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Old 12-16-2010, 07:26 AM   #1
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Indoor humidity


I'm trying to lower the humidity in my house and can't seem to keep it under 61%.

I have a humidifier attached to my furnace. The knob is turned to the off position and the damper is closed.

We run the bathroom fan when someone is using the shower.

I've opened the windows and can get it down to about 52%, but then the whole house is cooled off and the humidity eventually goes back up after I close the windows.

Here is what it looks like at the top of my slider door. Notice the black stuff near the drops.

Indoor humidity-pella-slider-door-2.jpg

The threshold and lower sides of the door frame look awful from staying wet all the time.

Side note: The stationary side of the door does not have this problem. There are no drops of water collecting at the top of it.

Any suggestions or ideas?

Thanks for looking at this.

Barb

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Old 12-16-2010, 07:55 AM   #2
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Indoor humidity


I don't know if this helps, but here are a couple pictures of the controller and humidifier.

Indoor humidity-humidifier.jpg

Indoor humidity-humidifier-2.jpg



Barb

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Old 12-16-2010, 08:55 AM   #3
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Indoor humidity


Hey Barb,
This is a very interesting problem. I am very curious to what could be causing this. Your whole house humidifier is off and the damper is closed so it canít be causing the humidity. It is also cold outside so you are running your heat, right?
Is there water collecting on all the windows like in the picture of the patio door?
How old are the doors and windows and do they have low-e glass?
Is there any visible water damage to the walls or ceiling in your house?


Do you have gutters and are they clean, and are they frozen?


Do you have an attic? If you do have an attic have you checked it for water damage, temperature, insulation, or noticed any ice? Water could be seeping in through the roof and melting causing too much moisture in the house. Let me know the answers to these questions and I hope I can help. It is really weird that you are having a humidity problem in west Michigan during the winter.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:10 AM   #4
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Indoor humidity


I'm interested to see the outcome of this as well.

It seems to me that West Michigan would be naturally prone to higher humidity being near the great lakes (Lake Michigan).

You either need to increase the heat or remove the moisture

http://www.weatherquestions.com/What...emperature.htm

Is your furnace natural gas?
What temperature do you keep the house at?
Do you have a wood stove?

I think you either need to burn a wood stove or install a dehumidifier.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:56 AM   #5
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Indoor humidity


I have always assumed that high indoor humidity was due to moisture in, under, and around the basement or foundation. Do you have a crawlspace? Slab? Basement? Do you see any signs of vapor barriers? is there any standing water visible under your house?

As others have asked, what are the conditions of your gutters (probably frozen right now)? Do you have good drainage away from the house.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:51 AM   #6
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Indoor humidity


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Originally Posted by gotogregg View Post
Hey Barb,
This is a very interesting problem. I am very curious to what could be causing this. Your whole house humidifier is off and the damper is closed so it canít be causing the humidity. It is also cold outside so you are running your heat, right?
Is there water collecting on all the windows like in the picture of the patio door?
How old are the doors and windows and do they have low-e glass?
Is there any visible water damage to the walls or ceiling in your house?


Do you have gutters and are they clean, and are they frozen?


Do you have an attic? If you do have an attic have you checked it for water damage, temperature, insulation, or noticed any ice? Water could be seeping in through the roof and melting causing too much moisture in the house. Let me know the answers to these questions and I hope I can help. It is really weird that you are having a humidity problem in west Michigan during the winter.
It is also cold outside so you are running your heat, right? Yes, the furnace is set at 66į. It's natural gas.

The humidity outside right now is 34%.

Is there water collecting on all the windows like in the picture of the patio door? None of the windows have condensation at the top of the frame. They're like the one in the picture below, except for a few older windows that have a lot more water on them. The newer windows, like the one in the picture have low-e gas in them. The older ones probably do not.

Indoor humidity-humidity-3.jpg

This slider door was installed in 2004. The front door was replaced 1 year ago and the storm door, last month.

There is one window in the house that's probably from the 70's, when the house was built. Five windows are fairly new and 5 are less than 20 years old. I doubt that they have low-e gas.

Is there any visible water damage to the walls or ceiling in your house? No water on the walls and no longer any water on the ceilings. I had a problem with that last winter, but it was because of a lack of insulation in the attic, just inside the soffit opening and over the top plate. I fixed that in the fall and haven't had a problem with it since. Here is the thread that discusses that problem.

Help! Water droplets on the ceiling!

Do you have gutters and are they clean, and are they frozen? No, there are no gutters.

Do you have an attic? If you do have an attic have you checked it for water damage, temperature, insulation, or noticed any ice? Yes, there is an attic. I went up there and sealed it 2 years ago and had cellulose insulation blown in. When I was up there before the insulation was added, I didn't notice any water damage and the sheathing looked alright.

Barb
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:57 AM   #7
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Indoor humidity


Quote:
Originally Posted by LateralConcepts View Post
I'm interested to see the outcome of this as well.

It seems to me that West Michigan would be naturally prone to higher humidity being near the great lakes (Lake Michigan).

You either need to increase the heat or remove the moisture

http://www.weatherquestions.com/What...emperature.htm

Is your furnace natural gas?
What temperature do you keep the house at?
Do you have a wood stove?

I think you either need to burn a wood stove or install a dehumidifier.
It seems to me that West Michigan would be naturally prone to higher humidity being near the great lakes (Lake Michigan). We do get higher humidity during the summer, but I think any extra humidity in the winter turns to snow.

I don't have a wood stove. I wouldn't mind having one, but for now it's cheaper for us to use natural gas.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:01 AM   #8
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Indoor humidity


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Originally Posted by oberkc View Post
I have always assumed that high indoor humidity was due to moisture in, under, and around the basement or foundation. Do you have a crawlspace? Slab? Basement? Do you see any signs of vapor barriers? is there any standing water visible under your house?

As others have asked, what are the conditions of your gutters (probably frozen right now)? Do you have good drainage away from the house.
Do you have a crawlspace? Slab? Basement? Do you see any signs of vapor barriers? is there any standing water visible under your house? We have a full basement. We have never had any water issues down there, it stays dry. Our soil drains pretty well and the ground is sloped away from the house. I don't see any signs of a vapor barrier.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:32 AM   #9
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Indoor humidity


Quote:
It seems to me that West Michigan would be naturally prone to higher humidity being near the great lakes (Lake Michigan). We do get higher humidity during the summer, but I think any extra humidity in the winter turns to snow.

I don't have a wood stove. I wouldn't mind having one, but for now it's cheaper for us to use natural gas.
It may turn to snow outside, but it's turning to condensation inside. Which means the relative humidity is 100%. The dew point then I'm guessing is about 66 degrees apparently. I'm guessing if you turn up the thermostat to 70, there would be a noticeable difference. Also if you have ceiling fans, run them.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:02 PM   #10
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Indoor humidity


Condensation, as you know, occurs where there is a temperature drop, so I tend to agree with Lateral Concepts; I would turn the thermostat up 4 degrees, and run either ceiling fans or room fans, for a week, and see if the situation improves. Also, since you have a basement, I assume that the ducts run between the joists, so I would check the ducts, particularly any end runs, to make sure that there is adequate insulation between them and the rim joists. Further, if your basement is finished, and if it is practical to do so, I would remove some drop ceiling tiles, or whatever other action may be necessary, in order to try to maintain as consistent as possible temperature between the living area and the ducts. Not that any of these by themself are necessarily long-term corrections, but it may very well begin to shed some light on the origination of your condensation problem, so that you can effectively address it.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DexterII View Post
Condensation, as you know, occurs where there is a temperature drop, so I tend to agree with Lateral Concepts; I would turn the thermostat up 4 degrees, and run either ceiling fans or room fans, for a week, and see if the situation improves. Also, since you have a basement, I assume that the ducts run between the joists, so I would check the ducts, particularly any end runs, to make sure that there is adequate insulation between them and the rim joists. Further, if your basement is finished, and if it is practical to do so, I would remove some drop ceiling tiles, or whatever other action may be necessary, in order to try to maintain as consistent as possible temperature between the living area and the ducts. Not that any of these by themself are necessarily long-term corrections, but it may very well begin to shed some light on the origination of your condensation problem, so that you can effectively address it.
On that note, also make sure that there aren't any leaks in your dryer duct.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:33 PM   #12
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I don't see any signs of a vapor barrier
Since you have a basemenet (as opposed to crawlspace) I would expect the vapor barier, if any, to be below the slab and on the exterior of the foundation walls.

A basement may be "dry" but still humid. Do you have any idea what is the humidity in the basement. Do you run any dehumidifier?

Quote:
Which means the relative humidity is 100%.
I believe lateral concepts is correct here, but suspect this is a very local (within milimeters of the window where air temperatures are much below the rest of the house) condition. I do not believe your house, in general, has near-100% relative humidity.

While turning up the temperature in the house reduces "relative" humidity, it does not remove any moisture (negligible affect on "absolute" humidity). I would therefore be surprised if this noticably reduces window condensation, since the temperature (and relative humidity) near the windows would be minimally affected by an extra four degrees in the rest of the house.

As a point of comparision, my basement (ohio) has a relative humidity somewhere in the 70% range (higher in summer). Above ground, my house RH can get pretty low (sometimes below 30%). I actually run humidifier during the winter to keep it around 50%. These readings are based upon my thermostat and a wall-hanging humidistat in the basement.

The fact that you are unable to get your relative humidity below 61% strikes me as indication you are getting moisture from somewhere. If the moisture levels were based purely on exterior air humidity, I would expect interior RH to be lower than that of the exterior due to the higher temperature inside.

The fact that your RH is higher than outside leads me to conclude moisture is being introduced somewhere. You just have to identify where. Showers? Basements? Dryer vents? Standing water? Unvented combustion (gas stove? Vent-free fireplace?) Some combination?

Quote:
No, there are no gutters.
I cannot help but suspect you have high humidity in the basement. Water from the roof discharged near the foundation could contribute to this, even with good slope away from the house. I would be measuring humidity in the basement to find out.

Is it possible that your humidifier is malfunctioning? Can you turn off the water supply to the humidifier (if yes, then do so)?

Quote:
On that note, also make sure that there aren't any leaks in your dryer duct.
This strikes me as a good suggestion.

Last edited by oberkc; 12-16-2010 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:57 PM   #13
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Indoor humidity


Do you have bath exhaust fans? Kitchen exhaust fans? Are they vented to the exterior? Where?
Have you taken readings on each floor?
Have you taken readings at the vents?
The humidity controller could be bad. I'd try unplugging the humidifier completely.
Ron
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:04 PM   #14
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Hey,
I read the older post about the moisture on the ceiling and I think they are related. Is air from the soffit actually getting behind the vents that you added? Does your roof have venting at the peak, ridge vents or turbine vent? If not how does the air in the attic leave the attic?
I put 2 really basic pictures of how an attic should be vented. The air coming in from the soffit needs to flow all the way up. In your picture it looks like insulation is still blocking the airflow. Check your insulation for moisture. Check the nails coming through the roof for water. What is the temperature in the attic now? The only thing I can think of right now is that there is the moisture coming into the attic from outside isnít venting out through the roof.
Since there is no water damage on the walls the windows are probably not leaking. The condensation on the interior glass is normal with you humidity level because Low-E reflects heat. Let me know if any of this helps, I am still thinking of more possible solutions and asking some other people.-Gregg
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
Do you have bath exhaust fans? Kitchen exhaust fans? Are they vented to the exterior? Where?
Have you taken readings on each floor?
Have you taken readings at the vents?
The humidity controller could be bad. I'd try unplugging the humidifier completely.
Ron
I'm with Ron, unplug or turn off the water supply to your humidifier.

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