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Red Squirrel 01-23-2013 08:47 PM

Frost INSIDE! Should I be worried?
Been in the -30's lately which is standard for this month, we just have not been seeing it much in the past few years due to global warming. Noticed this the other day, did not think much of it given all the windows are doing it too. It's just so cold, and I do have a humidifier.

But today I noticed under that area in the crawlspace while measuring for studs/drycore which I want to install:

Also noticed the whole wall is starting to get frost now upstairs! :eek: I have a fan blowing on there now in hopes I can just get it to evaporate off. This is going to cause mold...

I also noticed another location where it's pretty bad:

I've been wanting to finish my basement, but should I be worried about these problems first? If I insulate that wall, then I will be reducing the heat loss even more, thus it will REALLY freeze badly. Or will the fact that it's sealed prevent frost from forming in the first place? I plan to get it spray foamed after I stud the walls.

concretemasonry 01-23-2013 09:00 PM

To much humidity and not good air circulation.

Glass is just a replacement for a hole in a wall or roof that gets cold and allows condensation. Circulation of air will get the moisture back into the house and cause the preset humidifier to run at a proper level. Air leaks are an obvious sign of localized condensation and freezing. Also, highly conductive materials or pipes (vents, intakes) that can conduct cold air at times can be problem spots.

We only get down to -20F (although -40F could be possible without wind chill) and we got up to 10F today, so we are not as severe and we have a lot of thermal mass in our place to maintain long term humidity and temperature. On windows - aluminum mini-blinds are great at night to eliminate the radiant heat loss that all the fancy gas and films cannot eliminate and still allow circulation.


Red Squirrel 01-24-2013 01:42 PM

So I should not have to worry, and I can just get that spray insulated and it should fix the issue?

Davejss 01-24-2013 09:28 PM

The global warming should take care of it. Just ask Mr.Gore.

Red Squirrel 01-24-2013 10:49 PM

Actually we have been seeing the effects of global warming here over the years but for the first time since I bought this house we're getting our standard January weather. So for all I know, it's always done that, and probably explains why some of the cinder blocks are out of place. But as far as global warming goes, a couple weeks ago snow was melting. WTF is that witchcraft? We don't have as much snow as before either, which is probably why this cold weather is hitting harder. I should probably shovel snow against the house. Normally, it would naturally build up 4-5 feet all around.

Speaking of frost inside, I decided to pull out the fire place for kicks to see what they did behind there. Nothing!

I have a fan blowing on that now to vaporize the ice. What is the best way to insulate that? Can I just use ridgid foam, some kind of glue, and vapor barrier tape for the seams and call it a day? The fireplace that goes there is just an electric insert.

jklingel 01-25-2013 01:09 AM

Rigid foam inside, against the blocks, (taped), with an interior wall tight against it to hold it, fill w/ Roxul if you'd like to, and sheetrock it; air seal; reduce humidity if it is high; better windows. Options. Doing all is the best, imo, but it ain't my money to do it all.....

Davejss 01-25-2013 06:38 AM

Leprecons, unicorns, bigfoot, loch ness monster, easter bunny, global warming.....

oh'mike 01-25-2013 07:04 AM

-30 C. = -22 F.

That's some intense cold----make a note of all frosted areas for air sealing and insulation when the weather is nicer-----

creeper 01-25-2013 07:09 AM

Actually Red, the news reported you guys at -40 yesterday

oh'mike 01-25-2013 07:25 AM

dang----- -40 c.= -40 F.

I've never seen anything colder than -17 and that caused trouble like crazy---frozen water lines---power outages--the works!

creeper 01-25-2013 07:43 AM

I've felt -25 or 29 or something. I can't tell the difference when it gets that cold. But I do know that after a few days of that 0 degrees feels positively balmy.

I've posted this before. This Canadian girl isn't even wearing a hat

DexterII 01-25-2013 07:55 AM

1970-71 (I think it was) winter survival, I slept on the ground, in a tent, for a week, with overnight lows of minus 20 F. Needless to say, the day time highs weren't a whole lot better. I don't think that we had "wind chill", "feels like", or any of the modern calculations; just the standard "f'ing cold".

Red, we had a fireplace that looked about like that, so I was at a point of adding outside air intakes or sealing it off, and chose the latter. Initially, I closed the damper, lined the back, sides, and top with black foil faced foam (sorry, drawing a blank on the name of it right now), set the rack back in, stacked it with some birch, and it looks as authentic as can be. I didn't have a thermal gun at the time, and have never thought to go back and check it (but may do that now that I am thinking about it), but did hang some tissues in a few places, and it made a big difference in regard to drafts. Maybe not the biggest gap that you have, but a quick and simple fix, and every bit helps.

Red Squirrel 01-25-2013 01:15 PM


Originally Posted by creeper (Post 1101563)
Actually Red, the news reported you guys at -40 yesterday

Yeah we've been hovering in the high 30's and 40's.

I did the water trick the other day too, was cool to be able to try that. We have not had this weather in a while. Used to be standard for January. When I was in high school I've seen what -50 feels like, without the windchill.

jagans 01-25-2013 03:05 PM

Rigid foam against a firebox? I dont think that is a good idea. Rock-Wool or fiberglass, maybe.

El Nino
, and La Nina, Yes. Al Gore? Bovine Scatology. Watch "Cool It" on Netflix.

PS Who left you with maybe 2 inches of bearing for that lintel in your crawl space?

Red Squirrel 01-25-2013 03:46 PM

Even with an electric fireplace? Figured it was a self contained unit and did not get hot on the back. I thought of using roxul but wont that get moldy? Or it it only fiberglass that's prone to that? If I go with one of those I'd also need a vapor barrier then right? That fire box is not exactly perfectly sealed.

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