Why is there water inside our storm windows?
Winter has arrived and we have noticed several things with our new house. We had new wooden storm windows built for the east facing side of our dining room. This is a dead end L shape room. In total we have 5, 4' * 5' wooden sash windows in this space, all now with wooden storms. Each storm has the three traditional holes at the bottom which we keep "stuffed" during the winter months. We have no condensation build-up except on the east side. (This isthe dead end room.) Directly below this window is our oil tank in the basement and our oil burning furnace. It was recently inspected and the furnace and given a clean bill of health. Why do we get so much water on the inside of these storm windows? I find it interesting too that the east windows all were missing their storms and had been replaced with aluminum, which leaked badly. Much of the wood on these frames was rotten, so it appears as if this has been a long time problem. ( The house was built in 1850.) We do not want the new storms to rot out. I have left the three vent holes unstuffed and the "door slightly opened". We have seen no improvement. Also we have taken off our eavestrough at the front of the house. The attic is well insulated, and we have placed lots of air vents in the soffits. Why do we get long icicles building up?
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The prevailing wind in your area comes from the West. In very simple terms, air infiltrates your home through the west wall, and exfiltrates through the east wall. As you raise the temperature of outdoor air, the relative humidity decreases. The opposite is true as you cool air. In your 1850s house, the primary windows are likely more leaky (air leakage) than the new wooden storms. As warm moist air from inside the house leaks into the cavity between the two panes of glass, it cools and condenses on the outer pane. The solution, therefore is to make the outer window slightly more leaky than the inner window. This can be done by allowing more air through the vent holes, or it can be done by improving the weather tightness of the primary window including the window frame. Therefore, caulking, weatherstripping and the installation of a temporary interior storm window should do the trick. Secondly, condensation is caused by high humidity levels inside the house. Humidity should be reduced to the levels provided in the attached articles. With respect to ice damming, you have in effect the same problem. Warm air is leaking into the attic faster than it can be swept away. Increasing adding ventilation is required but it is the same solution as opening the vent holes on the storm windows. In addition, increasing attic insulation, and reducing warm air infiltration into the attic are essential.
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