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Reduce Home Humidity to Decrease Window Condensation

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Marlene in Iowa is dealing with some winter window issues. Tell us what’s going on.

    MARLENE: We had our siding and our windows replaced a couple years ago. And ever since we replaced the siding and the windows, in the wintertime when we turn the furnace on and get the heat started in the house, every morning when we get up, every window in the house has moisture buildup at the bottom of the window and even to the point where it makes little pools on the windowsills. So we have to go around to every window and take a towel and dry all that moisture off the bottom of the window and out of the windowsills.

    TOM: Well, the good news is you have to – you’re cleaning your windows every day, so they never get dirty.

    MARLENE: Thanks.

    TOM: So, the reason that’s happening is because your windows are not insulated very well. Are these thermal-pane windows?

    MARLENE: They were supposed to be. They were supposed to be very good windows but we had trouble with the siding that the guy put on, so I suppose he sold us a cheap window along with the siding that we had problems with.

    TOM: You see, the reason that you’re getting this condensation is because when it’s cold outside, the warm, moist air strikes the inside of the glass and it condenses. And so you probably have high humidity inside your house.

    There’s a couple of things we can do to try to reduce that. But if you don’t have good, insulated window glass, that problem gets really pretty bad. It can actually add up, as you discovered, to quite a bit of water.

    So, the fix, unfortunately, is to replace your windows, which is expensive. So what I would suggest that you do is take a look at all of the reasons that you get high humidity inside of a house. So, you get humidity from activities that people do: cooking, cleaning and bathing.

    Make sure that if you have exhaust fans in your bathrooms, that you have the fans, they’re ducted out of the house and that they’re run on timers so that when you’re done with showers and baths, they can continue to run for 15 or 20 minutes to pull that moisture out. Make sure that you have an exhaust fan over your range, of course, that’s also, again, ducted out and not a recirculating.

    Make sure that around the foundation perimeter of your house that your grading is adjusted properly. You want to make sure that soil slopes away from the walls and that your gutters and downspouts are extended. Because believe it or not, if they’re not – if the gutters are not clean, they’re not extended, if the grading is too flat, that water is going to collect in the soil around the outside of your house. It will be drawn into the foundation and then it will be wicked out of the air on the other side and work its way up through the house, increasing humidity the whole way.

    So, simply by making sure you keep water away from the house, you’ll reduce humidity inside the house. Does that make sense?

    MARLENE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: So that’s why it’s happening. Those are the few things that you can do inside to reduce the amount of humidity that you have.

    MARLENE: Alright. Well, you’ve been very helpful. At least I kind of understand what’s going on. Thank you and I enjoy your show.

    TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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