Condensation is one of the biggest causes of damp in the home.
It is such a common and difficult problem to solve that many people ask themselves how to get rid of damp once and for all, usually after trying various methods such as anti-damp paints and resealing windows.
But one of the best and most overlooked ways to combat condensation is to install an air conditioning system.
However, conventional air conditioning systems with an external condenser are not suitable for every home or apartment.
In these cases, an internal air conditioning solution could be the answer, but many people are worried that such systems may increase the risk of damp.
It is a common misconception that water-cooled air conditioning systems can lead to increased damp and mould build-up.
This is perhaps understandable since many think that cold water flowing from room to room is likely to lead to condensation forming on the pipes, especially if they are not insulated.
However, the opposite is actually true. When installed correctly, internal condensers are just as effective at dehumidifying the space as conventional air conditioning systems.
While it is true that Cool You’s water-cooled internal condenser air conditioning systems use water for cooling, water is not pumped from room to room.
The only water connection required is to the condenser, which unlike a conventional system is mounted inside your home.
To further understand how air conditioning systems reduce moisture we need to look at how air conditioning systems convert warm air into cold air.
How air conditioning systems remove moisture
First a little science lesson. The air in your home can only hold a finite amount of water, which is dependent on the temperature. The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold.
For example, at 30ºC a volume of air can contain up to 4% water vapour. While at -0.40ºC the same volume of air can hold no more than 0.2%.
The precise amount of water vapour held in the air relative to its temperature is known as relative humidity.
When humidity levels reach around 80% we start to feel uncomfortable in the warm and sticky air.
Saturation levels rise and fall all the time. How this happens helps to explain how air conditioning systems work.
Unsaturated air becomes saturated in three ways: by combining two volumes of air at different temperatures, by the evaporation of water vapour into the air and by cooling the air, thereby reducing its capacity to hold moisture.
When the air cools beyond its maximum saturation point, water is expelled from the air in the form of tiny water droplets.
The point at which this happens is known as the dew point.
You can see this effect each morning as the warm morning air touches the cold grass outside, or when the warm air inside your home cools when it touches a much colder surface such as a windowpane.
The difference between internal and external condensers
You may be wondering what all this has to do with air conditioning. Well, most air conditioning systems use the vapour compression cycle to cool buildings.
This uses a liquid refrigerant that absorbs heat as it is circulated around the building. The liquid refrigerant is then passed through an evaporator coil, which turns the liquid refrigerant into a gas.
As the gas passes over the coil, any moisture within it condenses onto the coil’s surface and is collected in a condensate pan.
This effectively removes moisture from the atmosphere, leaving you with a more comfortable environment.
Both internal and conventional external condenser units remove moisture using this method of condensation.
But with a traditional external unit, the heat generated by the condenser and inverter is dissipated by the cooler air outside. With a water-cooled internal unit, freshwater is used to cool the system.
This is where the confusion arises about cold water being pumped around your home.
Water is only used to cool the condensing unit and does not need to be pumped from room to room like a conventional gas fired central heating system.
The rest of the system operates in the same way as a conventional air conditioning system.
Can air conditioning prevent damp patches from forming?
Many people want to know how to get rid of damp and prevent it from returning.
The answer to this will depend on what is causing damp to form in the first place. If the damp is caused by a leaking roof or waste pipe then air conditioning won’t be of much help.
If, on the other hand, the damp is caused by condensation forming on outside walls and windows then air conditioning may be the solution.
While it is not the primary purpose of air conditioning to remove moisture from the air, it can help to reduce humidity levels to prevent condensation from forming in the first place.
This can also help to make your home more comfortable during those hot summer months when humidity levels can reach an uncomfortable 80%.
Air conditioning for all types of building – commercial and residential
With the internal air conditioning systems installed by Cool You, it is now possible to install air conditioning in properties that were previously considered unsuitable.
Such buildings include high-rise apartment complexes or listed buildings where a conventional exterior condenser would not be practical or permitted.
If you would like more information about internal air conditioning solutions, get in touch with us at Cool You on 0207 043 2275.
We can arrange for an assessment by one of our F-Gas trained engineers to see if your property is suitable for the installation of an internal air conditioning system.
We can also explain how the system works to put your mind at rest about the risk of damp in your home.