Bathroom fans

Published on November 28th, 2014 | by Henri

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Water collects inside of windows in winter

Q.   I hope you might be able to shed some insight on a problem I have with my windows. As soon as it gets cold, beginning sometime in October until the weather warms up in the spring, water collects on our windows and forms long puddles along the bases, where the glass meets the wood. We have storm windows as well as new insulated windows but this problem persists.

First thing in the morning, I open my curtains and wipe up the water. Opening the curtains does not solve the problem, but it helps in most of the rooms of my house. Anyway, I fear that my windows will all be rotting soon if I don’t resolve this perplexing problem. Do you have any ideas about what is causing this massive amount of condensation and what I can do to prevent it?

A.    Drawn window shades at night will cause condensation on glass, especially if the shades are of the insulating type. The air trapped between the glass and the shades is cooled, and the dew point is reached.

The fact that you have such a serious condensation problem in spite of having insulated windows and storm windows is an indication that there is too much moisture in your house. If you didn’t have this problem before having new windows put in, it is because the old windows were leaky and allowed greater exchanges of air in the house. The new windows are obviously tighter and the number of air exchanges is greatly reduced.

If you have a warm air system and there is a humidifier on your furnace, and you are using it, I suggest that you shut it off, empty it and clean it with a bleach solution. Make sure that it is dry.

You should also look at your lifestyle and see if there are things you can do to reduce the relative humidity (RH) in the house.

For instance, do you dry laundry on racks inside the house, or is your dryer properly vented to the outside? Do you have lots of water-loving plants? Is your house modest in size with several children and pets? Is your cooking generating a lot of steam, and is it with gas? Does your family take long, hot showers? Store firewood inside?

If there are things you cannot change, you might want to look into an air-to-air heat exchanger.

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