This recently purchased semi-detached bungalow was suffering from mould and condensation despite some thermal insulation. The primary issue was poor bathroom ventilation. The buyer was considering insulation, which is a good idea. He obtained a quote for £8,000 – I encourage the buyer to ensure that there is no areas of poor insulation. However, it won’t overcome the poor ventilation.
- Insulation is not an alternative to ventilation.
- Bungalows are particularly vulnerable to condensation and mould because of the increased surface area of external walls relative as a proportion of internal living space.
Excess vapour causing condensation and mould – from insufficient ventilation No bathroom or kitchen extractor fans. The heating and insulation made the problem worse.
Condensation could be seen under double glazed windows.
Condensation forms when the wall temperature drops below the dew point of 100%RH.
Solid floors lose heat increasing the risk of condensation.
Mould grows where relative humidity exceeds 85%RH for 6+ hours. Excessive humidity results from insufficient ventilation, poor air circulation and a cold surface. See surveyor.tips/mould. Trapped humid air is liable to form mould on cold surfaces.
Mould grows best in the “Goldilocks zone” between 85%RH and 100%RH. Mould needs oxygen. Too much condensation can suffocate mould stopping growth (temporarily).
Around the corners of the dry lining there is heat loss, where condensation and mould is at risk. The primary cause of mould and condensation is insufficient ventilation especially from the bathroom.
I believe that heat loss is a major component to the problems in this room.
I’ve been wonder if there is a cavity wall and if so whether there is cavity wall insulation. Cavity wall insulation has a bad name because the material inside can become damp, such as from penetrating damp, causing increased heat loss. However, given that condensation is forming on the double glazing, I conclude that ventilation is the primary issue.
I think the external insulation would be money well spent. The main consideration is ensuring that you minimise thermal bridging, remove possible source of rainwater ingress, and ventilate as if you didn’t have insulation.
Cold water enters the property 8°C in winter. You should insulate around cold-water pipes.
To reduce humidity ventilate the bathroom and kitchen and dry clothes in a vented room or outdoors.
This confirms my suspicion that ventilation is the key component. The secondary cause of high relative humidity is low temperature relative to the source of humidity, see surveyor.tips/humidity.
I have amalgamated the November and December log with the January and February log, starting at the same point in time, the vertical lines represent a period of one week.
The dotted line is November and December. The continous line is s January and February.
On the face of it you have normal levels of relative humidity. But what is missing from this data is the temperature difference between where the datalogger is placed and the external wall. Taking the difference in the two above laser thermometer readings of 6°C, I have recalculated the surface relative humidity applying the August-Roche-Magnus formula: 100*𝑒(𝑐𝑏(𝑇𝐷−𝑇)(𝑐+𝑇)(𝑐+𝑇𝐷)) [c d are constants, TD = dew point and T = temperature).
The Jan to Feb is split into four equal weeks:
- Week 1) Sitting room
- Week 2) Second bedroom
- Week 3) Hallway
- Week 4) Kitchen
The week when the humidity is lowest is the third week when the datalogger was in the hallway. I think this property is acting more or less uniformly, with similar if not identical vapour pressure, the only change being temperature, and corresponding relative humidity.
I think the temperature difference between the hallway was another 2°C or so degrees warmer than the kitchen.