LESLIE: Annette in Mississippi is on the line and has a flooring question about how to reduce condensation on tile surface. What can we do for you today?
ANNETTE: I have ceramic tile in my kitchen and den. And I’ve noticed condensation on top of the surface of the tiles. And I was just wondering, what causes that?
TOM: The difference between a cold floor and a warm, humid house. So, when you have – think about it this way. When you go outside in the summer and if you’ve got a cold glass – an ice-filled glass of water or iced tea – you get moisture on the outside of that glass. Well, why is that happening? Because warm, moist air is striking the outside of the glass, it’s cooling and it’s releasing the water, right? Because the warmer air holds more water than colder air.
So in your house, you have, again, moist air striking a cold surface and it’s forming condensation on tile surface. Dehumidifying that space can help. And there’s a couple of ways to do that, one of which is an appliance called a “whole-home dehumidifier.” It fits into your HVAC system and it can take out a lot of water – about 90 pints of water a day – out of the air. And it can also reduce the cost of air conditioning. Because everybody thinks that air conditioning is the only way to dehumidify a house. It’s actually not. And it’s not that good of a dehumidifier, frankly.
If you were to add a whole-home dehumidifier, in addition to air conditioning, you will find that it will pull a lot of moisture out of the air and it’ll make the air a lot more comfortable and not quite so clammy. And it will dramatically reduce or completely eliminate the condensation that you’re getting now on your floors. Because that can get slippery, too, so you’ve got to be careful.
ANNETTE: Right. Is that common for ceramic-tile floors?
TOM: It’s not the material, OK? It’s the environment that’s causing condensation on tile surface. It’s not the floor that’s making this happen, it’s the environment. So you have high humidity in your house. Why? I don’t know. But you want to check to make sure your bathroom exhaust fans are going outside and you want to make sure that your kitchen range duct/hood is ducting outside. You want to look at the grading and the drainage at the foundation perimeter. If you have a lot of water that piles along the outside of the foundation, overflowing gutters, that can raise the dampness and the humidity level. All those things contribute and you can certainly take a look at those things. But an appliance like a whole-home dehumidifier might be the best solution.
ANNETTE: OK. Well, I currently use just the single-room dehumidifier but – and I haven’t noticed it in any other place in the house. It’s just that one area.
TOM: Yep. Well, this is an option. You could certainly try another dehumidifier in that space but it is an environmental issue and it’s not the building materials.