Wondering how to stop condensation on your windows – after all, it's the time of year when you start noticing it on bedroom windows and windowsills in the mornings especially? If you've looked online for a solution, you might have read guides to sorting condensation problems advising you to install cavity wall insulation, additional air vents, or even make structural changes to your property.
But it's highly likely that drastic solutions aren't needed – and, besides, big changes may not be an option if you rent or are on a tight budget, so it's always worth looking into cheaper, quicker fixes first.
Why bother? Condensation, when it's least problematic, can still cause damp smells, mould and mildew to grow, and it can ruin furnishings, such as curtains.
The best solution by far to preventing condensation is... (drumroll please) opening the windows. Moisture from bathrooms and kitchens – or from you breathing and sweating all night in an unventilated bedroom – will build up at a quicker rate than it can evaporate, and this is the major cause of the condensation most homes suffer.
This is especially true if you live in a small, open-plan flat without an efficient extractor fan or air bricks, as there's nowhere for all the moisture to go. So, open the windows often, especially when cooking, and crack them open while you're in bed.
Open windows not an option? Take a look at our pick of the best dehumidifiers: they're brilliant for solving condensation problems, particularly those caused by cooking, showering and drying laundry indoors (note: they also really speed up how fast your washing dries, which is a real bonus).
You might not want a dehumidifier running at night in a bedroom, but if you pop yours on after you get up and time it to switch off an hour or so later, it'll stop condensation and its effects from becoming a problem. And in case you were wondering, dehumidifiers use very little energy (much less than tumble dryers) to run, so you won't see a hike in your energy bills.
The next best thing you can do to stop condensation from forming is to keep your heating on a low setting throughout the colder months. Temperature fluctuations, especially the temperature plummeting around dawn, are very often responsible for condensation forming on windows. The trick is not to blast your home with hot air for short periods of time and leave it cold the rest of the time. An even, continuous low heat setting is better.
A severe condensation problem that these quick fixes can't tackle may well call for substantial work to your property – we have our own guide to how to reduce condensation that explains the different options. It's worth checking out – condensation can damage a home, but it can also be the sign of an underlying problem you shouldn't ignore.