Interstitial Condensation – Why should we worry?

Interstitial Condensation – Why should we worry?

Interstitial Condensation you say? Why should we worry?

When it comes to the safety of buildings and their ongoing maintenance, sometimes it just feels like an endless list of worries, especially for the bigger property owners with their hotels, malls and office blocks. Where is the time to sit and research all of the problems that you might experience when some of them you have never heard of or have no way of identifying?

So one to add to the list is…..yes you guessed it…..Interstitial Condensation…..not just good old fashioned condensation.

So why is the ‘interstitial’ bit important? Okay, we all know and understand normal condensation……you have a steamy situation combined with a cold front and the windows in your building may become moist with water which we all know and term as condensation. It can easily be cleaned away.

However, the problem with interstitial condensation (interstitial meaning forming or occupying), is it cannot be seen. It occurs when warm moist air penetrates inside a wall floor or ceiling structure and when it reaches its ‘dew point’ (the temperature when vapour becomes water), it turns into liquid and pools, soaking into and rotting timbers and other materials. As it is not visible and not cleaned away, overtime the condensation simply lingers (occupies) which can result in mould as well as long term structural damage.

With large buildings such as hotels, there is every chance that interstitial condensation is happening somewhere inside, the question is where. Any hotel owner for example, certainly does not want damp and mould issues causing maintenance expenses, as well as the associated health risks to the their visitors. A few bad reports of guests smelling damp or becoming ill from mould-spore based infections, is not good for business.

So what can be done to help detect and remedy this potential problem, which is hidden from the naked eye? Reassuringly, new innovative technology has been created to assist with all types of water and leak problems within building structures. As well as sensors that can be fitted to an internal water system to alarm you to the presence of water leaks, as well as newer technologies, an infrared system or similar alternatives can now be used to scan walls, ceilings and floors and identify damp patches indicating the potential presence of internal condensation.

Once the internal location has been identified, further technology such as smoke or ultrasonics can be used to locate the external leak.  This allows the opportunity to carry out a small area of maintenance to rectify the issue before it becomes a large scale problem.

A key warning to look out for is damp paint work, peeling walls or a musty smell. If you identify one of these problems or you simply want some piece of mind, arrange to have your building scanned providing you with the knowledge that you are not infected with……oh what’s that word again….Interstitial condensation!

For information on how we can help if you suspect a leak, consult LeakDTech’s professionals now!

How to tell if you have a leak?

How to tell if you have a leak?

Finding water leaks can save you water, which means saving money on water and sewer bills. Follow these easy steps to determine if you have a leak in a domestic or a sprinkler irrigation system.

Step 1. Turn all water-using appliances off so that no water is being used. This means turning off all water inside and outside the house including showers, sinks, washing machines and any appliance that uses water. If you have a sprinkler irrigation system, turn off the controller and manually shut off the two valves at the double check valve assembly to isolate the irrigation system.


Step 2.
Take the lid off the meter box and lift the protective cover. (Photo at right.)

Watch the meter. Your meter will have a triangular red or silver and black round disc that is commonly called a “leak indicator.”

  • If it is spinning, you have a leak. If there is no indicator and the actual meter dial hand is moving, water is running somewhere in your system and you have a leak – go to step 3.
  • If the hand is not moving, note the position of the hand and wait 10 minutes. Check the meter again, if it has moved, you have a slow leak – go to step 3. If not, you do not have a leak.

Step. 3. Locate the main shut-off valve (see photo at left) to the house. This is usually located close to the meter box.


Step 4.
Turn off the valve.


Step 5.
Turn on a faucet inside the house to test.

If water still flows from the faucet after several seconds, the shut off valve is not working. If no water flows through the faucet, the shut off valve is working. Return to the meter.

Step 6. Check if the meter’s leak indicators hand is moving.

  • If the leak indicator or dial hand is still moving, water is flowing between the meter and the shut-off valve. That means you have a leak between the meter and the customer-side shut-off valve.
  • If it is not moving, then you have a leak between the customer-side shut-off valve and possibly somewhere in the house. Check toilets, washing machines, faucets, etc., for any leak.

Step 7. To check a toilet for a leak : Flush the toilet and while the reservoir is still filling, add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring to the water in the reservoir.

Wait 15-30 minutes. If the water in the bowl changes colors, the flapper valve needs to be replaced.

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