Seasonal FAQ’s: Frosting

Posted by Jennifer G. on Thu, Feb 27, 2014

seasonal-faqs-frosting-condensationWith winter comes all sorts of seasonal questions - some of the most common our service department receives are the questions around frosting or condensation on the windows. Whether it’s on the windows inside your home or inside your garage, frosting happens. We’ve put together a list of tips and tricks to help you understand why this is happening and what you can do to reduce it.

Condensation will form on the windows when the warm air inside your house meets the cold outside air on the window surface. Typically you’ll have more condensation on the upper floors since warm air rises, but main floor and basement windows frost too.

For the first couple of winters in your new home it can be pretty difficult to control your humidity levels. Aside from the normal activities that cause humidity such as laundry, showering and cooking there’s a few other things that contribute to condensation forming. 

  1. All of the wood used in the construction of your new home needs to dry. The wood that was used to frame your home still has moisture in it and it can take a year or two  to completely dry. The only place for all of that moisture to go is into the air in your home which will increase the humidity.
  2. Another thing that can increase your humidity levels is the concrete in your basement and foundation that’s still curing. Concrete is made up of 15-20% water and depending on the size and thickness can take 30-60 days to cure and even longer before all of the moisture is completely released.

So what can you do about it? Here’s some helpful tips:

For the home:

  • Ventilation is the most effective way to remove moisture from your home
  • Open a door or window for a short period of time to let moisture escape
  • Check your fresh air intake screen isn’t frosted over (it’s outside)
  • Check your furnace and HWT pipes for snow accumulation (again, it's outside)
  • Cooking adds moisture to your home so make sure you run your kitchen fan while cooking, and leave it running for a minimum of 15 minutes after you finish cooking
  • Keep the bathroom door closed and the fan running while you shower. After you’re done, keep the fan running for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Hanging wet clothes to dry inside will add significant moisture, use your dryer as much as possible. (and make sure your dryer is properly vented to the outside!)
  • If you have a humidifier, turning it down before a cold snap can be very helpful
  • Open the damper on your fireplace on occasion (if you have one!)
  • Air circulation is important so don’t cover registers - hot or cold - with furniture. Leaving your interior doors open also helps with air circulation.
  • The lower the temperature in your house, the more condensation will occur. Don’t go any lower than 16℃ during the winter.
  • Clean up any water from melted snow right away from entries. 
  • Don’t wash your floors on really cold days, and run fans when you do wash to help get the moisture out of your home
  • Leave your drapes/blinds open during the day. If you have window coverings that fit from jamb to jamb it is really important to leave them partially open to ventilate the window cavity

For the Garage:

  • Clean the snow off your car before you bring it into the garage
  • Open the garage door when you’re warming up your vehicle

If you’re looking for an easy way to monitor the humidity in your home you can pick up a hygrometer from a hardware store. They range in price from $15 - $250, depending on the features. 

One important thing to watch out for: if you notice condensation between two fixed panes of glass that means the seal has been broken. In an older home you should have these windows replaced. In a new home you should contact the service department of your home builder to get this fixed. 

Hopefully the mystery behind your window condensation and frosting isn’t such a mystery anymore and you’ve found these tips to get rid of humidity in your home helpful.

Photo credit: DepositPhotos.com

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