too much moisture and humidity

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-01-06, 07:43 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
too much moisture and humidity

35 year old brick raised bungalow. Water running down some walls, mildew in closets, mold on ceilings, windows dripping. Humidity level never below 70%. We have fiberglass insulation in attic, brand new windows and doors, no humidifier on furnace, two dehumidifiers running in basement. Help! Where is all this humidity coming from?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-02-06, 04:12 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 857
What is the grading like around your house? Sounds like the water is flowing towards your house instead of away.
 
  #3  
Old 01-02-06, 07:08 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,722
lou-anne,

Sounds to me like your house has had a nice upgrading of doors and windows without any thought of ventilation.
Yours is a very common problem.
The moisture generated by ordinary living before your upgrade was released to the outside through cracks and leaks around the old windows and doors.
Your upgrade has now trapped this moisture inside.
The fix will be to either reduce moisture generating activities like cooking, bathing and breathing , or find a way of getting this moisture out of the house.
Dehumidifiers are not the way to do it.
I'm not sure where you live and what the standards are where you are but here, our new energy efficient homes are required to have heat recovery ventilators as part of the hvac equipment.
These units both exhaust and bring in outside air to keep humidity under control.
If you wish to try more economical ways of solving your problem try running your vented bathroom and kitchen fans continuously to see how many days it takes to clear up the problem.
Agai, I'm not sure how cold it is where you are but if you wanted to give your moisture removal a head start just open all the doors and windows for a bit while running your fans.
Also, make sure you cover your pots when boiling water and avoid lingering showers.
A good thing to have is a digital humidity guage to be able to see what the actual humidity level is. They are fairly inexpensive and can be found in most larger building centers or dept stores.

Let us know how big your house is, roughly where you live and how many in your home and the rough age of your kids if any and maybe we can be of more help.
 
  #4  
Old 01-02-06, 04:48 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
Note that the humidity problem existed before the new windows and doors, we thought they were the answer to the problem. Our rural home is in southern Ontario, around 0 celsius most days this time of year. There are five of us, all three kids teens and older. I run the bathroom exhaust during and after showers and anytime I am in that room. Our home is built on the highest area of our five acres. I have done all the usually recommended things, removed house plants, use kitchen exhaust when cooking, keep toilets closed. Still the humidity level sits at 70% and the windows are wet. Mildew problem has decreased somewhat but still a tiny bit on ceilings where they meet walls in a couple rooms.
 
  #5  
Old 01-02-06, 07:17 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,722
lou-anne,

Before you address living issues you will need to see if there is a possibility of a water leak or damp basement that could be causing your problem.
If not then it will likely be daily activities that are to blame.
It is likely a lack of air exchange that allows your humidity to build up so high.
You would do well to consider an air exchanger.

http://www.vanee-ventilation.com/eng/produits.html

In Canada homes that are built to today's standards are required to have an air exchanger.
They exchange on the smaller units around 125 cfm of air on a continuous basis.
A bathroom fan exhausts between 50 and 75 cfm.
By turning your fan on only occasionally you are getting nowhere near what modern homes need for air change.
You could try to leave the bathroom fan and the kitchen exhaust fan on continously for several days to see if there is any change.
You may have to crack a couple of windows open slightly to help remove enough air to make a difference.
 
  #6  
Old 01-03-06, 04:38 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 857
If you have moisture in your basement, then a Heat Recover Ventilator will not solve the problem.

Are your basement walls damp?
Is the basement floor damp?
What do you mean by water running down the walls? Which walls?
 
  #7  
Old 01-05-06, 07:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
I think the Heat Recovery Ventilator sounds like the answer as the basement is perfectly dry. I will try cracking the windows a bit and putting on an extra blanket. BRRRR...Does anyone know of a business in the Niagara Region who could quote on installing an HRV? I couldn't find any in Yellow Pages or on-line who advertise this. Is this a specialty item that I am likely to have a difficult time finding?
 
  #8  
Old 01-05-06, 07:57 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,722
You shouldn't have to be cold to get a benefit from having a window open slightly.
What will actually remove the moist air is the exhaust fan(s). Having a window open ever so slightly will allow some air to come in to replace what the exhaust removes.
This will only be as an experiment.
You should run at least one exhaust fan continously with a window only open enough to be able to feel a slight draft.
After a day or so you should see the humidity drop.
After the humidity drops close the window but leave the fan running to see if it will keep the humidity under control.

HRV's are normally installed by ventilation and heating/airconditioning
contractors.
Get several quotes and compare the brands of equipment they offer.
 
  #9  
Old 01-06-06, 08:10 AM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 857
Before spending several thousand dollars, try to determine the source of the humidity. You are not living in a new house, so the wood and concrete are no longer releasing moisture.

Do you cook often?
Do you have a properly functioning stove vent?
Is the shower running frequently?
Do you proper bathroom ventilation fans?
Is the washing machine running frequently?
Do you have many plants in your home?
Is your dryer vent functioning properly?

These are all sources of humidity...check these out first.
 
  #10  
Old 01-26-06, 08:36 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: ny
Posts: 60
I have the same problems.

I have everything from humid
basement to frost in attic. I have sealed the attic well and it seems
to have helped.


but now to deal w the overall humidity. the house is a 1960 ranch w an
unfinished basement/garage in NY. the RH in the house was 60%+. I have
installed a bathroom fan. I have an older kitchen fan. Im not sure if
it works great but we dont cook so much that I think this is the
primary cause. I have tried the test where plastic taped to the
basement floor/walls w no +. However even though the the floor is
painted I do see areas of effloresence(sp?) - does that mean I have
moisture coming through the floor? If so how to stop. Ive read on
lowes.com to use water based poly.


any ideas or other things to look at


no signs of attic leaks


heat is oil/ baseboard

not a lot of plants.


thanks
 
  #11  
Old 01-26-06, 07:49 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,722
lupi2279,

Yours is a fairly common problem with usually a simple answer.
Re-read the suggestions above and I believe you will find your solution there as well.
 
  #12  
Old 01-27-06, 06:25 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: ny
Posts: 60
Do you cook often?

not to much

Do you have a properly functioning stove vent?

dont know how well it vents ill check better when snow melts

Is the shower running frequently?

couple in am. new vent to outside on timer in place

Do you proper bathroom ventilation fans?

yes

Is the washing machine running frequently?

my wife would say yes (its in the basement)


Do you have many plants in your home?

few - small

Is your dryer vent functioning properly?

yes


im thinking this is originating in the basement. although in winter the basement seems quite dry. The effloresence worries me that its vapor coming through the floor???

the house I would not caracterize as tight (maybe for its time it is) it has plaster walls. windows are single pane w aluminum framed storms. and my wife often cracks windows.
 
  #13  
Old 01-27-06, 06:36 AM
doug thomas's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Posts: 104
Since when were HRVs mandatory? I know Mech Ventilation is, but HRVs?

I would look for disconnects in the exhaust systems for major moisture sources. Check all bathroom fan and kitchen fan runs to make sure they haven't fallen apart.

AND look for the same thing on you DRYER EXHAUST.

If any of these runs have become disconnected, they can pump substantial amounts of moisture into the house.

I know you said you are using a furnace, but for people with similar problems with hot water radiator or steam radiator heating, look for leaks in the return.
 
  #14  
Old 01-27-06, 06:58 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: ny
Posts: 60
I know you said you are using a furnace, but for people with similar problems with hot water radiator or steam radiator heating, look for leaks in the return>>>>

baseboard/ boiler i always get confused.

all the pipes run in basement so I would assume any leaks would be obvious
 
  #15  
Old 01-27-06, 03:57 PM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,722
I made an error when I said HRV's were a requirement.
They are not presently required by our building code but more than 90% of homes built in Canada are built to a voluntary R-2000 standard which requires HRV's because of the energy savings in properly ventilating our homes in the harsh climate most of us experience.

R-2000 standard: http://r2000.chba.ca/What_is_R2000/R2000_standard.php
Mechanical ventilation info: http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/pubs/ctus/14_e.html

If you eliminate the possibility of excess moisture coming from something like an overly damp basement or damaged dryer vent you might safely assume that the moisture is accumulating through normal living.

The little test I described above that has you operating all your exhaust fans continuously untill you see an improvement will tell you a lot.
People have the misconception that home exhaust fans should only be operated for only a brief time after the shower or cooking is done.
In actual fact you need to operate the fan untill all the moisture that these activities generate is removed.
In some cases with this and other things like breathing, it could take days.

I know I am repeating myself here but if you eliminate major moisture leaks and do as I suggested you may find a clue as to what is causing your problem.
 
  #16  
Old 02-01-06, 06:45 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: ny
Posts: 60
here is where I am. ran the bath fan continuasly for about 4-5 houres
w a window open on the oposite side of the house. humid went down to
the 40s. coverd large fish tank in the basement . humid returned but now in mid to high
50s as oposed to constant 60s.


anouther question: around the kitchen exaust fan which is ducted through
the roof w a sheet metal duct I have always gotten condensation on the
duct to the point that the paint would bubble from efflor through the
thick plaster ceillings. I recently insulated the duct put some
expandible foam around the upening to the house. then layed plastic
under the insulation. Im now getting condensation not on the duct but
the underside of the plastic. should I remove it? is this from a air
leak?
 
  #17  
Old 02-02-06, 04:23 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,722
lupi2279,

It is not clear exactly where this condensation is forming.
If you have a duct passing through an unheated space I would guess that the condensation is forming on the inside of the duct and running into the house.
If this is the case it is sometimes difficult to deal with ducts that run straight up.
What is needed is to somehow make sure the inside of the duct is kept warm enough to not allow the moisture to condense.
Insulation is the first step. If the duct were insulated to the level that allowed the heat of the inside air passing through to warm it you would not have this problem.
The trouble is when you turn off the fan, cold air will drop into the vertical duct and condense the moisture near the top.
One thing that would help is a tight fitting back draft damper to prevent cold air from entering the duct but this is sometimes difficult to accomplish because of frost accumulating on the damper and blocking it open.
This is why I have never been a fan of ducting exhaust fans straight up to a roof jack in cold climates. There are a lot less problems if you can go out the sidewall or soffit.

You did not full understand my suggestion as to running the fan.
You should run it continuously untill the humidity gets to an acceptable level, no matter how long it takes, not just four hours.
You need to get used to the concept that it is ok to run your fan day and night.
An exhaust fan is a device that is meant to run for whatever time is necessary to accomplish what is asked of it.
Unless you purchase and install a heat recovery ventilator, which has two fans running continuously btw, running your exhaust fan(s) steadily may be necessary.

I know I'm repeating myself but turn the fan(s) on and leave them on untill you achieve a humidity level that is acceptable.
It is common here to use a de-humidistat, installed in a hallway, connected to the bathroom fan to control whole house humidity.

I would also suggest that once you get a handle on your humidity levels your water in the duct problem may improve.

So do you get it?? ............RUN YOUR FAN LONGER!!!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes