Reducing Condensation on Sunroom Walls and Windows
LESLIE: Jed in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JED: I was just calling because I had some condensation issues in my sunroom. When we moved in, I noticed that there was no leaking from the roof but it seemed like there was some condensation marks coming down one of the walls.
TOM: OK. And so, in this sunroom, you have thermal-pane, insulated-glass window walls? Is that what we’re looking at here?
JED: Yes. They had replaced all the windows, as well, too.
TOM: Alright. And so, when the warm, moist air of your home settles against that cold glass, that’s when you get the condensation?
JED: I do – I did notice it on the windows, as well, but I also noticed it on the drywall. Could it happen on the drywall, as well?
TOM: Well, it’s possible but it’s certainly not as common as it being on the glass itself.
JED: OK. Since I did notice it on the glass – since we had also replaced the furnace and we put it in one of those whole-home humidifiers.
JED: And when it got really warm outside – because Iowa changes its temp by 50 degrees some days, from one day to the next – I did notice the condensation on the windows, so I turned that down.
JED: And I haven’t actually seen the condensation but it looks like there’s little kind of streak marks of just a drop going from the top of the ceiling to the top of the window pane.
TOM: Look, if your sunroom had a leak, I think you would know it; you wouldn’t be so unsure about it. I think it’s most likely condensation. And controlling humidity inside the house can help this, as can replacing all that glass. But of course, that’s a big expense. And this is very typical in sunrooms because, unfortunately, a lot of them are just not as well-insulated as they really need to be, especially if you’re in a cold climate where you get a lot of – a big temperature swing like that.
So I would say that managing the moisture inside your house is probably the best that you can do right now, from an expense perspective. If you have the opportunity to cover some or all of the windows with cellular shades, that can actually reduce it quite a bit, too, because it sort of adds a layer of insulation between the house and the glass.
JED: I guess I’m not as familiar with cellular shade, as well, but …
TOM: Yeah, they’re sort of tubular shades. I mean if you look them up online, you’ll see. As they go up and down, they sort of unfold and they have sort of an air chamber inside them.
LESLIE: So you have a piece of fabric and then you have a piece of fabric and it creates this sort of honeycomb/hexagon little shape that’s all stacked up. It’s essentially a shade that goes up and down, just like any other style of window shade. But when it’s down fully, it has this air pocket within that honeycomb, so you’re creating another area where that – the heat difference will stop.
TOM: Yeah. Because the warm, moist air, as it circulates inside your house, will strike that cold glass and chill and release moisture and then potentially drip. If you have these honeycomb-type shades up – these cellular shades – that warm, moist air will strike the shade and it won’t necessarily hit the glass as readily. And that can result in less condensation drippage.
JED: OK. So is that something you put on seasonally or come off and on or you put it up permanently?
TOM: No, they’re actually quite attractive. You’d probably put them on and leave them on. You’ll find it’ll help you control your heat in the summer, too, because you won’t have – I know those types of rooms can be very, very warm in the summer. And if you had the shades, you could reflect some of that back out.
JED: Really kind of a dual use. You learn something new every day.
TOM: Alright, Jed. And that’s what we try to do. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.