As we all know, air contains moisture which can condense into water droplets if conditions allow. Warmer air contains more moisture and we often see the occurrence of condensation in our everyday lives, eg. when we breathe onto a piece of cold glass.
Condensation is one of the few visual indicators of poor performance. If condensation occurs on a regular basis, this may give rise to mould growth, which is a potential health hazard. Regular condensation and condensation inside the building envelope (interstitial condensation) can also lead to damage to materials and possible corrosion of structural elements, including timber and insulation.
There are two main types of condensation: surface and interstitial condensation.
Surface condensation is condensation which occurs on the visible surfaces of construction, rather than between the layers. Internal surface condensation can promote mould growth, thus reducing indoor air quality, as well as creating unsightly pattern staining. Thermal bridges can undermine effective insulation and can contribute to the formation of surface condensation as the heat is drawn out, leaving the inner surface cold.
Interstitial condensation is condensation which occurs between layers of the construction, i.e. ‘inside’ the roof, wall or floor elements. Interstitial condensation can cause deterioration or even failure of the components of the assembly, potentially shortening their useful lifespan. It is important to ensure an element is designed to avoid interstitial condensation or to create an adequate ventilation solution to remove any condensation that forms.
Insulation products such as spray foam insulation are installed by people who want to improve the energy efficiency performance of their property, whether that is a domestic, industrial or commercial building. Condensation impacts on the effectiveness of this insulation so it’s important to make sure that the money being spent is going to produce the desired results.
Condensation Risk Analysis is completed as part of the detailed design to ensure the proposed building junctions are designed to limit the risk of condensation forming.
What is a condensation analysis?
Simply, it is a thermal calculation to predict whether condensation will occur on the inside of your building.
Why does condensation matter?
Condensation causes mould. Mould causes not only unpleasant odours in your property, but it releases spores which can cause health issues to the inhabitants.
How do you analyse for condensation?
We build your construction digitally using approved heat transfer software to analyse surface temperatures. Once the surface temperature is established we can calculate the dew-point temperature (the °C of a surface where water vapour will condense, forming droplets) and this dictates whether it will be an issue or not.