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Condensation - Let's Clear that up!


Condensation may be less of an issue in older homes if conditions allow for more air exchange between indoors and out, often from around aging, loose or poorly installed windows and doors. However, the trade off is higher energy bills.

Newer homes, on the other hand, are more airtight and energy-efficient. Many have vapor barriers – plastic within the wall cavity that blocks moisture passage in either direction. With tighter-fitting doors and windows, vapor barriers and increased insulation, energy costs are lower, but humidity levels must be monitored more closely.

No matter when your home was built, the key is to strike the right balance when it comes to humidity levels. Air that’s too dry can cause furniture to dry out and crack, joints and studs to shrink and twist, and paint and plaster to crack. Excessive moisture in the home can cause paint to peel and insulation to deteriorate, and condensation on windows and doors can damage sills and trim.

Tips to Reduce Condensation: 

  • Install energy-efficient windows, such as those with the ENERGY STAR designation.
  • Closely monitor the furnace humidifier and any other humidifying devices.
  • Be sure louvers and vents for the attic, basement and/or crawl space are open, adequately sized and cross-ventilated.
  • Run exhaust fans for kitchen, bathroom and laundry rooms for longer periods.
  • Make sure exhaust fans vent directly outside, not into attics or crawl spaces.
  • Be sure chimneys are free and clear so moisture in combustion gases can escape.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for venting gas appliances. In most cases, that will mean directing vents to the outside of the home.
  • Make sure your furnace is in proper working order and is serviced regularly.
  • Store firewood outside or in the garage – as wood dries, it gives off moisture.
  • Open a door or window for several minutes each day to refresh the inside air.
  • Open window coverings – such as blinds, shades, drapes and curtains – during daylight hours to increase airflow over the glass.