With winter underway, New Zealanders are becoming increasingly aware of condensation in their homes. It’s hard to ignore, after all, when condensation is so evident on our windows each morning. But while windows may look like the culprit on chilly days, they’re not the cause of the damp conditions which promote the growth of mould.
According to Michael Petersen of Altus Windows, condensation is a major problem in New Zealand’s built environment - one that’s been exacerbated by a lack of understanding around how to keep our homes dry. We spoke to Michael about the issue and what Kiwis can do to minimise moisture levels indoors.
Our condensation confusion in New Zealand
When it comes to condensation, many adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality, meaning they’re only aware of internal moisture when its present on the surface of their windows. This is problematic for a few reasons, explains Michael.
“In warmer temperature, moisture levels are still high but relative humidity is lower, which means you simply can’t see the issue anymore. Even when not visible, however, condensation can promote mould growth on the walls, ceiling and other materials like carpets, curtains and furniture.”
This, of course, expedites the deterioration of our homes and buildings and can even lead to serious health concerns such as asthma and respiratory disease should black mould begin to grow.
So what do Kiwis do when they become concerned with condensation? Often the opposite of what they should, says Michael.
“A lot of the time, people will increase insulation to combat condensation - mistakenly assuming they’ll ‘let the warm air out.’ But this can actually worsen the problem by trapping internal moisture inside.”