Condensation - dwellings.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Condensation is the effect of moisture from air collecting on a surface colder than the air, for example in a bathroom or kitchen where water from warm moisture-laden air condenses on to the cold surfaces of walls and glass. To minimise condensation, ventilation of the room to exchange moisture-laden air with drier outside air and good insulation of the inner face of the wall are required.

A consequence of the need for internal air change in buildings is that the heat source must be capable of warming the incoming air to maintain conditions of thermal comfort, and the more frequent the air change the greater the heat input needed. The major source of heat loss through walls is by window glass which is highly conductive to heat transfer. This heat loss can be reduced to some small extent by the use of double glazing. 

Most of the suppliers of double glazed windows provide one of the very effective air seals around all of the opening parts of their windows. These air seals are very effective in excluding the draughts of cold air that otherwise would penetrate the necessary gaps around opening windows and so serve to a large extent to reduce the heat loss associated with opening windows to an extent that they may reduce air changes to an uncomfortable level.

There is a fine balance between the need for air change and the expectations of thermal comfort that receives too little consideration in the design of windows.

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