Skylight Help

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comodern
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Skylight Help

Postby comodern » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:49 pm

We have a 1959 mid century modern home in the suburbs of Denver, CO that we have been in for just over a year. Our house has a fantastic skylight the runs the entire length of the house. In the past week we have been having major condensation issues within our skylight. So, bad that it will start leaking onto the floor by the early afternoon. The main area that we are having problems is the portion that is in our kitchen and sits right next to the furnace and hot water heater room. There is a considerable amount of heat that this little room generates. The previous owners had fans sitting in the skylight, I am assuming to help with this issue, but it doesn't seem to be doing much now. Our skylights were installed by the previous owner in 2003, so I would like to think that they aren't the problem. We installed new bathroom fans this past weekend(something that needed to be done anway) to try and help combat some of the moisture in the house. We didn't have any of these problems last year and I am not really sure why. It is much colder this winter, and last year we had about a foot of snow on the roof through March.
Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas? Anyone else have any similar experience with this?

Pics of the skylight http://www.flickr.com/photos/broomfield ... 576067341/

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classic form
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Postby classic form » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:28 pm

You may want to have someone come out and check your furnace flue. Alot of moisture is produced during combustion and if your flue is not in good condition it can leak into the home. Are you seeing moisture damage anywhere? Pealing paint/wallpaper etc...?

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comodern
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Postby comodern » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:39 pm

We did recently have the furnace serviced, but I will have the flue checked to make sure that isn't the problem.
We don't having moisture anywhere else. I kind of freaked out when the skylight started dripping last week and we went through the rest of the house to make sure it wasn't the roof. Colorado is such an incredibly dry state, moisture is usually one of our last concerns here.

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Postby scandimod » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:09 pm

All other factors being equal (eg the amount of moisture being generated in the house has remained constant), the condensation is probably a result of the “much colder winterâ€￾ you say you are having. The colder inside surface of the skylight has a lower dew point, so water vapour condenses more readily than it would when outside temperatures are higher (same principle applies to windows). This would be a particular problem in the kitchen area where a lot of warm, moist air is generated from cooking, running the tap and dishwasher, etc.

What material is the skylight made of; is it double glazed? The existence of fans is a clue that the previous owners experienced the same issues. So unfortunately it would seem that the skylight IS the problem unless your household activities are creating a lot more water vapour than they did last winter.

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Postby scandimod » Wed Jan 23, 2008 6:59 pm

You know, after looking at your photos I bet that skylight is a very cold structure in winter. It looks like the unfinished wood curb that has been built up from the roofline may not be insulated. Plus the suspended grid panels will severely restrict air exchange in that enclosed space. All can combine to create condensation problems in high moisture areas in cold weather.

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Postby jesgord » Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:05 am

Hard to tell from the picture....and I'm no expert....but if the skylights are aluminum, the aluminum frame of your skylight will be colder than the air in your house causing condensation on the frame and glass.

One way to solve this would be the installation of some sort of "thermal break" like storm windows.....A less expensive option might be that plastic sheeting that shrinks with a hair dryer....but I'm not sure that could be used in your situation

Another thing you might try, is a dehumidifier.....but I'm not sure how effective this will be.

Likely the problem will subside as temperatures go up...but this is not much help when its cold outside.

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comodern
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Postby comodern » Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:33 pm


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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:03 pm

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Postby deagna » Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:36 am

I'm in KC, a little warmer than where you are, but it's been in the single digits lately and our windows collect a considerable amount of condensation which then runs onto the sill. This only happens where we have single-pane glass. I imagine this could definitely happen with skylights. I wonder if they had thicker/insulated glass if that would help.

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Postby moderns-r-us » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:12 am

comodern:

You don't by any chance have underslab ductwork do you?
"Better Living Through Modernism"

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comodern
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Postby comodern » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:58 am

The skylight company is on their way out to our house now to take a look. I have fans going, trying to get as much ventilation and I came home at noon and there it is dripping again. Beyond frustrating.

Our duct work is all underslab. What are your thoughts there?

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Postby jesgord » Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:48 am


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comodern
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Postby comodern » Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:36 am


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Postby rockland » Sat Jan 26, 2008 5:29 pm

i've been a bit baffled by your troubles.
i have the reverse. too much condensation and moisture in the summer.( and a more common trouble.)
easily solved with a de-humidifier.
i did extensive research after a very humid summer. and decided to just try a box-ugly style.
this one.
http://www.amazon.com/DeLonghi-DE500P-5 ... 581&sr=8-4
odd that the reviews are not favorable. but it works amazingly well.
and easy to move around to test the real trouble areas. (the manual is rocket science so that may be the
issue with some bad reviews)
that volume of skylight is producing the greenhouse effect? makes sense. but greenhouses have all sorts of gadgets
to regulate humidity.
if you have a spot to tuck a de-humidifier, back near the utilities room?, for less than 300, i think you can solve it.
(mine collects 2-3 gallons a day!, but only for about 6 weeks)
i do hate buying extra gadget crap, but it easily solved my moisture trouble.
the advice i was given was to run the air-conditioner but i don't really like the air quality and the expense. and the whole house system they tried to sell me was
6'000 dollars!(to replace the unit that quit 20 yrs ago)the duct work exists but the replacement technology is expensive.
i would order one online with a 60-90 day return policy. and i would get the tube option.(pump system) we can set ours up to empty into the washing machine.
it's worth the test. just make sure they will easily take returns if it doesn't solve it. (i got mine at costco, 10min away.)
i think you need a whole house system, but geesh, the expense. and yours installed in 2003, a mistake was made to not deal with the humidity.

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Postby kandersen » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:20 am

We sometimes will have condensation on our windows when our furnace fan is off. If your furnace is set to "auto", try switching the fan to run when the furnace is not heating. It just helps circulate the air.

I understand the frustration, but I wouldn't worry too much about it.

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Postby kandersen » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:44 am

One other thing--does your range hood vent to the outside?


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