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How do I stop the dripping from my cold room ceiling?

We have lived in our house for the past twelve years. The house is thirty-five years old. In the past two years, the 6' X 8' cold room, which is under the back step,has developed a problem. In the summer, condensation develops on the ceiling and eventually water drips from the ceiling. In the winter, frost forms on the ceiling and when the weather warms up, water drips from the ceiling. The cold room has two sides that are connected to inside walls, the two other walls are exposed to the north side of the house. The frost first begins to form in the corner that is furthest from the two walls that have inside space. The heating system in the house is electric hot water with a wood heating system to assist in the winter.I need to know what I have to do to stop the water and frost on the ceiling.

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Manage My Life
As you can see from the links below, condensation in cold storage rooms is a common complaint and is related to high humidity levels and cool concrete surfaces. Since the problem has developed in the last two years, you should think back to any house or household changes that took place around that time, even if they don't seem to be related. The house operates as a system, so a change in one area can cause an effect in another, apparently unrelated area. The most likely change is one that increased the humidity of the home, since there are few changes that would change the temperature of the concrete. Some possiblecauses to consider might be:

Was an old fuel-fired boiler replaced with the current electric boiler two years ago? Fuel-fired boilers use a chimney, which creates a significant amount of ventilation in the home. Abandoning this will reduce ventilation rates and slow the exhaust of humidity.

Did you start storing wood inside the home then? Drying wood can generate a lot of moisture.

Are there more people, pets, or plants in the home? All of these contribute to the moisture load. Even if the number of people doesn't change, children who grow into often-showering teenagers can cause humidity levels to rise.

Were there changes to exterior landscaping or to downspout drainage? If water is not draining well away from the home, it can saturate the soil and wick into the basement, increasing the humidity.

Were the windows updated? Newer windows are much less leaky and drafty. This means that there isn't as much natural ventilation available to remove excess moisture from the air.

There are any number of other possibilities, but try to think of things that changed around that time and see of they can be addressed. Often, the solution is to add more mechanical ventilation to the home, or to more regularly use the ventilation that already exists.
by Manage My Life
April 26th, 2007
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