Please Help! Ice inside of my condo!

Discussion in 'Windows and Doors' started by fozzy40, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Jan 17, 2009 #1

    fozzy40

    fozzy40

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    Hello,

    I just recently bought a condo in downtown Chicago. The south side of our unit has a great view of the city i.e. a big sliding glass door that is surrounded by more window. Since the temperature has dropped, I've been noticing a fair amount of condensation forming on the inside of our unit. I expected some of that because of the hugh temperature gradient. However, there is literally ice forming on the inside framing of the sliding glass door. I've have to put towels at the base of the windows and sliding glass door because the condensation has been dripping and ruining my hardwood floor adjacent to the window.

    I spoke with my building supervisor who said that there is probably a leak and that I have to caulk the outside of the window frame. However, since it's so cold that the caulk will not adhere. That being said, they said that I have to basically deal with the towel solution until it gets warm enough to do something about it.

    Is this true? Is there something that I can do?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Jan 17, 2009 #2

    inspectorD

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    There is not much to do except what you are doing right now.
    Its so darn cold out here, -10 here right now. You can hang a quilted blanket across the window, it will slow down the amount of direct hot to cold condensation. When you have great differences in tempurature, no amount of caulking will fix it. It's the hot day with a cold drink in your hand. Condensation wins.
     
  3. Jan 18, 2009 #3

    fozzy40

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    Thank you for the reply. Any other suggestions regarding my floor?
     
  4. Jan 18, 2009 #4

    inspectorD

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    The only thing that may help is to stick a small fan in front of the window, or a small electric space heater. If you hang a quilt on the window, it may just slow down the condensation and not be as wet.
    Good luck.
     
  5. Jan 20, 2009 #5

    Quattro

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    D is right. Either get warm air circulating on the cold surface, or isolate the moisture from the surface. That's why adding a plastic barrier in the winter (window film) helps a lot. The surface is still cold, but the moisture from the house doesn't make it through the plastic...so you get little or no condensation. But, then you have plastic over your door, should you want to use it.

    I have this great plan to build little solar-powered fans that mount to the top center of my casement windows. The idea is that the batteries are charging during sunlight hours, but the fan is off (the sun naturally warms the window surface and keeps condensation from forming). During the night, the fans come on and blow the warmer air downward across the window surface.

    I haven't really done much work on this, but I did a proof-of-concept using a small computer fan and a 12V AC-DC converter (wall wart). It works. Now if I could just get the sun to power the system, I'd make a bunch of them and integrate them into the window casing somehow.

    OR, just put the damn plastic up! :)
     
  6. Jan 24, 2009 #6

    fozzy40

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    Just to give a visual, here is a link with some pics of the problem.
     
  7. Jan 24, 2009 #7

    travelover

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    Fred, could you build a large wooden frame with plexiglass windows to cover this window and door throughout the winter? If you built it in in sections it would be easier to remove and install.

    You could try covering this area with that inexpensive plastic sheeting type of inside storm window material to see if it works before you make something more substantial.

    Something like this:

    Building An "Interior Storm Window" To Reduce Draftiness

    I also found this place that makes them : http://www.stormwindows.com/
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  8. Jan 24, 2009 #8

    inspectorD

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    That is condensation. It may look like something has a leak somewhere, however it may not be the case at all.
    With metal or aluminum Windows, they are notorious for creating these issues..The windows are large, the top sections have more heat around them because they are up higher,therefor they create a larger temperature differential. That is why it looks like a leak running down the door. You need to get that temperature differential down, either you need to lower the thermostat, UGH or you need to create a barrier. A fan will also help to carry away some of that moisture. Ever notice your car defroster never condensates on the inside of the window when the blower is on it and the window warms up? You also may have alot of moisture in that building, that is another issue which needs looking into.
    Where is the condo community on this? Your not the only one with this problem. Contact a home inspector with a background in this area if you need professional help. :)
     
  9. Jan 24, 2009 #9

    fozzy40

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    According to the building management, my unit seems to be the only one that is having this problem currently. I spoke with a tenant that has been here for 5 years and they have never had such a problem. Since posting, I've contacted my insurance company who have reaffirmed that there is significant water damage to my hardwood floors.

    Are there conducting strips that can defrost my windows like in a car?
     
  10. Jan 24, 2009 #10

    travelover

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    Do you have a source of humidity in your condo, like large aquariums? It might be useful to measure your humidity level. If it above 40 to 50%, you could run a dehumidifier, though generally winter time humidity is low.

    I agree with the other posters that your problem is humidity condensing on the window. You either need to heat the cold surface (fan or electric heater), reduce humidity (find source and correct or run dehumidifier), or separate the cold window and the humidity (my suggestion above for inside storm window).
     
  11. Jan 24, 2009 #11

    inspectorD

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    If it is only you...you need someone there to give you advice on what is happening. You have a source of high humidity, if it is a shared condo system with a shared HVAC system, why does nobody else have this issue? Try BPI: Consumers - Find an Accredited Contractor for a good unbiased on site evaluation. They deal with this issue all the time. If there is nobody available try American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI for a local inspector. Try to find one who deals with these issues. Please tell us what they come up with, it may help others.:)
     
  12. Feb 5, 2009 #12

    condodweller

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    hi fozzy40

    did you figure out what the problem is? i am having the SAME exact problem as you in my condo. my building mgmnt told me i was the only one with the problem, and it has happened 2 winters in a row - never before then. my hardwood floors are starting to get ruined, and i don't know what to do. i had an a/c - heating person check it out and he wasn't sure what the problem was. i also had my dryer vent cleaned out because one person said it could be backed up - trapping hot air in the walls. that didn't solve the problem. my neighbors don't have a problem. i keep my unit fan running 24 hours a day - this is the only time that the problem goes away. but, then it gets too cold in the unit.

    did you come to a solution?
     
  13. Feb 10, 2009 #13

    fozzy40

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    Condodweller,

    Ive actually finally received a response from my Board of Directors. Unfortunately, they're trying to get into a pissing contest with me about who's responsibility is it. From what they tell me, I am the only one with this problem. Do I believe them, not really. I have suggested to the BOD that we hire a 3rd party contractor and the cost of the consultation be based on their structural findings: internal (me) vs. external (them.)

    I have not dealt with BOD and Condo associations before. Is what I am asking reasonable?

    FYI...my solution is still towels:)
     
  14. Feb 10, 2009 #14

    inspectorD

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    Do what you can, then also contact your lawyer for the fine print if it gets to that. This is what is hard about an association.
    Good luck.
     
  15. Feb 10, 2009 #15

    fozzy40

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    The building management company has hired an "independent" contractor. They have hired BRW Contracting (Chicago, IL.) I've gone on those websites that you have suggested but can't seem to find them. Any other ways I can research this company?

    Thanks for your help.

    Fozzy40
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  16. Feb 10, 2009 #16

    inspectorD

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    Ask the Condo folks for a link. They need to disclose who they are sending and why. What are their credentials with the state. Check your Dept of consumer protection. Call the company and ask, they may be in the book.
    Keep an open mind, It's good to see your doing your homework.
    Good luck, this will take time so document all you can.
     
  17. Dec 10, 2009 #17

    zoltar1111

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    Fred,
    I happened upon this thread on my first google search for "ice condensation in patio door".
    The reason I am posting here is that I happen to have the exact same problem. Not only do i have this same ice/condensation problem...I LIVE IN THE SAME BUILDING! I didn't realize it until I saw your pictures that you posted.

    I tried to send you a private message through the forum, but it seems that you have blocked private messages.

    I am in contact with our board, but, so far since our board management has changed over the past year, they do not know anything about your situation...so they are kinda giving me the same runaround they gave you (saying that i am the only one with this problem).
    Please contact me...private message will be best...or just post in this thread.
    Thanks
    Scott
     
  18. Dec 10, 2009 #18

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Fozzy:

    The LEAST you should be doing is collecting that condensation on your windows with a towel. It could be that you have more condensation on your windows than your neighbors BECAUSE your windows are in the shaded side of the building, and don't get heated during the day by the Sun.

    Putting a circulating fan on the floor will help a lot by warming the surfaces of the window. However, my own experience in my apartment block is that warm air rises within the building, and that warm air carries humidity with it from the floors below. The best thing to solve the problem is to buy a DEHUMIDIFIER, and to set it to keep a steady 50 percent relative humidity in your condo. That will keep your windows dry. You've got more condensation on your windows than would be suggested by normal living alone. I expect the warm air from the condos below yours is rising up into your condo. A fan will help by warming the window, but you really need to lower the humidity in your condo.

    My own experience is that the worst windows for condensation in my building are all on the top floor, and the worst of the worst are all on the north east side of the building where they hardly get any direct sunlight on them at all. I own a small 21 unit apartment block, and the top floor suites all come with a dehumidifier to prevent condensation on the windows in winter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  19. Jan 15, 2011 #19

    northernwhine

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    We have ALot of ice on the windows and just now noticed ice on the inside of the walls. Any suggestions at all would be appreciated.[​IMG]
     
  20. Feb 6, 2011 #20

    joecaption

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    Do a simple check. Full a glass with ice water, set it on the table. If water forms on the outside of it the rooms to moist. Just run a dehumidifyer and no water can form on the window.
     

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