Why is there Condensation in my Conservatory?

Condensation in Conservatories

It’s that time of year. When the air outside is cold and the heating is on inside, condensation in conservatories or windows can become a real problem. Cold spots, moisture, poor ventilation and inefficient heating are all common causes of condensation, here’s our low-down on condensation in conservatories and on windows – what’s good, what’s bad and how to deal with it.

Condensation on the Inside of Conservatories and Windows

Here’s how condensation happens. The point where the cold and warm air meets and condenses is called the dew point. Warm air is more buoyant than cold air and carries more water vapour. If the air’s capacity to hold the water vapour is getting high and this warm air comes into contact with a cold surface, like a pane of glass, the vapour turns to water droplets and causes condensation.

You might find that this happens more often on north or north-east facing windows and conservatories, as they get less sunshine, so they are naturally cooler.

My House or Conservatory is Insulated so why do I get Condensation?

The energy efficiency of buildings has improved over the years as we’ve replaced old draughty windows with double glazing and insulated cavity walls and roof spaces. This extra insulation and draught proofing makes for a warmer home, but in older properties it can reduce natural ventilation which traps moisture in the room. When the room or conservatory cools down overnight or when it’s not being used, the moist air condenses and mists up the glass. Without proper ventilation, this condensation can start to build up causing damp and mould in homes and conservatories. So, if your house is well insulated, reducing the amount of moisture generated in your home can assist in reducing the risk of condensation. One way to reduce moisture is to fit extractor fans in bathrooms, utility rooms and kitchens, all areas where moisture is generated more.

If you use your conservatory during the colder months, it is possible that you will suffer from condensation. Moisture that builds up in the conservatory will form condensation when the space cools down again when not in use. Condensation in conservatories can be a serious issue where the roofs, windows and doors of older, inefficient conservatories are poorly insulated. Opening a window for ventilation will allow fresh air in to help reduce the moisture level. If the problem is particularly bad, it may be necessary to update the glazing and roof with modern, more energy efficient products to make it a better space to live in during the winter months.

Condensation on the Outside of Conservatories and Windows

With modern, highly insulated windows it is possible to see condensation on the outside of the windows. If you have condensation on the outside of your conservatory or the outside of your windows, it actually means that your windows are performing well. So although it may obscure your view a bit, while it evaporates, there is nothing to worry about.

So why does condensation form on the outside of windows? This can happen after modern energy efficient double glazed or triple glazed windows are installed. These windows are manufactured with highly insulated glass units (IGUs) including argon gas fill and a warm edge spacer bar, with a window frame that is highly insulated and draught free. The insulated windows keep much more of the heat inside so rooms are warmer and more comfortable. But it also keeps the cold air out and it’s this cold air which can then condensate on the outside pane of glass.

Although it can be a nuisance having condensation outside, it is a great indication that your windows are performing as they should!

Preventing Condensation in Conservatories and the Home

There are small changes you can make to help reduce the condensation problems in your home. Opening a window when taking a bath or doing the washing up can let out any steam that’s created. Or better still, fit a good quality extractor fan. Utilising cooker hood ventilation whilst you’re cooking and ensuring that tumble dryers are vented outside or have a built-in condenser will also greatly reduce moisture build up in your wet rooms. Also try to dry washing in a well-ventilated room if you can’t hang it outside.

It’s worth opening a window and pulling back window coverings like blinds and curtains once a day, to improve the flow of fresh air around your home.

If your condensation is persistent, a dehumidifier can prove to be a good investment if you are not in a position to replace your windows or conservatory glazing. A dehumidifier will draw the moisture out of the air to reduce the chance of condensation forming on the windows.

Choosing Replacement Windows or Conservatory Glazing to Prevent Condensation

Significant condensation on the inside of your windows is often a sign of poor insulation and if left untreated, may cause damp and mould. If your budget allows it, fitting highly insulated new windows is usually an effective way to prevent condensation from occurring in your home.

If you are considering this for your house or conservatory, opting for windows with a higher thermal performance is often the best choice to reduce condensation and save energy. There are many different styles and manufacturers of windows available and you can check how energy efficient by choosing new windows with a Window Energy Rating. This is a traffic light style label that rates windows from A** to G and is similar to the one you see on new fridges or freezers. We explain more Window Energy Ratings on our website. It’s also a good idea to discuss your condensation problem with the installer as it is possible to add ventilators into new windows which can improve the flow of fresh air in to the room.

You can find a trusted, local installer on our Certass Contractor Search page.

Top 6 Considerations for your Solid Conservatory Roof

Solid Roof Installation from Certass Certified Installers

So, you’ve seen the solid conservatory roof adverts on the billboards around town, in your local paper and on local installers’ vans in and around your area, but how can you tell if a solid roof conservatory is the best choice for your home? And who do you choose to install it for you?

As specialists in installer certification for the building fabric refurbishment industry, we certify installers who fit both glazed and solid roof conservatories. This means that we know the important things that homeowners looking for replacement solid conservatory roofs or new conservatories need to be asking their installer about. That’s why we’ve compiled our top 6 considerations for when you’re choosing an installer to fit your solid conservatory roof in this handy list!

1. Solid Conservatory Roof for New‐build or Refurbishment?

The design and engineering behind solid conservatory roof systems means that roofs are lightweight.This means that as well as being used to build new tiled roof conservatories, they can be used to refurbish your old conservatory too.

This is sometimes called ‘retrofit’ by people in the industry and lots of homeowners are choosing to do this so that they can transform old conservatories that are too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer into spaces they can use all year round.

If you want a brand‐new conservatory with a solid roof, you’ll need to look for an installer who can do everything, from building the base and walls to fitting the frames and installing the solid roof.

2. Planning Permission and Building Regulations for Conservatories

Most new‐build conservatories with either a solid, tiled or glazed roof will not need planning permission, because they are covered under what is known as a ‘permitted development’. There are just some limits and conditions regarding placement and size, which you can find details of on the Government’s Planning Portal.

Building Regulations will apply if you want to build an extension on your home, but not for a conservatory, if certain conditions are met. In order for your conservatory to be classed as a conservatory and not an extension, it will have to be separated from the main house with external quality walls and/or windows and doors that meet Building Regulation requirements. It will also need to have an independent heating system that has separate on/off and temperature controls to the main house’s heating system.

If these measures are not in place, the conservatory is technically an extension and separate Building Regulations apply. Even when your conservatory is built in‐line with these conditions, the doors, windows and glazing and any electrical work will have to adhere to specific Building Regulations. You can find out more details for your solid conservatory roof project on the Planning Portal.

3. Is your Installer’s Workmanship Certified?

It might be surprising to you that not all building work carried out by builders, installers and contractors is certified. Unless an installation company chooses to register with a UKAS accredited, government approved certification scheme, like ours at Certass, their work isn’t assessed, checked or verified by any third party.

This is where your ‘cowboy builder’ type issues can arise and it’s why the most trusted, reliable tradesmen who have the best standards of workmanship, choose to be a part of a certification scheme like Certass. We’ve written about workmanship standards if you would like more information on how the schemes work.

At Certass, we run schemes that approve every part of building fabric refurbishment from solid conservatory roof workmanship standards certification schemes to cavity wall insulation competent persons schemes.

4. What About Insulation and Energy Efficiency?

Insulation and the resulting energy efficiency levels are one of the most important questions to ask your installer about. After all, most homeowners want a conservatory refurbishment because the one they already have is so inefficient.

Unlike windows and doors, there is no thermal rating system for conservatory roofs, but your installer and product brochure will probably talk about U‐Values instead.

What is a U‐Value?

A U‐Value is a measurement of how effective a material is at insulation. In other words, thermal performance is measured by levels of heat loss and this is commonly referred to as a U‐Value. The lower the U‐Value, the less heat loss there is, so low U‐Values equal good thermal performance.

Typically, solid conservatory roof U‐Values are below 1.0 W/m2K, which means they have very good insulation and will retain the heat in winter and keep cool in summer.

5. Can you Fit a New Roof to your Old Conservatory Frames?

Yes, you can install a new solid conservatory roof on your old frames. Your installer will be able to carry out a survey and let you know whether they are suitable to have a new solid conservatory roof fitted on them.

6. Do you Need New Windows and Doors too?

Installing a solid roof can really improve the energy efficiency of your conservatory, but if the frames, windows and doors are very old and inefficient, you might not get the full benefits of your new roof. Our certified installers will be able to advice you on the best choice for your home.

You can find a trusted conservatory installer on our contractor search.

Switching Made Easy for Trusted Tradespeople with Certass

Certass competent person schemes logo

Competent Person Schemes are a big part of everyday working life for many trusted tradespeople, and self-certifying installations comes with the job. That’s why, we know just how important it is to offer a competent person scheme which is not only super friendly and helpful to its members, but also makes switching from an existing CPS as simple and as straightforward as possible.

For many trusted tradespeople, it’s coming up to the time of year for competent person scheme renewals. You may be thinking, it’s easy enough to let your existing CPS auto-renew, but you could be missing out on lots of extra benefits by not shopping around.

Designed by Tradespeople, for Tradespeople

You’ll find that lots of competent person schemes are fit for purpose, the certification bodies offer the service that is required of them, but with no added value or benefits for tradespeople. Now, that’s where Certass is different. Our schemes are designed by tradespeople, for tradespeople, so we can be sure that you’ll get the best schemes available, with the added help of a friendly support team.

Our surveyors who carry out your inspections are experts in their field, and are there to offer you invaluable help and support so that you can get the most out of your business. We’re always on the end of the phone too!

To save you lots of time and effort, we’ve made it really easy to self-certify your jobs when you’re out and about, you can register each job on our website or mobile site with the Member’s IT System. It lets you see all your information at once, as well as bulk upload lots of jobs at once from your own database.

Helping You Switch to Certass

From saving lots of time, to our friendly team, the best benefit of Certass, has to be the ease of switching competent person schemes.

We can help you to transfer from your existing CPS super-fast. You’ll be ready to register your installation within 48 hours! The process begins with a simple online form and when we receive your paperwork, you’ll be able to register jobs within 2 days and your completed jobs will be certified as soon as your on-site audit has been signed off.

Simple right? We want to help you stand out as a reliable trustworthy installer, that’s why our CPS is designed to be as simple as possible, so you can focus on providing great quality service to customers.

How Does the Certass Competent Person Scheme Work?

Our CPS helps installers to self-certify their work to current Building Regulations as an alternate method to using Building Control. It’s a voluntary scheme, but helps verify to homeowners that your work always meets the highest standards. As a Certass member, our team will carry out audits to check your skills as a competent tradesperson. When you first join, and every year thereafter, we’ll complete a ‘desktop audit’, which will check through your membership, including the skills of your workforce, insurance, legal status and contact information.

We’ll carry out an onsite audit when you first join, and then onwards every 3-5 years. This gives us a chance to meet you and your team in person and check the quality of your work with an on-site audit of an installation. We’ll also check your qualifications, a sample of jobs files and also ensure that your complaints logs and records are kept up-to-date.

To make sure work done by our members meets the high standards of our Competent Person Scheme, we also check a sample of registered work each year.

By registering with Certass’ Competent Person Scheme, you’ll be able to take full advantage of our extra benefits. These include access to the Trust Mark Scheme and low-cost public liability and business insurance, so you can keep your installer requirements all under one certification body.

Find a local installer

If you’re a homeowner looking for a competent person for your next project, you can search our directory of local member installers.

Simple CPS Switching: the Certass Way

Certass Renewals Installer With insurance and energy contract renewals consistently in the headlines, as a nation, we’re starting to move away from auto‐renewing policies, in favour of finding great new deals and better customer service. According to Certass, it’s no different for window installation companies, who are looking for a better service on competent person schemes (CPS).

MD at Certass, Jason Clemmit explains: “Competent person schemes are an essential part of any installer’s remit. Self‐certifying installations is just part and parcel of the job for them, so that’s why at Certass, we make it as simple and straightforward as possible to transfer to a scheme with friendly, helpful support and technical teams. So, if you are looking for a fresh approach in the New Year give us a call.”

With schemes covering more than 2.5 million installed products, Certass has one of the most comprehensive certification schemes in the industry that can provide schemes for all aspects of your work from windows to roofline. The switch to Certass begins with a simple online form and when the paperwork has been received, installers can register jobs within 48 hours. Completed jobs are certified as soon as the on‐site audit is signed off.

Installers registered with Certass can take advantage of extra benefits, including low‐cost public liability and business insurance, and the Trust Mark Scheme. As an extra bonus, Certass is waiving joining fees for installers switching to Certass who register before 15 January 2018.
Jason adds: “Historically, certification bodies have run CPS without offering added value for installers, but that’s where we’re different. Our schemes are designed by tradespeople, for tradespeople, so we can be sure that we offer the best schemes, backed by helpful and friendly service.

Are You a Certified Conservatory Installer?

uinox eurocell conservatory

Conservatories continue to be a popular choice with homeowners looking to add more space to their homes and we have also seen a surge in interest in conservatory refurbishments using solid roof systems so that they can use their existing conservatories all year round. What’s changed is that homeowners are getting more savvy about choosing companies to carry out home improvement work for them. They want to find local traders that they can trust to do a great job on their conservatory plans.

Although conservatories aren’t a new home improvement trend, conservatory performance and the way they are installed aren’t covered by the same levels of legislation as windows and doors are. That includes the energy efficiency of the roof and frames and the quality of workmanship on the installation. Conservatory work isn’t even covered by Minimal Technical Competence, so there can be big gaps for potential issues.

By offering homeowners the same reassurances and guarantees on their conservatories as their windows and doors, installers can set themselves apart from the competition, protect their reputations and offer their customers peace of mind.

Don’t Be Left Out in The Cold with Conservatory Installations & Refurbishments

The key to maintaining your reputation for great workmanship and reducing the risk of any call-backs is to make sure that all the products you install are covered by a scheme that gives protection for your business and peace of mind for homeowners.

Many homeowners who want to find local traders for a conservatory project may have already had a replacement conservatory or a refurbishment that promised them a space that could be used in the cold winter months and the hot summer months without becoming uncomfortable. So how do you prove that this time, their conservatory will deliver what they have been promised?

For new conservatories, they are a multi-trade project and often aspects of the build are subcontracted without an appropriate level of supervision or workmanship checks. This is usually where we find installation issues occurring.

Conservatory refurbishments, where tiled conservatory roofs are being retrofitted onto existing conservatory frames to fix the problem of inefficient conservatories are a great market for installers, but they can bring their own inadequacies in terms of certification. Again, product performance isn’t regulated, and neither is the workmanship.

Installers like you need to know that the system will perform, and homeowners need to know that the work they are paying local traders for carries some kind of guarantee. That’s why we created the Certass CQ-Assured Conservatories and Conservatory Warm Roof Scheme.

How the Certass CQ-Assured Scheme Works

The Certass CQ-Assured Conservatories and Conservatory Warm Roof Scheme helps resolve any potential problem for conservatory installers. It’s an independent certification scheme and the only scheme in the industry that covers the installation of both conservatories and conservatory warm roofs. It also includes an insurance backed workmanship warranty.

The company that’s registered with Certass will be able to give their customer a fully certified installation for every aspect of the work carried out to build or refurbish a conservatory.

As with all our CQ-Assured schemes, our conservatory scheme offers certification to help improve consumer confidence in your workmanship. By checking your workmanship standards, assessing your site supervisors and carrying out ongoing checks of your work, we help you to make sure that all you do adheres to the best codes of practice for workmanship.

Every installation you do that is logged with our scheme will receive a certificate of conformity and an insurance backed workmanship warranty. You’ll also get access to our Alternate Dispute Resolution service should you ever need it and discounts on Approved Inspector Fees if you work on a project that needs Building regulation approval.

Apply Now for Our Certass CQ-Assured Conservatory Scheme

So, to get covered for your conservatory schemes, give your customers extra peace of mind, talk to Certass today. You can just get certified under the conservatory scheme or bolt it on to our other CQ-Assured Certification Scopes – apply now online.

If you’re a homeowner, you can find local traders that are CQ-Assured on our directory.

How Certass Helps Homeowners to Find Trusted Tradesmen

CQ-Assured Workmanship Standards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to find trusted tradesmen to carry out your next home improvement project can be a minefield, just because there are so many options out there. As a homeowner, you’ll be looking for great products to update or modernise your home, that have great energy efficiency and security features. But even the best products on the market won’t be right if they’re fitted incorrectly.

That’s where workmanship standards come in.

What Are Workmanship Standards?

Over the years, regulations and codes of practice have been put in place in order to set a standard for all workmanship. It covers all areas of construction, including glazing, roofing, joinery and insulation. It’s not just new buildings that have to comply with Building Regulations, retrofit and refurbishment projects also have standards to comply with. That includes the materials, the skills and professionalism of the people on site.

Workmanship standards focus on the people. There are a number of different schemes put in place to make sure that anyone who is fitting or building onsite has the right skills to do a great job. With the reassurance that the installation skills of a company have been assessed, homeowners get that extra peace of mind.

Helping You to Find Trusted Tradesmen

At Certass, we’re committed to helping tradesmen be the best they can be and we do that in a number of ways, depending on what their business does. Technically, it’s one simple, sensible scheme that covers everything, because we know how much crossover there is nowadays for installation companies.

Workmanship for Certass-approved members is covered by CQ-Assured. It’s our workmanship quality assurance scheme that has been designed to give homeowners real confidence when it’s time to find trusted tradesmen.

CQ-Assured covers building repair maintenance and improvement work, conservatories, solid conservatory roofs, cavity clearance, external works and internal fitments.

How Certass Makes Sure That Their Members are Quality Assured Installers

Every company registered under the Certass CQ-Assured Scheme is audited by our team. This involves lots of processes.

We’ll carry out what’s called a ‘desktop audit’ every year. It double checks all the important, but not very exciting, details like insurance, legal status and contact information. We also look into the workforce of the business and make sure that a company has appropriately skilled site operatives.

It’s important that the people working on your home are trusted traders. That’s why we carry out an on-site audit on application and then onwards every 3-5 years. This checks qualifications, ensures that complaint logs and records are kept up-to-date. A sample of job files are checked too and we do an on-site audit of an installation, so we can check the quality of the workmanship.

Every year, we also check a sample of work done by members that has been registered with our scheme. This gives us the opportunity to ensure that their high standards are maintained throughout the year.

What to Expect from a CQ-Assured Installer

As well as ensuring high levels of workmanship, the CQ-Assured Scheme gives installers and their customers extra benefits including: insurance backed workmanship warranties, our special Alternative Dispute Resolution Service and discounts on Approved Inspector fees for projects that require Building Regulation approval.

CQ-Assured installers also agree to work by our consumer code of conduct which means that they agree to:

✓ Provide a high level of service for customers

✓ Trade in a fair manner putting customers’ best interests first

✓ Publish accurate marketing literature

✓ Not use pressurised selling techniques

✓ Treat all customers equally and fairly

✓ Not take advantage of vulnerable customers

✓ Ensure a written quote/estimate is provided in plain language

✓ Ensure a written contract is provided in plain language

✓ Maintain the confidentiality of all its customers’ data

✓ Carry out works to appropriate best practice standards

✓ Only use materials meeting industry standards and appropriate for the work

✓ Register all appropriate installation work with the CQ-Assured Scheme

✓ Protect and enhance the public image of our industry

✓ Use the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) via Certass for any disputes

Find Trusted Tradesmen

To find trusted tradesmen who are part of the Certass CQ-Assured Scheme for your next project, you can search our approved contractor directory.

An Easy Way To Fix A Common Non-Compliance Issue

WER_LABEL_NEW_2-779x1024Certass Auditors carry out thousands of installation inspections over the year and we’re happy to say that proportionately to the number of inspections carried out, we get few non-compliances.  This is testament to the quality of the contractors that are our members.

However, there is one non-compliance that crops up that could easily be avoided.  “I don’t want any non-compliances, what is it?” I hear you say.  The Building Regulation in question is Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Power which sets out the required thermal performance for windows and doors.

Usually the installed product does comply with Part L.  The issue is that when the Auditor carries out the inspection, they need to see the evidence to prove the installed product complies; but that evidence is not always to hand.

 

There are two ways to prove compliance

1) Window Energy Ratings (WER):

The purpose of a Window Energy Rating is to allow one window’s energy performance to be directly compared to another under standard conditions.  All replacement windows either have to be rated C or better. There are 2 ways to obtain a WER certificate:

  1. Buy your frames and units from a supplier who is part of a WER scheme. The supplier will then supply you with a WER certificate in their name or if they are a member of the TRR corporate scheme they will be able to input your company details in the certificate.
  1. If you want total freedom of supplier you can become a member of a WER scheme yourself and have WER labels in your own name.

2) U-Value:

  1. Full simulation reports carried out in line with EN 10077-2,
  2. Hot box test reports
  3. U-value calculations carried out in accordance with EN 10077-1 provided by approved operators

Going down the U-Value route to prove compliance is not the most consumer friendly way to prove compliance as they are unlikely to be easily understand what a U-Value is, whereas consumer immediately understand he relative merits of a WER label.

The Easiest Way

By far the easiest way to comply is by providing a Window Energy Rating Certificate to your customer; this can usually be sourced from your fabricator or by joining a Window Energy Rating Scheme.  As well as providing a certificate to your customer, you should also keep a copy of the WER Certificate and delivery note or invoice in the installations job file so when the Auditor requests the evidence to prove compliance you can lay your hands on it.

Call our sales team on 01292 292 095 or visit certass.co.uk for more information.

What You Can and Can’t Register With a Competent Person Scheme

Domestic Replacement Glazing Works

What You Can and Can’t Register With a Competent Person Scheme

Many works must meet Building Regulation requirements but not all works in dwellings are notifiable to the Local Authorities. Therefore, Competent Person Schemes can only register works on a contractor’s behalf with the Local Authority that are deemed notifiable. Generally speaking, conservatories and porches are excluded from Building Regulation notification requirements.

Conservatories and Porches

There are some exemptions from the energy efficiency requirements and Local Authority notification in Building Regulations for some conservatory and porch extensions. The exemption for conservatories or porches in Building Regulations:

  • Which are at ground level;
    • Where the floor area is less than 30 m2;
    • Where the existing walls, doors and windows in the part of the dwelling which separates the conservatory are retained or, if removed, replaced by walls, windows and doors which meet the energy efficiency requirements; and
    • Where the heating system of the dwelling is not extended into the conservatory or porch.

In circumstances where any conservatory or porch does not meet all the requirements above, it is not exempt from Building Regulation compliance and therefore, must comply with the relevant energy efficiency requirements and is notifiable.

Certass Guidance for registration of existing porches with Certass  

When determining if replacement doors or windows are notifiable, you need to consider the following two factors:

  • If the porch/conservatory was removed, could the remaining door to the property be considered an external grade door? i.e. is it weathertight and secure?
  • Is the porch/conservatory heated from the property’s main heating system? i.e. is there a radiator in the porch/conservatory fed from a boiler that heats the rest of the property?

If the door in the example above is not an external grade door at the time of the replacement, then the windows and doors in the porch/conservatory are notifiable.

If the porch is heated from the main property heating system, then the replacement windows and doors in the porch are notifiable irrespective of whether the secondary door is / is not external grade.

Wall Openings

Where a wall opening has been widened as part of the replacement windows and /or doors installation then these woks cannot be registered with a Competent Person Scheme and these works must be notified via the relevant Local Authority or through an Approved Inspector.

Technical Support

If as a member of Certass you have any doubt over the correct registration requirements, please contact us and one of our technical team will be more than happy to discuss your requirements with you. Telephone number: 01292 292099.