Why do my windows have condensation on them?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by marisal, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    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 :)
     
  2. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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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 ?
     

  3. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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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.
     
  4. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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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?
     
  5. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    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.

    :eek:
     
  6. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    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 :)
     
  7. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  8. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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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.
     
  9. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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
     
  10. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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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
     
  11. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  12. Cheri in NY

    Cheri in NY Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  13. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

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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>
     
  14. Cheri in NY

    Cheri in NY Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  15. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

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    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 :)
     
  16. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  17. carly

    carly 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.....
     
  18. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    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......
     
  19. greyhound girl

    greyhound girl Well-Known Member

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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?
     
  20. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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.