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There’s no denying it – winter has arrived. So what does that mean for your home? A lot actually. When the temps start to drop, we start getting calls and questions about condensation on windows and in attics. Because condensation happens when there are extreme temperature differences between the indoors and the outdoors, condensation is actually a quite common occurrence this time of year.
One of the first places it’s typically noticed it is on windows, which leads people to be concerned that their windows may be the problem. The reality is, however, that defective windows typically aren’t the cause of condensation. Windows are usually the first place you notice it because glass surfaces have the lowest temperature of any surface in a house. And while today’s energy-efficient designs of new windows do a great job of keeping the cold air outside, they also keep the warm, moist air inside. With normal condensation, there should only be a small amount of water on the glass. You might see it on the inside during the winter and on the outside during the summer. If this is what you see, don’t be concerned. If you see condensation between the glass of a double or triple pane window though, this can be an indication of a potential problem. In the case of a broken seal, the glass will need to be replaced. Sometimes, this alone won’t solve the problem and you’ll need to replace the whole window which is usually the case if the windows are old. And while investing in a brand new window may not seem like an ideal solution, a new, energy-efficient replacement can actually help save you money in the long run.
Another area people notice condensation in is their attics, which makes one wonder if the roof is leaking. Again, this is common this time of year, but even though you may not have a leaky roof, it’s important to take measures to keep your attic cool to prevent not only condensation, but also to prevent ice dams from forming. If your attic is too warm, the warmer air causes the snow on the roof to melt, and the water then flows down toward the gutters and the lower areas of the roof which are typically colder. It then refreezes, which causes an an ice dam. Because the water has nowhere to go as it continues to melt, it backs up behind the ice dam which can then leak back into attic. Left unattended, the water can also back into your exterior walls and other areas of your home, causing damage. So make sure that your attic is properly vented and insulated. If it isn’t, the attic air remains too warm, which is the main cause of an ice dam.
Overall, to help reduce condensation, you need to control the humidity in your home. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Make sure that the ducts connected to the kitchen bathroom and dryer vents all lead outside and not into your attic
- Crack open a window or door daily
- Run fans 15-20 minutes longer in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room
- Run your ceiling fans in a clockwise direction
- Keep curtains and blinds open
- Use a dehumidifier
If you have questions about possible issues with your roof, contact the professionals at Leingang Home Center.