas, creating a musty smell. 

These signs are not just unpleasant; they can also be a health hazard. Stale and damp air are perfect conditions for mould, bacteria, and termites. 

On a human level, these can exacerbate symptoms of allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems. Certainly not what you would like to expose your loved ones to. 

For the home itself, moisture in a building from the subfloor can lead to rotting timber (made worse if termites are present), which can compromise the structure and safety of the building. 

Without subfloor ventilation, these issues can lead to warped floors, damp and ruined carpets, health-compromising odours and bacteria, and costly damage. 

Beyond this, are other less visible risks such as radon gas and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Radon gas is a radioactive, odourless, colourless gas which is naturally occurring under certain conditions and can move through the subsoil and into buildings. 

VOCs, as the name suggests, are volatile compounds that exist in some furniture and other man-made products we often have in our homes. Without subfloor ventilation these compounds can build up, resulting in potential health damage to the occupants. 

How does subfloor ventilation work? 

A subfloor can be ventilated by placing vents on the external opposing walls in the subfloor of a building. 

Subfloor ventilation systems generally include powered vents and static vents that work together to extract stale, damp air and circulate fresh, dry air into the subfloor. 

There are different types of subfloor ventilation, but essentially, they work on a ‘suck and blow’ principle, with one ventilating fan sucking fresh, dry air into the subfloor and the other ventilating fan blowing that air into the recesses below. 

Depending on the area, ducting may be required to distribute the air. As the air is now able to circulate, it restores the correct moisture balance in the subfloor.

Some subfloor ventilation systems are on a timer, others utilise sensors that detect moisture in the subfloor and either increase or reduce power according to what is needed. This provides an energy-efficient solution that also ensures the vents work as needed rather than overcompensating.

What are the requirements for subfloor ventilation in the UK?

BS 525 Management of Moisture in Buildings states that 4.4 ‘Floors next to the ground and floors exposed from below should be designed and constructed so that their structural and thermal performance are not adversely affected by interstitial condensation.’

As a result, UK building regulations stipulate the requirements for subfloor ventilation in the UK.

Which is as follows:

  • Two opposing external walls should have ventilation openings placed so that the ventilated air will have a free path between opposite sides and to all sides
  • The openings should not be less than either 1,500 mm2/m run of external wall or 500 mm2/m2 of floor area, whichever is the greater opening area
  • Any pipes needed to carry ventilated air should have a diameter of at least 100mm
  • Ventilated air space must be at least 75mm from the ground covering to any wall plates and at least 150mm to the underside of the suspended timber floor
  • Ventilation openings must incorporate suitable grills to prevent vermin entering the subfloor without causing a restriction in airflow

Benefits of installing subfloor ventilation

BS 525 Management of Moisture in Buildings states ‘Moisture in buildings is a significant cause of many building failures, including some building related occupant health problems.’ 

Subfloor ventilation offers a homeowner peace of mind that their two most precious assets, their loved ones and their home, are protected from health issues and costly damage that could otherwise arise from moisture and gases in their home. 

How much does it cost to install subfloor ventilation?

The cost of installing subfloor ventilation will depend on several factors including the size of the building and any ducting required, the choice of ventilation products, as well as any existing damage that may first need to be addressed. 

To find out more about costs of installing subfloor ventilation contact the professional and experienced team at Atlantis Damp to arrange a survey of your property’s unique needs and a quote to protect your home with subfloor ventilation.

Early Signs of Dry Rot

Early Signs of Dry Rot

What Is Dry Rot?

Dry rot is a highly destructive fungal growth which affects timber. The fungi spread swiftly by feeding off the wood cells, which makes the timber brittle and extremely vulnerable. Dry rot spores can even penetrate other materials such as brick or steel to reach wood in another part of the structure.   

Because of its ability to move through a variety of building materials, dry rot can cause serious and widespread structural damage with alarming speed, so it’s essential to recognise dry rot early signs and treat the infestation as quickly as possible. 

How Can I Tell If I Have Dry Rot?

Dry rot can affect timber in any part of a building, and it can be found in modern or older structures. During the early stages, there may be no visible dry rot early signs, but you’ll notice an earthy, musty, damp smell that’s quite unpleasant. Any hint of this and you must investigate further. 

Dry rot begins as a tiny spore which flourishes in damp, dark and unventilated conditions. Consequently, the problem often begins in hidden areas – under floorboards or in attics and basements, for example. By the time dry rot becomes visible, it’s probably well-established already, so it’s a good idea to be aware of dry rot early signs.

What Does Early Dry Rot Look Like?

Dry Rot develops in four stages. 

Stage One: Red Dust

The first dry rot early sign is a red or orange dust composed of numerous microscopic spores. These spores are present in the atmosphere all around us and at this point they are harmless. 

Stage Two: Hyphae

If there’s excess moisture in the atmosphere the spores begin to germinate. You’ll know this has happened as they start to put out fine white or grey strands that look like spiders’ webs.  These fine tendrils are hyphae, and the fungus uses them to penetrate timber and suck up moisture. The wood then dries out and begins breaking down. If you spot these dry rot early signs, you can be sure an infestation is underway. 

Stage Three: Mycelium

Once moisture is extracted from the immediate area, the hyphae continue to grow. They form whitish clumps which look very much like cotton wool. These fluffy clumps are called mycelium and if these appear it’s vital you act at once. 

This is the point at which dry rot can travel through masonry and bricks to cause huge structural damage. You also want to prevent the fungus from reaching stage four of its development. 

Stage Four: Fruiting Body

At this stage, the mycelium forms a mushroom-like structure (the fruiting body) where new spores are produced. They’re easy to spot as they are a distinctive red colour. The fruiting body then pumps spores into the atmosphere in order to reach new timber, and so the damage spreads.  

How Does Dry Rot Affect Wood? 

The affected timber tends to grow darker when dry rot sets in. It dries out, shrinks and cracks. Sometimes it has a spongy texture. Eventually, the wood disintegrates into small, crumbly cubes of timber. In some cases, wood retains its surface veneer during the early stages. This conceals the underlying damage until the problem becomes too severe and the wood begins to fall apart. 

If you suspect you have a dry rot problem and you have wooden floorboards, this can be a good place to begin your investigation. The problem often starts under the floor so you won’t see it but there will be clues. The floor can begin to feel bouncy, and you may notice it creaking as well. This is one of the dry rot early signs that there’s trouble below. 

Does Dry Rot Go Away on Its Own?

Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. The spores need moisture to germinate so you might imagine that removing the water source stops them from doing so (fixing a leaking pipe, for example). That may halt the spread for the time being. However, if the spores run out of damp wood, they simply remain dormant – ready to germinate again as soon as conditions are right. 

In addition, dry rot weakens timber so even if the spores become dormant you still face the prospect of structural damage. Waiting for it to go away will lead to further problems in the end. 

Can You Stop Dry Rot from Spreading?

Yes, you can but once dry rot sets in you’ll need professional help to stop the spread and repair structural damage. 

What Is the Best Treatment for Dry Rot?

At Atlantis Damp we know that each situation is different, so we tailor our approach to your specific requirements. Our surveyor carries out a thorough investigation to identify the source of the dry rot. Then we implement an appropriate treatment plan. 

 We always aim to use environmental controls by fixing leaks and improving ventilation. However, it may be necessary to do more, depending on the circumstances. Here’s a general overview of the process.

Step 1: Pinpoint the Source 

Identify the water source that’s causing the excess moisture and repair the leak. 

Step 2: Isolation and Ventilation

Where possible we use environmental controls to decrease humidity to prevent dry rot from recurring. 

Step 3: Assess the Extent of the Dry Rot

This may involve removing floorboards and plaster to reach the affected areas. 

Step 4: Remove Damaged Timber and Fungal Growth

Rotten wood is cut back and replaced with new timber. The entire area is cleaned to remove all traces of the dry rot – visible spores, hyphae, mycelium and fruiting body must all be removed. 

Step 5: Fungicide Treatment

It may be necessary to treat the area with a chemical fungicide to guard against outbreaks in the future.  

Contact Atlantis Damp 

We are a family-run, Cheshire-based business. We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service and expertise. Talk to one of our friendly team for a reliable solution to your damp and timber infestation issues. 

Contact us today

How Much Does a Damp Survey Cost?

How Much Does a Damp Survey Cost?

There are fewer things that can destroy the structural integrity of your home faster than dampness. Addressing damp-related issues promptly is crucial because dampness doesn’t only destroy the aesthetic appeal of your property and cause a drop in value, it can also lead to severe structural damage and health concerns. If you suspect there’s a chance dampness is seeping into your home and eating away its foundation, a damp survey is the first step towards identifying and rectifying the issue. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of what a damp survey involves, how long it takes and, most importantly, how much a damp survey costs.

What Is a Damp Survey?

A damp survey, also sometimes called a damp test or moisture survey, is a thorough examination of a home or building to check for any presence of excessive moisture and damp issues. It’s an in-depth process undertaken by a specialist to uncover, diagnose, and determine solutions for damp problems affecting the property.

The aim of it is to identify issues like rising damp, penetrating damp, condensation, water ingress, fungus growth, damp patches, peeling paint or wallpaper, and other moisture-related damage that can occur in your home. 

What Does a Damp Survey Involve?

The surveyor conducts moisture readings across walls and floors using professional equipment to quantify dampness levels and pinpoint specific problem areas.

They’ll also check for visible moulds, efflorescence deposits, timber decay, stenches and other symptoms pointing to dampness. Determining the source of dampness is crucial for prescribing appropriate solutions for your home.

Here are some key aspects that are generally covered during a damp survey.

Visual Inspection

The surveyor will visually inspect your property, looking for visible signs of dampness such as damp patches, stains, mould growth, or peeling paint. They may also check for obvious structural issues that could contribute or indicate damp problems.

Moisture Measurement

Specialised equipment, such as moisture meters, are used to measure the moisture content in walls, floors, and other structural elements.

Finding areas with high moisture levels could be an easy indicator of damp issues.

External Examination

The surveyor will walk the perimeter and inspect the exterior of the building to identify potential sources of moisture penetration, such as blocked gutters, damaged roofing, or cracks in the walls.

External factors can be crucial clues in determining the root cause of dampness.

Identification of Damp Types

Different types of damp (rising damp, penetrating damp, and condensation) require specific approaches for mitigation. The surveyor will identify the type of damp affecting the property to tailor the remediation strategy accordingly.

At the end of the damp survey inspection, the specialist presents homeowners with a condition report and fully outlines the extent of dampness damage discovered, pointing out moisture sources, severity classification, photographic evidence and, commonly, cost estimations with plans for both immediate and longer-term needs.

These reports help you to make informed decisions on next steps to address problems and prevent further moisture-based deterioration in the property.

The survey is invaluable to prevent advanced decay which can be costly to fix and helps you avoid paying bigger repair bills down the line.

How Long Does a Damp Survey Take?

The duration of a damp survey can vary based on the size and complexity of the property, as well as the severity of the damp issues. On average, a thorough damp survey may take anywhere from a few hours to a full day. Larger or more intricate properties with complex damp problems may require more time for a detailed assessment.

The time required for a complete damp survey can significantly change based on several factors. The size of the home, ease of accessibility to problem areas, building age, and severity of the damp issues.

While a contained damp patch in a modern small flat may take under an hour, a whole house in an older complex property with obstructed areas and multiple affected rooms could take up to a full day. But most average sized home inspections range between 2-4 hours for a qualified surveyor to perform due diligence checks, with follow ups as needed if further investigation is warranted into root causes.

How Much Does a Damp Survey Cost?

Damp surveys require detailed, methodical assessments by certified professionals. The average damp survey costs depend on several factors, including the location, its size, and the extent of the damp issues.

You can expect to pay between £200 and £500 for a standard damp survey. However, prices can vary, and it’s advisable to obtain quotes from different surveyors or companies to weigh your options. You can get your free quote from Atlantis Damp here.

Similar to how long a damp survey takes, the damp survey cost can vary widely.

It depends on factors like:

Size of Home – Larger homes cost more to fix than a compact flat.

Location – Greater demand in expensive cities also helps push up inspection costs.

Type of Surveyor – The qualifications and expertise of the surveyor or damp specialist can also influence the cost. Certified professionals with extensive experience may charge higher fees for their services.

Severity & Type of Damp – Surface mould limited to one patched wall is far quicker to manage than entire houses with chronic rising damp, water ingress and timber decay.

While a contained issue in a modest flat may cost around £250-300, whole house inspections on expansive rural manor homes with hidden decay can run over £1,000 in some cases.

A damp survey isn’t just a cost to keep your home clean. It’s an investment in the long-term health and integrity of your home and your family. While the cost may vary, it is a small price to pay compared to the potential expenses associated with untreated damp problems.

Regular damp surveys can help you identify issues early on, allowing for timely and cost-effective solutions. If you suspect dampness in your home, don’t hesitate to seek the services of a qualified professional to conduct a thorough damp survey and safeguard your property against the damaging effects of moisture.

Get in touch with Atlantis Damp and see how our expert team can help you safeguard your home and your family.

What Are the Health Risks of Mould and Damp?

What Are the Health Risks of Mould and Damp?

Dampness and mould are seemingly harmless issues. But the truth is, they’re far from harmless and can harbour hidden dangers within our homes. 

Understanding the underlying causes, the health risks of mould and damp, and the importance of prompt treatment is crucial for maintaining a safe living space.

What Causes Mould and Damp in the Home?

Mould and damp are often by-products of excess moisture within indoor spaces. Leaky roofs are one such cause, often a consequence of damaged or improperly installed roofing allowing rainwater to seep into interior spaces of your home.

Inadequate ventilation can also be a culprit causing mould and damp. It traps moisture indoors, especially areas like the bathroom, kitchen and even basements where water vapours are naturally generated.  

Even things like water ingress through cracks and gaps during heavy rains. Once water infiltrates your home, it can remain hidden within walls or under flooring, creating a damp environment that encourages mould growth. Persistent dampness from water ingress poses a serious threat to both the structural integrity and indoor air quality of your home.

When any of these factors are present and left unaddressed, they create a breeding ground for mould and damp. Timely detection and proper remediation are crucial to maintaining a dry, safe, and healthy indoor environment.

Why Is It Important to Treat Mould and Damp? 

Forgetting the obvious concerns such as structural integrity and health impacts, what other problems can mould and damp cause?

A home affected by mould and damp can face decreased market value. Potential buyers are often deterred by visible signs of mould, water stains, or the musty odour associated with damp spaces. If you’re planning to sell or even rent your property, addressing mould and damp issues beforehand can maintain or even enhance your property’s value.

The long-term consequences of ignoring mould and damp are more expensive than its upfront costs. Repairing extensive structural damage, replacing compromised materials, and potential health risks of mould and damp can be financially burdensome. Treating mould and dampness proactively is a cost-effective measure, preventing larger, more expensive problems down the line.

In essence, treating mould and damp is not just a matter of aesthetics; it’s about safeguarding your investment, your health, and the wellbeing of your loved ones. Taking proactive steps to address these issues ensures a safe, structurally sound, and comfortable home for years to come.

What Are the Health Risks of Mould and Damp? 

Inhaling mould spores poses significant health risks. The health risks of mould and damp include a range of issues such as respiratory problems, allergies, skin irritation, and eye discomfort. Depending on the individual, these symptoms can worsen significantly with pre-existing conditions such as asthma or allergies, making them particularly vulnerable. 

Prolonged exposure to mould may lead to severe health complications, emphasising the importance of timely intervention. Addressing mould and damp promptly is vital to safeguarding the wellbeing of individuals and maintaining a healthy indoor environment.

How Can Atlantis Damp Help? 

Atlantis Damp stands as your protector against the health risks of mould and damp. With specialised knowledge and advanced techniques, we delve into the root causes, eradicating damp and mould at the source. By choosing Atlantis Damp, you’re not just opting for a solution; you’re investing in your health and the longevity of your home.

If you’re concerned about mould and damp invading your space, act now. Curious on how to identify early signs of mould and damp? Our article on penetrating damp has everything you need to know. Reach out to us to discover customised solutions to fortify your home and protect your family.