Condensation & humidity
CONTROLLING THE MOISTURE IN YOUR HOME
If you’ve braved a Manitoba winter, you’ve likely noticed the changes that occur in your home throughout the season. The air becomes drier when your heat is on longer and you’re probably experiencing more static electricity, yet you may see condensation forming on the windows. Why is that and how can you get it under control?
CAUSES OF CONDENSATION & HUMIDITY
Everything around us contains moisture: the carpet, the floors, the walls, even the pile of newspapers on the kitchen table. The air around us contains a certain level of moisture too. When we talk about humidity, we usually mean relative humidity, which refers to the percentage of moisture in the air compared to the maximum moisture the air can hold.
Condensation appears when relatively warm and humid air comes in contact with a cold surface. This is most commonly seen on our windows during the colder months while we’re heating our homes, or in the bathroom after a shower. The temperature of the warm air drops rapidly as it contacts the cold window, releasing the moisture it contained. The same principle applies throughout your home and can occur behind your walls or in your attic. This can lead to the growth of mould or other potentially serious problems.
REDUCE CONDENSATION IN YOUR HOME
While you want to maintain some humidity in your home, you’ll want to reduce the amount of condensation that forms as a result. Here are some ways you can manage the condensation in your home:
USE YOUR HEAT RECOVERY VENTILATOR (IF YOU HAVE ONE)
A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) controls the humidity levels in your home and prevents condensation from forming. Many homes in Manitoba have an HRV, but homeowners often have theirs switched off. An HRV can be used year-round; however, using it during the summer months can actually increase the temperature inside your home. Your HRV is most beneficial during the colder months when the temperature outside is drastically different from the temperature inside our homes. If you’re not sure how to use your HRV, check out this article for more information. We also offer a $150 rebate on select advanced HRV controls to help automate the process of controlling the humidity in your home.
If you don’t have an HRV, your furnace can help. Set your furnace’s fan to run continuously even if the heat isn’t on to keep the air in your home moving. And if you have a smart thermostat, it can run your furnace for some portion of each hour.
UPGRADE YOUR WINDOWS
As we mentioned before, your windows are typically where you can see condensation forming and can also play a big part in the levels of relative humidity in your home. If you live in an older home, your windows may be leaky, inefficient, and not doing much when it comes to insulation.
Triple pane windows offer more of an insulating barrier, so they’ll do a better job of regulating the temperature inside the home. By upgrading your windows to triple pane, your home will be better sealed and insulated, as well as more energy efficient! If you’re considering an upgrade, check out our Windows and Doors Rebate.
If you’re not ready to upgrade your windows just yet, consider purchasing a window insulating kit. The plastic film will act like another pane of glass and can help reduce cold air coming into your home.
UPGRADE YOUR INSULATION
Air leakage carries air inside your walls and ceiling which can contribute to condensation. With proper insulation, you can decrease the presence of cold surfaces within your home. Air sealing saves energy and can help prevent condensation from forming where you can’t see it.
Your home may not have enough insulation. If it was built before 1999, you may be eligible for a rebate of up to 100% of your insulation material costs! Learn more about our Home Insulation Rebate and see if you and your project qualify. Our income-based Energy Efficiency Assistance Program also offers free insulation upgrades to qualifying households.
HANDY TIPS TO COMBAT CONDENSATION
Here are a few more tips to keep the condensation in your home at bay:
- Use your exhaust fans:
Make sure to turn on your exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms to reduce moisture when cooking or showering.
- Run a dehumidifier:
A dehumidifier is a great option if you’re struggling with excessive moisture in your home.
- Turn on the ceiling fan:
Your ceiling fans help to keep air circulating throughout your home and push the warm air that rises back down.
Condensation is more prevalent during our winter cold snaps. With these tips and tools you can keep it under control and make your home more comfortable.