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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.”

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.”

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How to reduce condensation levels inside

In large part, the solution lies in increasing ventilation.

“Ventilation can help reduce moisture and condensation, keeping your home drier, healthier and more comfortable. Keeping windows open - even if only by a little for some of the daytime - can help reduce condensation significantly. When you’re cooking, drying laundry or showering, it’s especially important to  allow water vapour to escape by opening windows and vents or turning on a ventilation fan.”

How to reduce condensation levels inside

In large part, the solution lies in increasing ventilation.

“Ventilation can help reduce moisture and condensation, keeping your home drier, healthier and more comfortable. Keeping windows open - even if only by a little for some of the daytime - can help reduce condensation significantly. When you’re cooking, drying laundry or showering, it’s especially important to  allow water vapour to escape by opening windows and vents or turning on a ventilation fan.”

It’s also important to understand how much moisture is added to the air through various household activities. Cooking, for example, can produce an average of three litres per day, while showers and baths contribute 1.5 litres and drying clothes can add a staggering five litres per load. Really tackling condensation requires a multi-pronged approach, explains Michael who recommends homeowners increase ventilation and remove water at the source by taking measures such as installing extractor fans and leaving the drying rack outside.

“There are also several types of domestic ventilation systems available, which work by replacing moisture-laden air in the home with drier air, potentially reducing condensation and improving air quality.”  

It’s also important to understand how much moisture is added to the air through various household activities. Cooking, for example, can produce an average of three litres per day, while showers and baths contribute 1.5 litres and drying clothes can add a staggering five litres per load. Really tackling condensation requires a multi-pronged approach, explains Michael who recommends homeowners increase ventilation and remove water at the source by taking measures such as installing extractor fans and leaving the drying rack outside.

“There are also several types of domestic ventilation systems available, which work by replacing moisture-laden air in the home with drier air, potentially reducing condensation and improving air quality.”  

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The critical role of windows in controlling condensation

So where do window solutions come into all of this? As Michael explains, while windows may not be the root of condensation, certain features can help control it.

“Double glazing keeps the surface of glass inside warmer, reducing the likelihood of condensation on the windows. It’s important to remember, however, that moisture is still present. Thermally efficient window frames work similarly by preventing the transfer of heat through the window frame. Some window types can also be supplied to incorporate passive ventilation, which allows you to lock your windows without stopping ventilation.”

To learn more about Altus Windows - the company dedicated to educating Kiwis about adequate ventilation - check them out on ArchiPro and be sure to see some of the exciting projects they’ve been featured in lately!

The critical role of windows in controlling condensation

So where do window solutions come into all of this? As Michael explains, while windows may not be the root of condensation, certain features can help control it.

“Double glazing keeps the surface of glass inside warmer, reducing the likelihood of condensation on the windows. It’s important to remember, however, that moisture is still present. Thermally efficient window frames work similarly by preventing the transfer of heat through the window frame. Some window types can also be supplied to incorporate passive ventilation, which allows you to lock your windows without stopping ventilation.”

To learn more about Altus Windows - the company dedicated to educating Kiwis about adequate ventilation - check them out on ArchiPro and be sure to see some of the exciting projects they’ve been featured in lately!

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