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jessop67 12-29-2010 11:10 PM

Very dry air, but windows condensate & ice up.
I will start with the humidity in my house is only 29%, so dry that it is uncomfortable for all of us. We built this house 10 yrs. ago and all the windows get condensation and thick ice on them every winter since day one. I am in Iowa and the temps here are usually 0 to 30 in the winter. It was 12 this morning.

We were told the house is too humid, bullcrap. The kids wake up some days crying saying that their noses hurt, mine too.

We were also told the house is to tight. Possible, our HVAC guy told us we needed fresh air intake, so they cut a hole in the house and ran 2" PVC back to the furnace. Did nothing for they windows or the humidity.

I have been in dozens of home that do not have condensation on the windows, especially ice and they have a comfortable humidity level. What is different????

What needs to be done in my house so that I can run a humidifier to bring the level to a comfortable 35% and stop the window issue.

I ask that, only people that have had the same issue and had it fixed respond with how you fixed it or professionals respond. I have read hundreds of post with people saying to "drop the humidity" or "you have to live with it."
Other people don't have to live with it so it can be fixed.

Yes the windows are double pane with argon gas, aluminum clad exterior and wood interior.

gregzoll 12-29-2010 11:28 PM

Ever see what happens when a can is placed outside in very dry arctic air? It does the same thing. You need to run a humidifier, because 39% is too dry, and not good. If the panes are freezing, that is because of the moisture introduced into the air from everyone breathing in the home, and that the house has no way to breathe also, to exchange air.

What temp do you have the thermostat set at during the day, and when in bed? Do you run even a small portable humidifier in the kids room, or in the house, to at least introduce moisture into the air? Also, during the Summer, what is the feeling of the air in the home when the A/C is running? Does it ever get to the point, that it feels like damp air hanging, such as when a walk in cooler, or reach in cooler at a store goes into Defrost mode, that it just feels like a fog hanging on you.

ccarlisle 12-30-2010 08:30 AM

We're further north than you and probably have an older house than you; yet no frost, no ice on aluminium frame windows.

But first tell us how you heat. Then maybe our solution would apply.

Ron6519 12-30-2010 08:46 AM

It sounds like you have cold air getting in around the window to the interior. This would be caused by a lack of insulation.
Open the perimeter of one of the windows and check it out. It could be that all you need to do is use a low expanding foam to seal the gaps.

Tom Struble 12-30-2010 09:37 AM

are your windows set in masonry or are there brick around it?

SPS-1 12-30-2010 10:18 AM

I don't have a particular problem with condensation on my windows. I have natural gas forced air heating, and virtually every window has a hot air register right below it. Is it possible you don't have sufficient air movement around your windows ?

PoleCat 12-30-2010 10:36 AM

Your windows are either junk or not closed right.

gregzoll 12-30-2010 10:44 AM

Same here. I have one window in my Kitchen that is leaking air between the window and the storms, just enough that you can tell when the temp gets cool enough outside and causes the storm to frost over at the top unit. Can't fix until Spring when I get a replacement to put in its place, and same for the Dining Room that never got changed from the original Single pane by the original home owner, since it has a huge Window A/C sitting in it.

jessop67 12-30-2010 08:08 PM

Very dry air, but windows condensate & ice up.
I'm new at the post thing, so I will answer all of the replies and hope it gets to all that responded. Thank you.

I keep the day temp at 68 and the night temp at 70.

I use no humidifiers because I figured that would only make it worse.

The summer is comfortable, Iowa is very humid in the summer usually between 80-95% but my house is 35-40% when the A/C is on. 29% in the winter.

I have natural gas forced air heat.

I have the proper amount of insulation. ( i am a sub contractor and did build this house.) I have been able to solve any problem ever given to me in regards to a house, but this one I just can not get a good solution any where. I have exhausted my resources here so I am looking in a wider scope.

There is no masonry around the windows, just vinyl siding.

I have floor vents and there is one positioned under each window.

The windows are Marvin casement and are shut tight. I have even tucked insulation in the voids where the arms fold in. This has happened since the first winter here and happens to every window, other wise I would figure I had a bad window seal if it were one window.

I think I have answered all the replies and look forward to any new information. Thank you.

Ron6519 12-30-2010 09:17 PM

Have you opened the perimeters of any window to check for gaps between the window and the rough opening?
With the humidity as low as it is, this is either:
1. A thematic issue that involves air movement from the exterior.
-from bad weatherstripping.
-gaps in insulation
2. Bad glass in all the windows.
Can't think of anything else right now.

hardwareman 12-30-2010 09:55 PM

can you post a picture of this thick ice?

jessop67 12-30-2010 10:41 PM

3 Attachment(s)
I found some old pics. I don't have ice yet, it has been in the 40's this week. Not normal temps for Dec/Jan.
It starts as condensation on the glass, then freezes as the temp drops. it starts on the glass and grows to the sash and then the extension jambs.

hardwareman 12-30-2010 11:00 PM

wow, that is something. i'm no contractor or even in construction but I'd say you have bad windows or no insulation around them windows, or both.

Tom Struble 12-31-2010 12:18 AM

looks like its in a masonry wall?

gregzoll 12-31-2010 08:27 AM

Looks like bad windows. The ice appears around the Window and wood of the frame. I would seal the windows over with 3m Window film for the time being. As for the temps, you should lower them in the sleeping time down to lets say 62, which is what I have mine set at for heat, and keep it at 73 for cooling when home.

How are you reading the humidity? Are you using multiple sensors through the house? I have a multiple remote sensor unit from Radio Shack (63-1090 Weather Forecaster). One sensor is in my attic, one in my basement, main in the Living Room. With you, it would allow you to adjust humidity in various rooms. Also, Black & Decker makes a cheap Thermal temp reader, that you can use to check for air leaks around the windows, but without someone using a FLIR, it will be hard to get the big picture.

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