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  #1  
Old 10/20/05, 08:10 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 316
Why do my windows have condensation on them?

We just turned the heat on a few nights ago, and now every window has water on it! I know it's happened before, because the wood windows have black mold on the bottoms. The windows are good ones, so the home inspector said.

We have the humitity in the house set at only 15%, the lowest setting.

It's driving me crazy! We will eventually switch to all vinal. Even the new kitechen window(Vinal) has a little bit of it (Not a lot).

Why does it happen, and what can I do about it?

Thanks!!

~Marisa

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  #2  
Old 10/20/05, 08:17 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Former State of Franklin
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Your windows are providing a cold surface and there is enough moisture in your inside air to condense.

I assume you have a single pane glass ?

What type of heat ?

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  #3  
Old 10/20/05, 08:34 AM
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Like TnAndy said, Windows with moisture on them is cause by 2 things,warm moisture in the air, and cold glass. Good double pane glass wont let the inner pane of glass get cold enough to condence the humidity as long as the humidity isnt to high. Im sure 15% is way below the threshhold. I have a 2,000 sq ft house. I heat with wood, and run 2 10 gallon humidifiers all winter. Plus I vent my cloths dryer in the house during the winter. Im puting about 18 gallons of water in the air every day, and I very seldom get condensation.

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  #4  
Old 10/20/05, 09:01 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: WI
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You say that your humidity is 15%, the " lowest setting". What do you mean "lowest setting"? If that is the setting on the humidifier, natural moisture sources could be keeping the humidity in the house much higher than that. How cold is it outside? Are the windows double pane? What part of the country are you in?

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  #5  
Old 10/20/05, 09:16 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Missouri
Posts: 486
Smile

Your windows are condensing because you have to much humidity in the house, it will get worse as the weather outside gets colder.

Do you have a humidity gauge? If your windows are condensing this time of year, I am sure your humidity is way above 15%, probably more like 60+.

Does your dryer vent indoors? Do you have fans for bath/shower areas to vent humid air outside? Do you have any other moisture sources that need to be corrected? Dripping faucets, leaking pipe, roof leak, etc?

Your humidifer could be putting to much moisture into the air, if the window sills are black from mold, it has been happening for some time.

Step one is to buy a cheap humidity gauge and get a reading of what the current humidity is in the house, then get back to us.

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  #6  
Old 10/20/05, 09:21 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 316

Thanks for the fast replies!

All the windows are double pane. I heat with propane right now, in a few weeks we will supliment that with wood. (As soon as we get a wood stove)

I am in Western NY. It has been around 58 or so during the day, and in the 40's at night about. Its at night is when it seems to happen. When I get up, all the widows are almost completely covered in condensation. Then during the day, when I dont have the heat on, they dry up.

We have a humitifier on the furnace, and it's set at 15%. Maybe I'll shut it off and see what happens.

We run a humitifier in the basement, everything gets mold on it if we dont. It's full by time my hubby gets home from work...But there is a door to the basement, so I wouldn't think the moisture would get up here.

~Marisa

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  #7  
Old 10/20/05, 09:28 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Missouri
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As long as you aren't experiencing dry skin, sinus issues, etc, I would try turning off the humidifer all together for now.

I normally don't turn ours on until it is really cold and dry out, December and January for around here ( Northern Missouri ).

Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? I am sure that the furnace exhaust isn't the problem, as if enough of it was coming inside to cause all this humidity, you would already be sick or worse.

The thing is the basement is a DEhumidifier, it's good that you have one down there since you have the mold problem down there as you said.

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  #8  
Old 10/20/05, 09:39 AM
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Based on a lifetime of living in a cold climate, my experience tells me that night time temperatures in the 40's is not cold enough to cause condensation on double pane windows...unless there is a problem. Yes, turn off the humidifier on your furnance. Then check the furnance to insure that exhaust gases are going up the chimney. A plugged chimney....or a ventless gas heater...will cause excessive window condensation even during relatively warm temps. And by all means, keep thedehumdifier going in the basement.

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  #9  
Old 10/20/05, 09:47 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marisal
Thanks for the fast replies!

All the windows are double pane. I heat with propane right now, in a few weeks we will supliment that with wood. (As soon as we get a wood stove)

I am in Western NY. It has been around 58 or so during the day, and in the 40's at night about. Its at night is when it seems to happen. When I get up, all the widows are almost completely covered in condensation. Then during the day, when I dont have the heat on, they dry up.

We have a humitifier on the furnace, and it's set at 15%. Maybe I'll shut it off and see what happens.

We run a humitifier in the basement, everything gets mold on it if we dont. It's full by time my hubby gets home from work...But there is a door to the basement, so I wouldn't think the moisture would get up here.

~Marisa
Do you mean you are running a _de_humidifier in the basement right now?

If you think about it, kinda silly to be running both a humidifier & dehumidifier in the same building.....

You have a lot, lot more humidity than 15% in your house. It's coming up from the basement. Get a humidity meter, see where you are at. Turn off the humidifier for now.

Is your propane furnce properly vented outdoors, you are not using a ventless device are you? Those add a ton of humidity to the air.

It is typical in fall for there to be excess moisture inside the house, and as the outdoors cools down you get condensation on the cool window surfaces. As temps settle out lower, & the moisture is removed from the house, this should get better _if_ you don't have too much humidity & properly insulated double panes.

--->Paul
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  #10  
Old 10/20/05, 09:48 AM
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As Cabin has suggested, is your propane ventless (open burners)? Water is a big by product of combustion. When you have enough water in the air to rise above dew point you'll have condensation on any cooler heat-conductive surfaces.

I don't believe you could come close to achieving 15% humidity

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  #11  
Old 10/20/05, 11:28 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Former State of Franklin
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Get a Radio Shack humidity meter.......bet you'll find your inside humidity is up in the 70-90% range.....and it's coming up from your basement most likely if you're having to run a dehumidifier all the time.

Now start figuring out why you have so much moisture in the basement.

Are the walls sealed ?

Is rainwater from your roof getting in around your foundation ? Check gutters and drains if you have them...prime source for basement water problems.

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  #12  
Old 10/20/05, 11:33 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NY...N Rensselaer county
Posts: 241
Unhappy

Where is the best place to buy a dehumidifier and what should I look for? Right now, the humidity in our living room/dining room area reads 82%. These are two of the few rooms without the new triple pane windows that we were able to buy about 8 years ago after the tornado came through. You guys talking to the other poster made me realize how harmful the high humidity was. We do have black mold on the the sills, some ceilings and of course in the bathroom, in spite of using an exhaust fan. Please advise.

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  #13  
Old 10/20/05, 11:38 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Former State of Franklin
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I see them used all the time in the local trading paper.

But that's not the problem generally....you NEED to find the source of the excess moisture and put a stop to THAT.......would you run a bildge pump in a boat with a hole in it or fix the hole ? <grin>

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  #14  
Old 10/20/05, 11:49 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NY...N Rensselaer county
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Now that I think of it, there are several cracks in the foundation blocks that indeed could be letting moisture in. When it rains heavily, there is often an inch of water in some places of the cellar. We have the washer and dryer on pallets for this reason. The house is about 60 years old and in need of a few updates.

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  #15  
Old 10/20/05, 12:05 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 316

Honestly I dont know why it's so humid down there. It is dry, as in the floors never get wet, there are no water stains on the walls or anything. There are 2 sump pumps down there. One for the washer, and one for the perimeter. But on that side of the basement, it doesnt get to bad.

We will be taking down the paneling in one room down there, where the mold is the worst. I am kinda scared to see whats behind those! We have been just so busy lately with the rest of the house to do it yet.

I will get one of those humitity reader things. Thanks!

~Marisa

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  #16  
Old 10/20/05, 12:26 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Alaska
Posts: 4,527

It has been INCREDIBLY humid here in NY the past few weeks. We don't often have humidity problems but we have lately. Everything feels damp. Not quite cold enough to turn on the heat yet but you want to to dry things out. It is finally today cold enough to run the heat. Our good windows never get condensation on them. It is only the few we purchased through a chain hardware store that despite being double pane just don't cut it. Those 3-4 windows are the only ones in the house that ever get condensation on the inside.

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  #17  
Old 10/21/05, 07:24 AM
on winged flight...
 
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Something you must do is clean off the mold on the wood part and all other parts of the windows!! Moldcauses lung problems...and rots wood. Use a product on the market for this or use 5% bleach in warm water and some elbow grease.
Better do it asap.....

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  #18  
Old 10/21/05, 09:42 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Missouri
Posts: 486

Ok, both of you sound like your big moisture source is the basement.


Cher in NY:

If you have cracks in the walls and have an inch of water standing after it rains, you should get some of that crack seal stuff and apply it to stop as much of the water coming in as you can. It isn't very expensive, and might not work perfectly, but it is better than nothing by far. Look at the gutters and dirt around your foundation, you may want extensions on the downspouts of the gutters ( if you have gutters ) to carry as much water as possible away from the house. Make sure the dirt is higher against the foundation and slopes away from the house to carry as much moisture as you can away from the house, you definitley DON'T want puddling against the foundation, that water will travel down the walls, in the cracks if there are any, and into your basement.

You might consider a sump pump to get the water out of the basement and keep the water from rising around the edges of foundation to the levels of the cracks and coming in that way.

Marisal:

Same advice for you regarding guttering and dirt sloping.

Your washer dumps into a sump and then is pumped up and out I take it?

Are you on septic?, if it is all possible you want to have the washer dump directly out of the house, into the septic, or something. That water splashing down into the sump and then pumping out is like a constant waterfall in the basement whenever your washer runs.

Maybe try and really seal up that sump area to keep the moisture in it if there isn't any other way to do it.

Moisture is your worst enemy in a house no matter if it comes in from the roof, a leaking pipe, whatever. Wood will last forever if kept dry and free from bugs......

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  #19  
Old 10/21/05, 11:33 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: SE Ohio
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So . . . can I assume that if I am running a ventless stove, that I should also be running a dehumidifier? Even tho the furnace is also running and throwing dry air out? What is a good humidity level in a house?

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  #20  
Old 10/21/05, 02:32 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,272

Truth be told, I would never run a ventless propane or gas heater of any type inside. The so called comfort and safety zone for humidity is 30 to 50%. However, if you are dust mite allergic, you might find 25 to 30% is better.

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  #21  
Old 10/21/05, 02:57 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caballoviejo
As Cabin has suggested, is your propane ventless (open burners)? Water is a big by product of combustion. When you have enough water in the air to rise above dew point you'll have condensation on any cooler heat-conductive surfaces.

I don't believe you could come close to achieving 15% humidity
I've heard this as well, both oil and propane put water into the air.
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  #22  
Old 10/21/05, 05:11 PM
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I got one of those temperature and humidity measuring things. Very handy.

It is a good idea to remove the humidifier from the furnace altogether. If you need humidity, have a shower.

Your basement is not likey a source of humidity, unless you have serious problems which you don't. It is more likely a sink of humidity from the rest of your house, and your dehumidifier takes care of that. Insulation on the outside of the foundation and under the slab would be better, but is difficult/impossible as an afterthought.

Sources of humidity on main floor.
1. Showers
2. Kitchen
3. Laundry room
4. Outside air in Summer
5. Humidity left over from summer

Ceiling fans and the drier vent take care of 1,2,3. Outside air is difficult to avoid in summer, and humidity will work its way into nooks and crannies though it will only appear serious in the basement with it cold walls. Running a dehumidifier in the basement is cheaper and more effective than heating the basement. Your problem is most likely left over humidity that is still in the house from the Summer, and literally comes out of the woodwork in the Fall to appear on windows.

Solution:
Using your humidity measuring gizmo, run your ceiling fans when you shower and close the door until the humidity in the bathroom has cleared. Run you dehumidifier in your basement whenever the humidity anywhere in the house is above 50-60%. It will be highest in the basement as it is coldest there, but that is not the source. In Fall condensation will begin to appear as outside temperatures drop and humidity leftover from summer condenses on the windows. It will be most noticeable in the morning after you shower, but should become less of a problem as drier outside air works its way in to dry the house out. Don't be afraid to let the humidity of the house drop, even to 20%, unless it causes serious problems with antique furniture and cracking wall. It should not get lower than 20% unless you have a very leaky house and run the furnace or woodstove alot. If it gets less than 20% in winter, leave the ceiling fan off when you shower. A few sticky doors in summer and loose doors in winter should be of no great concern in itself. If you allow the house to naturally breathe between 20% in late winter and 60% in late summer you should avoid moisture problems like mold and damp, and also dry out any hidden problems that do occur. A constant 40% would be ideal, but is often unreasonable.

Summary:
1. Ceiling fans at source of moisture.
2. Dehumidifier in basement in Spring, Summer and into Fall, or anytime humidity is above 60% in basement.
3. Let the house dry out in Winter and you will have less trouble in the following Summer and Fall.

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Last edited by JAK; 10/21/05 at 05:18 PM.
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