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Thread: Please help!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    7

    Please help!!

    Hello HVAC pro's!!

    I'm a fairly new condo owner with a serious condensation issue. This is the third year that I'm living in this condo, and have experienced the issue from the first winter to present. I probably should have made a much bigger fuss from day one but never did...my fault #1. When I finally did bring it up to the condo board the first winter, they said that it was being experienced by a few other condo's and they came and made a bigger space at the bottom of my front door because the fresh air circulation happens from the hallways. This did seem to help at first and shut me up until the end of winter #1 as I continued to wipe the windows when condensation did occur. Winter #2 came around and the problem was still there. I brought it up again and they asked about my living arrangements. I explained that I had myself, a room mate, and both our girlfriends often here meaning sometimes up to 4 showers, double the cooking etc etc. I basically agreed with them that it was my lifestyle causing too much moisture etc...my fault again. They came in the spring after winter #2 and fixed all the wooden window seals because they were damaged from the massive amounts of water from the condensation. I realized then that this still isn't a fix to the problem but knew that I wouldn't be living with a roommate much longer and that maybe they were right and it was simply the amounts of showers, cooking etc.

    It's now winter #3, it's just me and my girlfriend that live in the condo. We don't create anymore moisture than the average couple...and the condensation problem is worse than ever with the cold temperatures we've started getting in the last few weeks. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

    I didn't buy a brand new condo to have to run a noisy dehumidifier (which I actually did bring over here from my parents who own a 50 yr old home and have to use it in the summer in their basement).

    What can I do here?? Is this a problem on my end, I've been doing what I read that I should do in a condo...using the fans during showers, things like that...but the condensation is still insane!

    Please help me here!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Mount Airy, MD
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    7,278

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    Over Here
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    1,105
    Quote Originally Posted by ryanl View Post
    I'm a fairly new condo owner with a serious condensation issue. This is the third year that I'm living in this condo, and have experienced the issue from the first winter to present.

    It's now winter #3, it's just me and my girlfriend that live in the condo. We don't create anymore moisture than the average couple...and the condensation problem is worse than ever with the cold temperatures we've started getting in the last few weeks. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

    I didn't buy a brand new condo to have to run a noisy dehumidifier (which I actually did bring over here from my parents who own a 50 yr old home and have to use it in the summer in their basement).
    What is your region? Check to make sure your exhaust fans are truly exhaust fans, and venting outside. Some in condos do not exhaust, but merely filter the air through a 'filter pad' and re-circulate it back into your unit, accomplishing nothing. Bath fans and kitchen exhaust are easy culprits of this.

    If they do indeed exhaust outside, you can do a manual dehumidification, but you have to pay attention to the outside dewpoint conditions. If the ambient conditions are below 50 deg dew point, you can turn on the bathroom exhaust fan to draw out humid air. This will be replaced by the 'dry' outside air. It will bring in cooler air, but that is less objectional than swimming in a sea of humidity as you are ATM. A good plan would be to operate the exhaust in the bathroom all night while you are sleeping. Some regions in the south have higher dew points during the day in the winter (>55 deg DP), resulting in no dehumidification while you are gone, working. Night exhausting is good.

    What is the square footage of your condo? You mentioned about a noisey dehumidifier. Some are not so noisey, work very well, and are the very answer to your problem. If you are planning to stay there a while, then I would seriously consider a whole house ventilating dehumidifier. It is a different configuration than a standard roll-around kind you find at Lowe's or Sears. These kinds hook up to your HVAC duct, are controlled by a wall mounted digital dehumidistat, and are sized to fit your home's moisture load. The drain is connected to the A/C drain line so there is no bucket to empty. They also incorporate a fresh air duct from outside to ventilate your space, bringing in fresh outside air, and pushing out stale air.

    Check out these machines, and see what you think.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by thermojohn View Post
    What is your region? Check to make sure your exhaust fans are truly exhaust fans, and venting outside. Some in condos do not exhaust, but merely filter the air through a 'filter pad' and re-circulate it back into your unit, accomplishing nothing. Bath fans and kitchen exhaust are easy culprits of this.

    If they do indeed exhaust outside, you can do a manual dehumidification, but you have to pay attention to the outside dewpoint conditions. If the ambient conditions are below 50 deg dew point, you can turn on the bathroom exhaust fan to draw out humid air. This will be replaced by the 'dry' outside air. It will bring in cooler air, but that is less objectional than swimming in a sea of humidity as you are ATM. A good plan would be to operate the exhaust in the bathroom all night while you are sleeping. Some regions in the south have higher dew points during the day in the winter (>55 deg DP), resulting in no dehumidification while you are gone, working. Night exhausting is good.

    What is the square footage of your condo? You mentioned about a noisey dehumidifier. Some are not so noisey, work very well, and are the very answer to your problem. If you are planning to stay there a while, then I would seriously consider a whole house ventilating dehumidifier. It is a different configuration than a standard roll-around kind you find at Lowe's or Sears. These kinds hook up to your HVAC duct, are controlled by a wall mounted digital dehumidistat, and are sized to fit your home's moisture load. The drain is connected to the A/C drain line so there is no bucket to empty. They also incorporate a fresh air duct from outside to ventilate your space, bringing in fresh outside air, and pushing out stale air.

    Check out these machines, and see what you think.
    Hello ThermoJohn,

    Yes all of my fans vent outside, thankfully. Problem with all these fans, is that they are all really loud. Maybe I could consider changing the fans in the bathrooms as well to higher quality 'quieter' units???

    My condo is 925 sq feet and I live in Ottawa, Canada, where it is currently -20 degrees Celsius.

    I'm going to check out the link you left me as well but I"m not sure (before checking links) if I'm able to install this type of unit into my condo where it is all forced central heating/AC.

    Just as an example of how bad this is, last night I wiped all the windows dry, I ran the dehumidifier in the main living room with the second bedroom door open (left mine shut because the dehumidifier is much too loud) and this morning there was still water on all of the window seals in the living room and second bedroom. Probably less water than would have been there had I not run the dehumidifier, but still some none the less.

    Thanks again for your reply, looking forward to some form of fix to this issue, I don't see how I'm going to live here for ever if this isn't dealt with!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
    Posts
    14,046
    where do you live? (region, we don't need your address )

    what is currently heating and cooling your Condo now?

    Does your current system have a humidifier?

    is your condo on a slab or do you have a basement or are you in a high rise?
    "Arguing with liberals...it's like playing chess with a pigeon; no matter how good I am at chess, the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap on the board and strut around like it's victorious." -- Anonymous

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    1,388
    thermojohn beat me to the punch. I agree with his line of thinking.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    7
    I live in Canada. I'm in a high rise apartment. I still haven't had the chance to investigate the appliance that ThermoJohn linked to, but regardless of all of this, given that the apartment building is only 3 years old, is this not an issue that the builder should be taking care of whether it's an issue with the humidification, an issue iwth the windows, an issue with the insulation of hte windows?? The first year that we had this issue, the builder brought in 'their' engineers who deemed the problem on my end and quoted a Tarion warranty page that states that condensation doesn't fall under any type of new home warranty because it relates to the persons lifestyle.

    Thanks again for all this advice and replies!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    7
    On top of that, if it does mean that having a dehumidification unit bought and installed and/or running all the fans running all the time during the winter....I didn't buy a 350K condo to have to do this and worry about it if we happen to forget about it...do you know what I mean??

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eastern Shore, MD
    Posts
    798
    my guess is there is no make up air to the building, even common areas. that would cause this issue.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
    Posts
    14,046
    Quote Originally Posted by ryanl View Post
    On top of that, if it does mean that having a dehumidification unit bought and installed and/or running all the fans running all the time during the winter....I didn't buy a 350K condo to have to do this and worry about it if we happen to forget about it...do you know what I mean??
    holy crap, $350K for 1000ft² condo? I'd be a little Po'd to.

    what kind of windows did the builder install?

    what is heating and cooling your condo now? is there any type of humidifier???
    "Arguing with liberals...it's like playing chess with a pigeon; no matter how good I am at chess, the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap on the board and strut around like it's victorious." -- Anonymous

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    66,817
    Tony Vaughn, this is the Ask Our Pro's forum, and only Pro members that have been vetted by the AOPC may post advise here. Please apply to the AOPC today, thank you.

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,068
    You are living inside an air tight space. Your are drowning in your own moisture and pollutants. Two occupants in 1,000 sqft. space should have 50 cfm of fresh dry air purging indoor pollutants, including moisture. The fresh air renew oxygen also. You need the fresh air all year.
    How are you getting you much needed fresh air?? You are not! get a small fam that will inject 50 cfm of fresh air into the space and watch the windows dry off.
    This is a sad story that is often repeated. If the space was getting enough fresh air it would be dry in the winter and damp in the summer. You need a good dehumidifier during the damp months of the year. A small house whole house ventilating dehumidifier would provide fresh air year around. Plus provide dehumidification during the times of the year that the outside air is damp and the a/c is not running enough.
    Personally, I do not think that this will be accepted by our neighbors to the north. They will may accept an hrv during the winter and avoid fresh air during the summer months.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    7
    Quote Originally Posted by teddy bear View Post
    You are living inside an air tight space. Your are drowning in your own moisture and pollutants. Two occupants in 1,000 sqft. space should have 50 cfm of fresh dry air purging indoor pollutants, including moisture. The fresh air renew oxygen also. You need the fresh air all year.
    How are you getting you much needed fresh air?? You are not! get a small fam that will inject 50 cfm of fresh air into the space and watch the windows dry off.
    This is a sad story that is often repeated. If the space was getting enough fresh air it would be dry in the winter and damp in the summer. You need a good dehumidifier during the damp months of the year. A small house whole house ventilating dehumidifier would provide fresh air year around. Plus provide dehumidification during the times of the year that the outside air is damp and the a/c is not running enough.
    Personally, I do not think that this will be accepted by our neighbors to the north. They will may accept an hrv during the winter and avoid fresh air during the summer months.
    Regards TB
    Thank you very much for your reply Teddy Bear. You sound a lot like the engineer that the builder had sent over. I'm not saying that in a bad way either, if this does fall into my own fault and it's me that needs to make the necessary changes or add a dehumidifier or whatever, then so be it. I just didn't buy a brand new condo to have to deal with this kind of thing. I thought moving into a condo would be problem free, especially a brand new one. I would have thought that the design of the building would have addressed these kinds of things from the start. Since it's not the whole building that are suffering from this problem, then maybe it's just my bad luck that the end of the building that I'm in isn't getting as much fresh air as the rest.

    My main point in starting this thread was to figure out what the problem was, but also what to do about it. Whether I should be going after the builder for a deficiency or not. From what Teddy Bear states, and he sounds like he knows what he's talking about, as well as some of the other comments above...it sounds like I should just suck it up, get the necessary appliance (dehumidifier) and run it during the moist months like now.

    Am I right here?? Thanks again all!

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