If you find yourself waking up every morning and wondering how your windows get steamed up, then look no further. We explain why it happens and how to stop condensation on windows in the winter.
It seems like just yesterday we were asking whether to keep windows closed in hot weather (opens in new tab) and how to keep our houses cool (opens in new tab), but now it’s starting to get cold outside you might notice your windows are starting to steam up. Not only does this look unsightly, but it can also encourage a build up of mould around your home and have you looking for a black mould cleaning product (opens in new tab).
Nigel Dawson (opens in new tab), senior designer at More Kitchens, told us, “It all comes down to ventilation. The room needs airflow to extract the additional moisture in the air, created from steam, which causes condensation. If left untreated, built-up moisture can result in mould and damp patches appearing. To avoid mould, you need to understand how to stop condensation.” So don’t worry, there’s plenty of things you can do to combat condensation and keep your windows and the rest of your house looking its best. Here’s why our windows get steamed up in the mornings and how to stop condensation…
What causes condensation on windows?
Condensation occurs when hot and humid air comes into contact with a cold surface (like a window). When this warm, moist air meets the cold surface, the moisture in it condenses.
This water vapour is known as condensation, and though it is more likely to happen on single-glazed windows that get very cold during winter, condensation forms on double-glazed windows too.
First morning of condensation on the windows…GET THE JUMPERS OUT!!! pic.twitter.com/QAXK9gMk61September 28, 2022
Why am I getting condensation on the inside of my windows?
In winter, our homes are a lot warmer than the outside temperature, because we put the heating on. This temperature difference means condensation on windows is more likely to form.
To add to that, because it’s cold in winter we are much less likely to have our windows open, meaning the water vapour cannot escape our homes.
Is condensation on windows bad for health?
Condensation is fine in small amounts, but it can become a problem if it is left to build up for a while. This is because it could result in black mould.
Some people will experience cold-like symptoms as a result of condensation, such as runny noses, sore throats and coughing, but more extreme cases have seen people develop respiratory issues if there’s too much mould in the home. In addition, condensation has been linked to childhood asthma. People most at risk are babies, the elderly, and anyone with allergies or a weakened immune system.
Condensation is common during colder weather, but what are the health risks associated with damp and mould? Info: https://t.co/xfHIwzyUtS pic.twitter.com/wfjsDhfZ5HDecember 12, 2016
Adam Pawson (opens in new tab), head of digital at window supplier Safe Style (opens in new tab) says, “If mould has already built up around your window frame, it’s important that you take action to remove it in order to avoid any health risks. Wearing protective gloves, use a household black mould remover and a non-abrasive brush to go over the affected area. Leave the solution for up to 15 minutes to allow it to break down the bacteria and then go over the area with a damp cloth and repeat the process until the mould is completely removed, before wiping over with a clean cloth. We’d recommend keeping the window open until the area is completely dry.”
As long as you keep on top of condensation, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Should I wipe condensation from windows?
Wiping down windows is a good way to prevent a build up of condensation. If mould has developed, the NHS recommends (opens in new tab) that you wipe it away with a cloth soaked with soapy water.
You should use a dry cloth to remove any moisture, and throw both cloths away after using to prevent contamination.
Adam agrees with this advice. He says, “If you do start to see water beads appearing on or around your windows when the temperature outside begins to drop, make sure that you’re clearing the area on a daily basis. We’d suggest using a microfiber cloth to remove any dampness, before applying any cleaning solution.”
How to stop condensation on windows
1. Open windows
Unlike in the summer when you open windows to ventilate a room, it may be too cold to do that winter. However, it’s good to open a window to let fresh air in when you can, even if only for a short while.
Adam, says: “If your home is suffering from condensation, damp or mould, the best thing you can do is to try and improve the ventilation inside. Try to regularly open windows to allow air to move freely and let moist air escape from the property.”
Nigel Dawson adds to this, saying, “Simply having the window open allows air to flow outside, rather than settling in and around your house. Likewise, the door of the any room using hot water – like a bathroom – should always be closed to stop steamy air from flowing throughout the home.”
2. Use a fan when cooking or showering
Use your bathroom and kitchen fans every time you cook or shower, as both showering and cooking release a lot of moisture into the air. Only run the fans for 15-20 minutes at a time though – and don’t do it overnight.
Nigel says, “Fans are now an installation requirement in new build homes, to extract old air and expel it out of the home. Older homes do not always come with an extractor fan, but if the room has a window, it isn’t essential to have one installed. However, if the room in question doesn’t have a window, a ventilation system should be installed to comply with building regulations.”
3. Hang your washing in well ventilated areas
According to Adam, “Reducing how much moisture is in the air can have a huge impact on tackling condensation dampness. Little changes such as having your tumble dryer vented outside and hanging washing in airy spaces, instead of drying it inside warm rooms, can really help to keep the mould at bay.”
However, with the current cost of living crisis not everyone can afford to run a tumble dryer and more people are putting wet washing around their home to dry. Chris Michael (opens in new tab), managing director of air purification specialists Meaco (opens in new tab), advises placing wet items away from walls to prevent the moisture from being trapped, and hanging items individually and with as much space in between them as possible so they will dry more quickly.
He adds “Before you take them out of the washing machine, use a rinse cycle to keep the amount of water left in the clothes to a minimum.”
4. Make sure your home is well insulated
The key to preventing condensation is making sure the inside of your windows are not too much colder than the temperature inside your home – and the only way to do this is with insulation. Although it is a big investment, it may be worth it if you are worried about black mould.
Adam says: “Double glazing, wall insulation and draught-proofing will help to reduce the amount of heat that is lost from your home. Having well installed, energy-efficient windows will help to keep the property’s temperature high, which can have a massive impact on condensation and mould growth.”
5. Buy a dehumidifier
One of the most effective ways to prevent condensation on windows is by using a dehumidifier. By taking moisture out of the air in your home, they reduce condensation and are often also able to relieve allergy symptoms (opens in new tab) and make breathing easier. You can leave them on overnight if you’d like, as there’s no risk to your health by doing this.
Chris says, “Look for dehumidifiers that have a dedicated laundry mode where the machine run up to six hours before switching itself off to save energy. For further energy savings, look for models which use a humidistat, which means the dehumidifier switches itself off when the target humidity is reached, only switching on again if it detects an increase in humidity.”
However, some humidifiers can be quite noisy or really dry out a room, so you might want to consider that before purchasing one. We’ve listed some of the best ones to shop online right now.
The best dehumidifiers to buy online:
- View Meaco 20L Low Energy Dehumidifier & Air Purifier | £259.99 – Available at Meaco (opens in new tab) | John Lewis (opens in new tab) | Amazon (opens in new tab)
- View MeacoDry ABC Dehumidifier, 10L | £129.99 – Available at Meaco (opens in new tab) | John Lewis (opens in new tab) | Amazon (opens in new tab)
- View Meaco Arete Dehumidifier & Air Purifier, 20L | £259.99 – Available at John Lewis (opens in new tab) | Argos (opens in new tab) | Amazon (opens in new tab)
- View Pro Breeze Dehumidifier 500ml Compact and Portable Mini | £34.99 – Available at Pro Breeze (opens in new tab) | Amazon (opens in new tab) | OnBuy (opens in new tab)
- View DeLonghi Tasciugo AriaDry Multi 12L Dehumidifier | £254.99 – Available at DeLonghi (opens in new tab) | Amazon (opens in new tab) | Appliances Direct (opens in new tab)
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Nigel is a fully qualified Gas & Central Heating Engineer and works directly with the MoreBathrooms and MoreAbility brands, surveying & designing bathroom works and solutions for the domestic home owner.
Nigel is also responsible for the Barnsley and Doncaster conurbation with regards to the public sector MoreAbility work, managing relationships with the local council to deliver bespoke bathroom solutions for the elderly & disabled customer.
Chris Michael is the co-founder and managing director of air purifying specialists Meaco. He started the business in 1991 with the aim of specialising in monitoring and control equipment for museums and art galleries. In 1992, Meaco developed the world’s first radio based environmental monitoring system in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, before making the decision to concentrate on domestic dehumidifiers in 2005. Meaco is now regarded internationally as a major player in the industry selling to 20+ countries throughout Europe, North America and South Africa, and its products have won awards from Which?, Good Housekeeping, QuietMark and Stiftung Warentest.