What is condensation?
Condensation is when humidity or excess moisture in the air forms as water or frost on a surface.
The air is full or water, as water vapor. Although you can't see water vapor, you may have noticed that when you step outside on a humid day from an air conditioned space and you are wearing glasses or sunglasses, that the lenses fog up. This is due to the water leaving the vapor state in the warm air and condensing into a liquid as it cools.
If you are seeing an excessive amount of condensation you will need to take immediate action to reduce the amount of moisture inside the home. There are many reasons for excess moisture in the home. Read below to find a few causes of moisture and how to alleviate them.
Causes of Excess Moisture:
Roof Leaks: Roof leaks is one cause of excess moisture in the home. Pay attention to walls and ceilings looking for stains caused by roof leaks. If the leak has been occurring for quite some time, it should be noticeable by brown stains on the ceilings or walls. Do not let these go and the leak should be address immediately as water can travel down into the walls and insulation. It can take a long time for this moisture to dry and create a breeding ground for mold. Have a roof inspection done yearly so that an attempt to prevent the leak can be made.
Showering: Hot showers produce quite a bit of moisture in the air. Be sure use the bathroom exhaust fan when using the shower or bath. This will remove the moisture from the area and transfer it outside. If there is no exhaust fan, open a window if available. If neither or these options is available, it might be a good idea to consult with a contractor to have a exhaust fan installed.
Cooking: Cooking causes excess moisture. Be sure to use an exhaust fan or open up a window to allow the moisture to escape.
Clothes Dryer: Your clothes dryer can produce a massive amount of moisture. Be sure to check that this is properly vented to the exterior and is not obstructed. This must be checked once a year and cleaned as lint can also buildup and be a fire hazard.
Firewood: Do not store firewood inside as freshly cut wood can consist up to 45% of water. Seasoned firewood can have a 20-25% moisture content.
Plumbing Leaks: If you notice water coming from the plumbing in your home, do not ignore. Plumbing leaks can cause some major problems and a considerable amount of damage. Get this checked and fixed by a plumber asap. You can check yourself in areas like under the sinks, around toilets and bathtubs and around your washing machine just to name a few.
Old Windows: Old drafty windows can make it hard to control the moisture in the home. Now may be a good time to have your windows evaluated.
These are just a few sources of excess moisture in the home. All of these can contribute to high humidity levels that can create problems that will haunt you! Read below to find out a few problems high levels of moisture can create.
Problems excess moisture can create:
Most of the time, some condensation on windows inside the home is pretty normal. Especially when the relative humidity outside is high and your home is nice and cool on the inside. However, if you are seeing excessive moisture, then it will be a good idea to be sure to pay attention to warning signs that the moisture could be causing trouble.
Mold: Damp conditions promote mold growth which can home some nasty effects. Mold can cause health problems and damage the building materials of your home. If you see evidence of mold in living areas of the home, there is a good chance that it is affecting areas that you cannot access. Contacting a mold expert can help you determine what is causing the mold and high levels of humidity.
Wood Rot: A moisture problem that has been occurring for a long time can cause wood and other building materials to degrade.
Insects and rodents: Insects and rodents tend to like damp areas. Termites for one can cause some serious structural issues to the home. It is a good idea to have a termite bond or have a yearly inspection done to find and eliminate the source of any moisture that can lead to termite of other insect or rodent problem.
As described above, there are many different sources of excessive moisture in the home. There will always be some moisture in the air as it is naturally occuring. We exhaust moisture when we breath. After checking your roof and plumbing and all is good there, remember to use your exhaust fans whenever taking showers and cooking. Also, your air conditioning unit is a dehumidifier so take advantage of that. Go out and get a hygrometer that measures the level of indoor humidity. The ideal relative humidity for health and comfort is about 40–50%. In the winter months, it may have to be lower than 40% RH to avoid condensation on the windows. If your ac unit cannot keep up, it may be a good idea to purchase a dehumidifier to bring the humidity levels down to a recommended level.