Condensation on doors, new replacement windows, bathroom walls, and other surfaces in the house is not only annoying but can also cause some significant risks to you and the house as well. Although most signs of condensation are first seen on window panes, it doesn’t mean that the window is at fault. Condensation often occurs when humid air comes into contact with a cold surface (usually below room temperature). As long as you can see condensation on the windows, then chances are, other surfaces have condensation too. Although not visible at first, condensation on walls can cause structural damage to the same, and even attract mold.
If you can spot signs of condensation in the house, then chances are your dehumidifier isn’t working as it should. This is because condensation occurs when the air is saturated with water vapor or humidity. The saturated air is incapable of holding the excess moisture, causing condensation or water droplets on colder surfaces.
What makes the air humid inside the house? You may ask.
Some of the factors that increase humidity in the house include:
1. Perspiration and breathing normally, (four people) can add up to half a pint of water on the hour.
2. Cooking adds up to 5 pints of water per day
3. Washing machines, dishwashers, and dryers release several pints of water in the air
5. Poorly insulated crawl spaces.
6. New homes that haven’t dried out completely. Humidity levels from the same should reduce as the house dries.
To combat condensation, the source of humidity needs to be determined and addressed in time. It’s by keeping humidity levels in check that condensation can be taken care of. Establishing how much water air can handle can also help you solve the problem for good. For instance, warm air holds more moisture than cold air. This can be demonstrated on a hot, humid summer day by placing a chilled glass on the table. Water droplets will start appearing on the surface of the glass.
Air loses its capacity to hold more moisture as it gets cold. This forces excess moisture to condense on colder surfaces. What is the ideal humidity percentage in the house? This primarily depends on relative indoor temperature and outdoor temperature. Keeping indoor temperature at a constant 70° F, then the relationship should be:
-20° F temperature outdoors should have 15% relative humidity indoors
At 0° outside, the relative humidity indoors should be at 30% maximum
20° F can only hold 40% relative humidity indoors.
If humidity levels in the house are way above this, then chances are there’s condensation in your home. Have the house inspected for possible causes of the same to prevent possible damage to the house’s structure.
Condensation in Newer Houses Vs. Older Ones
In most cases, older homes are not only weather stripped, but also insulated to help keep cold air out. Such factors help the house to ‘breathe,’ allowing dry air inside the house particularly during hot and humid days. Windows in older homes aren’t airtight, meaning they do let cold air into the house. Such makes the window surface cold, hence making condensation possible.
New houses, on the other hand, are designed to be energy efficient. This means more energy efficient windows and air-tight ones for that matter. Air-tight windows increase chances of condensation for it traps warm, humid air in the house.
How to Take Care of Condensation in the House
Reducing the number of cold surfaces in the house is the first step to creating a condensation-free environment. You also need to check humidity levels in the house or have the same regularly monitored to even the odds. Investing in a hygrometer ( a device used to measure humidity) can help you determine this easily. You can either order one online or buy from a local store.
Effective Ways of Controlling Humidity in Your Home
1. Invest in a good quality humidifier. Take the necessary measures to ensure it remains in an excellent working condition.
2. Ensure all appliances are vented to the outside.
3. Have a vapor barrier installed in the crawl space.
4. Install exhaust fans in the bathroom and the kitchen. Ensure they are turned on whenever using the bathroom or kitchen as well.
5. Take measures to ensure your home is properly ventilated.
6. Quit keeping firewood inside the house.
7. Invest in energy-efficient windows and doors.
8. Consider opening windows for a few minutes each day to allow the exchange of cold and warm air.
How Energy-Efficient Windows Can Help
Windows, skylights, and doors have become an integral part of making homes more energy efficient. These work by keeping the house airtight, thus preventing cold air from getting into the house. Spacers in double and triple-glazed windows help isolate freezing temperatures outside, meaning the inner pane doesn’t get cold at all. This reduces chances of lowering air temperature, hence no condensation.
Some of the best window manufacturers in the industry use a special metallic coating on window panes and glass as well. The film reduces heat radiation, which helps keep heat inside during winter, and reflect heat outside in summer. Investing in energy-efficient windows, therefore, helps keep the house warmer. This translates to lesser cold surfaces in the home.
Conclusion on Home Condensation Issues
Ensuring your house is adequately ventilated, installing exhaust fans, vapor barriers, and energy efficient windows are some of the best measures that not only help control humidity but take care of condensation as well. While temporary condensation (in unusual circumstances) is a possibility, taking these precautionary and preventive measures should help keep humidity levels down. Having a hygrometer installed in the house can also help you ensure humidity levels do not soar up again.