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Old 01-18-2010, 08:36 PM   #1
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Electrical Panel and Frost


Hi,
I live in Manitoba Canada which has gotten very cold this winter ( -40 C ) but now is hovering around 0C. This is the second year now where if there is a fast temperature change that at the bottom of my walls I can see some water. The first year I noticed this it was happening below my electrical panel and when I removed the vapor barrier and insulation there was a big block of ice. I know the reason is probably because of how the wiring is run against the wall above the panel and thus the insulation is sitting on top of the wires and there is a gap which is allowing for warm air to meet cold , condense and freeze.
Thus I'm looking for some help in figuring out a solution. My guess is that the wiring will need to be removed and put in properly so it's not against the wall or is that normal ? Also , the sections of insulation that got wet I'm guessing are now garbage and would rigid insulation help ? Finally will the 2x3 wall need to be replaced now that the bottom of the wall has sat in water ?
The other sections where I found water was probably because I didn't close up the vapor barrier when it got cold and thus warm air was getting in behind and thus created an ice block on the wall.
I have attached some pictures of the panel to help out.

Thanks In Advance
Jason
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:38 PM   #2
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I had a problem with cold air coming in through the conduit bring in the mains. It was never sealed. I put some clay-like stuff I got at the electrical store and it stopped the inward cold flow and condensation. Maybe you have a similar problem.

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Old 01-18-2010, 09:40 PM   #3
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I'm just think that it can't be right to have the wiring against the concrete and then insulate over top of the wiring?
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:50 PM   #4
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I don't know. I'm just relaying my experience. You could still take a quick look and see if air was coming in just to see.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:54 PM   #5
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I know enough about this stuff to get by and that really doesn't look right....
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbessboro View Post
I'm just think that it can't be right to have the wiring against the concrete and then insulate over top of the wiring?
I see no issue with the wiring against the concrete. There is no insulation over the panels. At the wall base, there should be a sealer that the plastic gets inbedded to and seals the underside of the wood against the concrete. You will get condensation if the cool air begind the walls comes in contact with the conditioned space. Much like it did before you sealed the plastic. Any seams should be sealed with tuck tape.
Ron
The 2x3 should be fine for a short term water contact, but the bottom plate should have been pressure treated.
Ron

Last edited by Ron6519; 01-20-2010 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:45 PM   #7
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If the wires are against the concrete do I just place the insulation over top and seal it up ?

Can you describe the sealer that the vapor barrier gets put into or tell me where they sell it ? Is that what it's called ?

Also , should I open up the vapor barrier & insulation in the spots where there is water on the floor and let it melt and dry out or will I be causing more issues because then the other sections of the wall will have the warm basement air meeting the cold basement wall ?
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:14 AM   #8
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Well after talking to someone I have decided to remove alot of the insulation and vapor barrier to let the walls dry out. From what I have heard part of the problem is that these houses are built and the basement walls are framed , insulated and vapor barrier put on before the concrete has time to cure.

Thoughts ? Am I doing the right thing ? How long should I leave the insulation and vapor barrier off and are there any dangers in doing this ?


Thanks Again !
Jason
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:47 PM   #9
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The house was built over a year ago ?

If its been that long then its dried out as much as its going to
Water vapor will continue to come thru unsealed concrete
And warm air will condense & form moistire against colder outside wood/rim joist/wall area
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:12 PM   #10
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The house is I believe coming on 3 years old this June.

I'm wondering though if the concrete was insulated/vapor barrier right after it was poured if it wouldn't have had a chance to dry out completely ?

With all that said , what can I do to prevent the following which you mentioned:

Water vapor will continue to come thru unsealed concrete
And warm air will condense & form moistire against colder outside wood/rim joist/wall area
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:47 PM   #11
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You could get some of that spray-foam stuff, and completely fill the wall cavity encapsulating the wires too.

That would provide some good insulation value, as well as seal off any cold air drafts in the area.

Something like this might be appropriate.

Here is another one to check out.
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:10 AM   #12
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Following is the expert on this subject! Alaska and their "Cold Climate Housing Research Center".

Up there they have learned all about sealing houses up tight for energy efficiency, then about the resulting problems with condensation and ventilation. Might want to poke around their web site...

http://www.cchrc.org

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