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Moisture and window condensation

by Ray Smith on 02/07/17

Condensation forming on the windows is a problem in many homes. But the condensation alone isn't the only issue, because this type of moisture buildup can lead to mold, wood rot, and other problems in the house too. The keys to preventing condensation are controlling the humidity and moisture levels in the house, managing the temperature and air flow inside, and keeping cold air away from your house.

1. Install a hygrometer. A hygrometer is a device that measures moisture levels in the air. Since condensation forms when warm moisture in the air collects on a cold surface, such as a window, tracking the humidity level in your house can help you stop condensation. When the moisture levels in the house get too high, take steps to reduce the humidity.
* When the temperature outside is below 0 F (-18 C), keep the humidity in your house between 15 and 25 percent.
* When the temperature outside is between 0 and 40 F (-18 and 4 C), keep the humidity inside between 25 and 40 percent.

2. Use exhaust fans and vents throughout the house. One of the best ways to get humidity out of your house is to vent it outside through exhaust fans. Using exhaust fans is important in certain rooms and with certain appliances that produce moisture.[2]
* Use bathroom vents and fans when you're bathing. Run them for at least 20 minutes after your shower.
* Use kitchen and stove fans when you're cooking. Run them for about 15 minutes after you finish cooking.
* Make sure your dryer vents to the outside for when you're doing laundry.
* A gas fireplace must have a chimney that vents outside, and you should always keep the damper open when you're having a fire in a wood burning fireplace.

3. Take your plants outside. Indoor plants can be great in your home, but if you have trouble with condensation, you should keep them outside whenever possible. This is because plants produce moisture, so keeping them inside can exacerbate condensation issues.
* If you have a sun room that stays dry, you can also keep your plants there.

4. Line dry clothes outside. Another cause of excess moisture in the house is clothing that hasn’t been dried in a drier. If you must line dry your clothes, take them outside to prevent water from evaporating off the clothes and adding excess moisture to the air inside.
* If you must line dry clothes inside, keep them in a well-ventilated room, and open a door or window.

5. Close doors when bathing and cooking.Some of the most significant contributors to moisture in your home include showers/bathing and cooking. When you shower or bathe, close the door to the bathroom to keep steam and moisture from escaping into the rest of the house. When cooking, close doors to the kitchen to keep moisture contained.
* When you are cooking or bathing in a closed off room, open windows to help remove the moisture.

6. Use lids when cooking. Another great way to contain moisture when you're cooking is to use lids that will keep liquids inside the pans and pots. This is especially important when you're steaming and boiling food.
* When you do remove the lid from your dishes, do so in front of an open window, and make sure the exhaust vent is running.

7. Turn off any humidifiers. Humidifiers are designed to add more moisture to the air in your house, so they will cause more condensation to form on your windows. When you're experiencing moisture problems, turn off all the humidifiers in your house, including ones that are attached to the furnace.

8. Use a dehumidifier. On the other hand, dehumidifiers are designed to remove moisture from the air, so these are ideal devices if your home is prone to condensation. You can either install a whole-home dehumidifier, or invest in a portable one that you can move around the house.
* Empty the drip pan or basin on the dehumidifier regularly to prevent that moisture from evaporating back into the air.

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