wet wall help


Old 12-16-06, 11:25 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: NY
Posts: 242
wet wall help

Hello Folks, I've searched this forum and just want to make sure I know what I'm dealing with. Thanks for your help!!!

I have a 2 story rental property. The 2nd story has 1 corner bedroom with 2 exterior facing literally wet walls. The bedroom has baseboard hot water heat and has 2 exterior facing walls, one north, one east. The worst wall is the one facing north and has the longest run of the baseboard heat. The exterior of the house has brick walls. This is a winter problem only. This is a very old house. The rest of the apartment is fine.

Please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm thinking that there probably is little or no insulation in the walls and when the heat from the baseboard meets the cold wall this is the water comes from.

Fixes: Will a de-humidifier help???? I have a tenant living in the apartment and I don't want to be to intrusive. Thanks for your help!!!!
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Old 12-22-06, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 1,873
Too much Humidity

A dehumidifier may extract the humidity inside the house, it does not address the source of the problem. Inadequate air exchange in some instances could be the cause but considering the age of the house it is unlikely. However, plastic over windows could result in poor air exchange.

Other sources of moisture are; inadequate attic ventilation, hidden roof leaks (icicles hanging from gutters), pipe leaks (hot & cold water; drain and vent stacks; heating), boiling used a lot in cooking, steamy showering, pets (especially dogs). In most cases it is usually a combination of factors that cause the inside humidity problem. None of which a dehumidifier resolves.

You should also check your attic space. If moisture noted on the second floor, more than likely you will find some in your attic. The telltale signs (from the most obvious to the least) Icicles hanging from the nails that penetrate into your from your roofing. Frost noted on those same nails. Black stains noted around those same nails. Rust noted on those same nails. Water drop stains noted on the floor of the attic. Roof decking color not uniform from inside attic and changes to black near edges of roof.

The possibilities for the source of the problem are numerous. I need more information to eliminate some of the possible causes. You have to go into your attic and tell me what you see. When looking for active roof leaks pay particular attention to roof penetrations. Flashing around chimneys and vent stacks are usually the first to fail on roofing. Is there a bathroom exhaust fan and where does it terminate? Same with kitchen exhaust fan. Number of occupants and pets if any.
Old 12-23-06, 04:46 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: NY
Posts: 242
Hey, Thanks for the reply, I'll try and give you as much info as possible. In the interim to figuring it out the dehumidifier is keeping it dry.

No pets or animals in the house.
Only one person in the room with the problem(best I can tell) but, always seems to be a lot of people at the house.
Roof was redone about 2 years ago .(flat pitched roof, no gutters by this room and roof tar seems solid without blistering or cracks)
No real attic and no access. About 1 1/2 foot gap between room roof and room ceiling, not really sure, but, my guess is that it's not insulated.
No bathroom exhaust,it seems they use a bucket to rinse off and don't use much water to shower. (this came to light when the bathroom floor was starting to rot from water and I was trying to tell them to make sure the shower curtain was closed correctly)Kitchen window always open without an exhaust fan.No piping of any kind in this area. Although bathroom is next to this room on one interior wall and kitchen is on the other interior wall. Spanish immigrant tenants and I think most cooking done with oil(frying)not boiling.
Doesn't seem to be any leaking. The sheetrock seems solid, like the water is forming on the interior wall, more so than coming through the wall.

You could be onto something with the air circulation. They keep the place like an oven. It was 80 degrees in the house when I was there and the air seemed heavy or thick. The closet was the worst and even had mold. They had taped(no plastic) the windows in places where I assume they had air leaks.

Again, thanks very much for your help and sorry for the long post. From your answer, I guess, my theory is all wet(pun intended) with the baseboard heat and the uninsulated wall. Why only the one room??? Eric

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