Avoiding Bathroom Condensation
How Is Condensation Formed?
Condensation is the bane of every bathroom from here to Planet Flob-A-Dob (although the residents of that particular planet like to eat condensation as a light snack). Unfortunately, Earth doesn't come with its own quartet of Flob-A-Dobians so we have to make do with handling condensation on our own.
Bathrooms are often humid places and moisture is released into the air by something as simple as taking a shower. As the moisture mixes with the air as water vapour, it will eventually make contact with a cold surface, forming as droplets on things like mirrors or windows.
This is unsurprisingly known as condensation, or food to Flob-A-Dobians. The hotter the water vapour, the more moisture the air can hold and the more that can be deposited on cold surfaces.
That's why condensation becomes a bigger problem whenever you take a hot shower and there's lots of steam rising from the water.
Apart from it annoyingly misting up mirrors and windows, it can also cause problems with mould in your bathroom by quickly ruining wallpaper and other surfaces. The last thing you want to do is redecorate your bathroom only a few months after initially doing it.
Thankfully there are a few simple steps you can take to dramatically reduce the levels of condensation in your bathroom.
Sadly you’ll never be able to completely eliminate your condensation (unless you never use your bathroom!), but at least your bathroom will be less likely to develop problems resulting from too much condensation if you follow these steps.
Do you have many problems with condensation in the bathroom?
Ventilation Is Key
Obviously the first thing you should do is open a window, especially when you're running a bath or having a shower. One thing I immediately notice whenever I forget to open the window whilst taking a shower is a large amount of condensation on everything.
It’s simply not worth the hassle when all you have to do is simply open the window, even if it might feel cold for a short while (the hot water and steam from the shower will warm the room up anyway, but at least the condensation will have somewhere to escape to).
You should also consider getting double glazed windows if you only have single glazed, as single glazed windows tend to be colder and are therefore more likely to attract condensation.
While you might think that opening the bathroom door might help, don't. This will only spread the water vapour to other rooms in your home and could cause a problem with condensation in those places.
Ensure You Wipe Surfaces Dry
You should take some time to wipe surfaces dry with a towel after using the bathroom, particularly glass such as the windows.
While it might seem like a pain to have to do this every time, it doesn't take long and will save you a lot of grief in the long run. You don't have to get obsessive and make sure your bathroom is completely bone dry, just do enough that it doesn't look absolutely soaked every time you use the shower or bath.
If any black spots appear around your bathroom from too much condensation then you can get rid of them through a combination of bleach and water, otherwise, your bathroom will become a breeding ground for mould.
Extractor Fans are Extremely Important
It is absolutely essential that bathrooms without windows have an extractor fan. This cannot be stressed enough. Without an extractor fan, the condensation will never have anywhere to escape and you'll soon have a serious problem on your hands. An extractor fan will transport the moist air into your bathroom elsewhere, either outside or to a loft area.
Make sure you clean your extractor fan periodically or dust and dirt will build up and make the fan far less efficient. Also make sure the fan comes on with the bathroom light. That way you can’t forget to turn it on. If that isn't possible, then at least keep the on button attached to a long string so it's hard to miss, especially if it's right next to the shower.
Take a Look at Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers take moisture from the air and collect it as water, so if you have one of these running whilst you use the bathroom you'll get a big drop in condensation.
Unfortunately, dehumidifiers tend to be on the pricey side so only use them as a last resort.
Renting one for a few days would be your best option, and it will allow you to work out what's really causing the problem.
Examine the House Structure
Check to see if there is a damp proof course in your home. This is a horizontal barrier placed in the wall that has the job of resisting moisture that can be rising from below.
You should also check that any air bricks aren't covered or filled with miscellaneous rubble, the same goes for internal cavities.
Warm Up the Walls
Cold wall surfaces are more likely to attract condensation, such as ceramic tiles and various painted surfaces.
Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about cold walls if these are the materials you have chosen for your bathroom, although there are special paints available that slow the growth of mould.
Keeping the bathroom warm is about the only thing you can do to warm the surfaces up, so something like underfloor heating will help in this area.
Demistable Mirrors Are Worth Considering
Mirrors can quickly steam up and become covered with condensation when you use a hot shower or run a hot bath. It's important to wipe these surfaces dry whenever you see this happen, much like wiping your windows, but there are mirrors that do this job for you.
Demistable mirrors are fitted with heating pads that keep the surface of the mirror warm, therefore giving no chance for condensation to form as it requires a cold surface. They obviously cost more than your average mirror but if you're serious about getting rid of condensation then this is another great way to help combat it.
You don't have to buy special demistable mirrors though, as you can buy heating pads separately to upgrade existing bathroom mirrors.
You should never have to wipe that mirror clear with your towel ever again!
Become Friends With a Flob-A-Dobian
If all else fails you could try becoming friends with a Flob-A-Dobian, although this may not be that simple given that they live thousands of light years away.
If you do happen to befriend one (we do not suggest kidnapping one, as that is against Galactic Law SY-213-52 Paragraph 317) then he or she will probably be delighted to clear your condensation regularly, as this is basically a free meal for them.
Although you may have to take them to the cinema every once in a while. Apparently they have a strange fascination for Johnny Depp (much like Humans it would seem).
© 2012 Thomas Mulrooney