When you think of condensation you might think of an ice cold glass of lemonade on a hot summers day but it is much more than that. Condensation is a serious issue effecting buildings around the world and you insulation could be the cause.
When installing insulation in any building, it’s vital you know what type of insulation is best for your needs. Too many buildings are plagued with black mould, peeling and blistering paint, rotten timber structures, or rust and corrosion in the metal building materials hidden within the walls due to being poorly insulated.
Not only can condensation cause serious health problems, it can also cause your insulation to perform poorly, lowering its thermal performance and in some cases making it completely ineffective. Not to mention the big bill you are lumped with to rectify the damage.
But there is good news; the risk of condensation can be reduced by simply ensuring you are using the right insulation for each application.
Below are four tips for choosing the right insulation and ensuring your insulation will continue to be effective for years to come, unaffected by the dangers of condensation.
Install insulation that is right for your climate.
Different climate zones can have extreme temperature variances that make us more susceptible to the risks of condensation. Deciding between vapour permeable insulation which lets small amount of vapour through your insulation, or vapour barrier insulation which blocks the transfer of vapour, is important and should be discussed with your supplier or architect before you go ahead and install your chosen insulation.
Double-check NZBC compliance
The Building Code is there for a reason and it is vital that you ensure the insulation you are using in your project is compliant. Ask your supplier to confirm the insulation you are using is suitable and compliant in the application you are working on. For further peace of mind, ask your supplier to carry out a Condensation Risk Analysis on the system. This will give you are clear idea of how the insulation will perform and how likely you are to be affected by condensation.
Pre-plan your ventilation
With the advancements in building methods, seals around windows and doors have improved, resulting in more air-tight buildings and reduced air flow. While this is great for energy efficient homes and lowering your energy costs, from a condensation point of it can make eliminating condensation harder. Be sure to run through your ventilation with your building designer, builder or architect when you are in the designing phase. Pre-planned ventilation will save you the time, money and stress that comes with the results of condensation problems.
If you find yourself in a home or building that has poor ventilation and is clearly suffering the effects of condensation, there are a number of things you can do in the short term to alleviate the problem. Using exhaust fans in bathrooms, laundries and kitchens will help extract some of the water vapour produced from the running of hot water and the operation of hot plates or dryers. Opening windows to allow air-flow through the building will also aid in lowering the build-up of moisture.