Icicles on vinyl siding


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Old 01-07-23, 06:00 PM
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Icicles on vinyl siding

I've been dealing with icicle formation and water dripping down the siding in the winter months.

We had two replacement windows installed on this side of the house. The issue seemed to start, or at least worsen to the point of being obviously noticeable, after the windows were installed. The window installers have not been helpful in figuring out the problem. The water is mostly under the windows and within a foot to the sides of them.

So far I've tried out a roof leak or ice dam, this is the gable side of the house so ice dams shouldn't be a concern. I've checked for frost in the attic on cold days and couldn't find any.

I'm wondering if anyone has any idea what could be causing this? Any suggestions of what to check around the windows for problems?




 
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Old 01-08-23, 12:29 PM
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That would have to be a lot of air loss
Exactly my point. If the new replacement windows aren't caulked, or the trim used to be caulked on, but wasn't recaulked after the trim was removed, the entire perimeter of the window leaks air. On a 4x4 window that could potentially be like a 16ft long gap, letting air in or out. Not a big deal (but still bad) when its not windy, but when it's very windy, and very cold, the amount of moisture created by an air leak can be a massive amount of water per hour. It's all about how much CFM of air is moving.

And its better to use a smoking incense stick or fireworks punk than a candle. And that only works on windy days. The air would have to be exiting the house in the winter to cause that condensation on the exterior. If air is coming IN, you would notice a similar amount of moisture but it would be inside... and it won't usually be ice, since it's warmer inside.

In the winter if it's below 32F, every bit of liquid that condenses on a cold surface will be preserved as ice. So it really wouldn't take much moisture to make make that much ice. Maybe a cup or so.

And it's probably not frost if there isn't evidence of moisture or ice behind the siding.
 
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Old 01-08-23, 07:05 AM
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It could be that the windows aren't air sealed and you are losing a lot of warm humid air out the perimeters. This would be worst on very windy days if that was the leeward side of the house. (The side the wind is blowing away from)
 
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Old 01-08-23, 08:34 AM
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My 2 is- you've got a source of moist air, from the vents AND you've got a sun/shade situation = temperature gradient that will allow water to collect as ice in the cold shadow at the right side of the window.

Q1- The sunlit photo appears to show some cloudiness, condensation or frost on the rightmost windowpane, is that accurate?
If it is, then the vacuum/air seal on that window may have failed, (Q1.1- are these double or triple windows?)
If that is the case, then either warm moist air is getting past the inner window, or cold dry air is getting past the outer. Both situations would help explain the moisture + cold = icicles result.

Q2- What time of day was the 2nd picture taken? Which direction does this wall face?
I'll guess west-north?
 
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Old 01-08-23, 08:53 AM
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The windows are double pane. There isn't any condensation between the panes, I think it's just an odd reflection in the picture.

The sunny picture was taken at about 1pm, the darker one was taken at 5pm on separate days. The windows face east.
 
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Old 01-07-23, 06:17 PM
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The ice starts on the side of the window, and we can't see what's above it. Must be dripping from somewhere higher. Next step might be pulling siding off above the window. Could have something to do with those vents. Are they bath fans?
 
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Old 01-07-23, 06:35 PM
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Yes, both vents are bath fans.
 
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Old 01-07-23, 06:39 PM
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You could have condensation running out the cold pipe... dripping behind the siding, running downhill toward the window. It's something to look into. Put a ladder up, take off the grilles on the vents and see if there's any icing there.
 
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Old 01-08-23, 12:02 AM
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Any obvious weather events that would produce rain/snow/sleet?
 
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Old 01-08-23, 06:50 AM
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There hasn't been any precipitation lately. It usually happens during dry weather.

I checked out the vents. They are dry and free of icing. I also pulled open a few seems in the siding above the windows while I was up there. The sheathing behind was also dry.

I'm kind of at a loss because it appears anything above the windows is dry, but I now have tannin stained icicles forming below and just beside the windows.
 
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Old 01-08-23, 07:34 AM
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It could be that the windows aren't air sealed
That would have to be a lot of air loss to generate that much moisture to make water/ice. Try a candle test for air flow!

I get those at times but it's easily traceable back to something like snow melting on the roof and dripping down onto the cold siding. That moisture has to be coming from somewhere?

Was the check done right after someone used the shower and fan?
 
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Old 01-08-23, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 711530
The windows face east.
Ok then, a slight adjustment on the guess-
#1 So, the east side starts to warm in the morning, then in afternoon / evening it goes into shade and chills down.

#2 Warm air rises, shaded locations stay cool; I'll wager the overhanging eave stays cold and collects frost.

#3 The problem increase / crossed the threshold to noticeable AFTER the windows were replaced.

Better guess:
The vents exhaust warm moist air which forms frost on the cold surfaces of the siding & eaves.
The window installation is somehow letting warm air into the wall, which mobilizes the frost. The window frames themselves remain well insulated - e.g. they are the first thing to chill down and remain the coldest thing in the area.

Therefore, moist-air/ water-vapor freezes out onto the gable wall, then heat-leak mobilizes it, and it freezes out on the highly insulated (e.g. COLD) exterior of the new, well-insulated window frames.
 
 

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