Another Iowa winter has begun to take its toll on – on our activities, vehicles and even our homes. This time of year, it’s common for our service team to receive calls about moisture collecting on windows and door handles, some even freezing due to extreme temperatures. What’s the issue? For maximum efficiency and longevity, today’s homes are built with the average annual temperature in mind. While builders do their best to combat fluctuations, Iowa throws a host of weather conditions at us each year. It can be difficult for your home to adjust without a little assistance.
What Causes the Moisture?
During the winter months, windows and doors tend to be the coldest surfaces in your home. This means when warm, moist air comes into contact with the cold interior surface, the air drops below dew point, leaving moisture on the glass and door handles. It’s the same effect you see on the outside of a drinking glass filled with a cold beverage on a hot summer day.
How Can I Combat the Moisture?
There are several factors that may contribute to moisture or condensation in your home –ventilation, humidity and windows. Let’s look at these three areas, and consider ways you can make a few changes to prevent moisture from accumulating:
- Check general ventilation: Today’s new construction homes are built using tighter, more efficient construction techniques. This is great for energy efficiency but can restrict ventilation, as natural ventilation to the outdoors is reduced. Wyckoff can inspect your home’s ventilation to ensure it is functioning properly, and can advise if additional vents, fans or ventilators are necessary.
- Utilize exhaust fans and venting: Use bathroom exhaust fans during every shower and consider installing exhaust fans in high-moisture areas of your home. Make sure your dryer vents to the outdoors to avoid significant amounts of moisture from staying indoors.
- Invest in a heat recovery ventilator: Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) incorporate fan ventilation with a built-in heat exchanger to extract the heat from indoor air before exhausting it outdoors. It then transfers the saved heat to fresh air coming into your home from outside and eliminates any threat of moisture accumulation.
- Cut back: Moisture from showers, laundry and cooking tends to build up in our homes during the winter causing window condensation, as well as mold and mildew growth. Cut back on long, hot showers when possible and combine loads of laundry to reduce the release of moisture in your home.
- Check humidity levels: Recommended indoor humidity levels for optimal health and comfort range from 30 to 50 percent. Wyckoff can perform a humidity check on your home with a simple test to ensure your system is achieving adequate humidity throughout.
- Avoid thick blinds and window coverings: Putting down thick blinds or excessive window coverings make windows even colder in extreme conditions. This results in additional condensation and is not advised.
- Open windows: While this seems counter-productive in the middle of winter, opening your windows, a crack for a minimal amount of time, will help to eliminate the development of moisture. This may cause your HVAC system to run more frequently, but will prevent negative side effects of excess moisture in your home.
- Seal and insulate: Bad seals around windows, metal spacers between panes, and inadequate insulation can cause window surfaces to get cold enough for condensation to occur. Make sure seals are secure and insulation is sufficient. If you need to replace windows, opt for triple- or double-pane over single to help eliminate condensation.
Contact Wyckoff to learn more about condensation on windows, why you have it and what they can do to help.