can cold damage a house?

aside from the obvious of water pipes freezing, can cold damage a house? I don't know what might occur, wallpaper peeling or plaster cracking or whatever.
If damage can occur, at what temperature would it occur? If I keep am unused bedroom closed up for the winter with the radiator turned off, can anything bad result?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I imagine it depends on the position of the bedroom etc. I did that once many years ago, and ended up with mildew type spots all over one wall.
Cheri
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Water-moisture cause damage, I dont heat a place in winter, in Europe alot of places are unheated for hundreds of years, no damage. A radiator yes depending on how its plumbed, no circulation can freeze pipes, a bedroom unlikely will get cold enough. but how cold does it get where you are.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Water-moisture cause damage, I dont heat a place in winter, in Europe alot of places are unheated for hundreds of years, no damage. A radiator yes depending on how its plumbed, no circulation can freeze pipes, a bedroom unlikely will get cold enough. but how cold does it get where you are.
In areas of Europe that have winter, unheated houses or rooms commonly have dampness and mold issues. You will find that by heating part of your house will cause humidity and dampness to migrate to the cold room and condense on the cold walls and floors. Here in Canada we had a problem in the local school board turning the heat off in portable classrooms to save electricity overnight and on the weekend. The result of this economy is that the portables are riddled with mold. When you allow 30 children in a room that still has cold walls it causes water to condense on these cold surfaces and soak into the walls creating toxic mold. Many portable classrooms were condemned. Real false economy -- save electricity and destroy a building.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Go to Blockbusters and rent "Dr. Zhivago"-- that will give you an idea of what real nasty cold can do to a house...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

freezing causes plaster to spall. a unheated room probably wouldnt be a problem if its part of a larger building, that leaks heat to the unheated space
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Freezing doesnt cause it, water freezing does. I have zero damage on a 110 yr old cottage kept unheated every year in zone 5, -15f. Think summer lake homes, there are lots of them here, so lets all talk from personal experiance, not second hand stuff where you have no idea of what condition the roof and systems are that you neighbor had. Any leak will make a big mess in winter everywhere in the home.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ransley wrote:

uniform temp/humid. In an occupied home, moisture from cooking, showering, etc., would likely condense on surfaces in the unheated room If wallpapered, it might cause peeling, staining, mildew. If enough condensation, might also harm woodwork, doors, paint, trim.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Water vapor will travel towards the colder parts of the house and away from warmer parts, although probably not an issue in drier climates. If there is little risk of pipes freezing, I'd seal it off the extra bedroom and air it out weather permitting.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RJ_32 wrote:

1800s sea captain's house. Over the years he and others had painted walls and ceilings with latex paints.
In the spring most of the latex ceiling paint had "rained" down. Looked like he*&. The original milk paint was still there and in good shape though. We always kept our vacation home at 55F and have had no prob;ems.
Boden
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It is not low temperature that damages houses, it is damp (moisture.) Damp varies with humidity, i.e. at low temperatures water vapor changes from a gas into a liquid (droplets or ice.)

1. Probably not. 2. But you can open the door and look (and sniff too) every two weeks.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don Phillipson wrote:

interesting replies, my thanks to everybody. And that's exactly what I'll do: periodically check.
It seems that the cooler the rest of the house is kept, then the drier the unheated room might be.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you humidify the rest of the house using a central humidifier or a room humidifier, then as that level of moisture goes through the walls into the unheated room, and then maybe condenses on the even colder outside wall, you may have problems. If there was a moisture barrier betwen the heated and unheated part of the house, this would be much less likely to be a problem. Otherwise, I would keep the unheated room at least at 50F, my experience in the Chicago area at least says that that seems to not be a problem.
Bob Hofmann
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Best is check the room, old houses that leak air and are unhumidified are alot different from new tight construction.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In the normal way cold cannot damage a house.
And yes we do have winter in Europe, everywhere, Four months winter and eight months bad weather.
The classic way to deal with winter is, to install a humidity controlled electric fire. When/if the water vapour in the air moves from a warm room to a cold room, the level of humidity rises in the cold room and the electric fire comes on to raise the temperture to the level required to hold that amount of moisture in the air, rather than letting it condense into or onto the coldest point in the room.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"RJ_32" wrote

Depends on the dampness of your climate which isnt mentioned. That said, 'been there, done that'.
We were in a medium-dry but cold area (hit -5 but seldom lower and usually above freezing by a notch in daytime). We kept a window propped open just a little bit (2 inches or so). Although it wasnt a 'good vapor barrier' I think it helped that we put up pretty quilts tucked all about the doors inside the house (tucked under the door to prevent drafts). Those would be so cold, it was hard to tell if they were also damp. They may have been though as they collected alot of our 'construction dust' so Mom was always taking them down and washing them (replacing with others).
We did this 1 winter with 2 bedrooms out of the 5 until in spring we could take down the old tounge-n-groove walls and insulate behind them (old house, virtually no insulation at all, oddly previous person had taken the walls down and modernized all the electric but not bothered to insulate but 1 BR, living room, and kitchen).
I do recall Mom had some sort of buckets filled with stuff that pulled damp out of the air in those rooms (kinda like those silicate packets), but do not recall if she changed them or how often. They were a precaution and may not have actually done anything since the windows were somewhat open?
We did not have any mold or mildew problems.
I think reading the thread through, best is a combination of the replies. Check room often, if possible (no rain or sleet coming in) prop the window a bit, spend a little for a dehumidifier if after a week or so it looks like you need it, and insulate the door a bit with something temporary thats easy to take down and tuck back up after checking the room.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
clipped

room totally open to weather, you then have adjoining rooms exposed to cold with no insulation in the interior walls........
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Norminn" wrote

Not much different in that old house. Only 1 BR, the kitchen, and the living room had insulation (grin). It was built in about 1870 if memory serves and the walls were stuffed apparently at one time with newspaper which had degraded? It was a fine filter about 1ft up the wall and the rest was empty space.
Want a laugh? One with no knowledge 'how' something is properly done comes up with all sorts of solutions. The first time Mom knocked out both sets of tounge-n-groove stuff on an inner wall and all that fell out, well I was normal and used a dust pan. Then she rolled some insulation at me and told me how to figure out how to hang it.
I started at the bottom but pretty fast figured out that wouldnt work as it fell over. Then I grabbed a wire hanger and unraveled it and stuck it through it at the top and managed to get it ti hold up with some part holes from a nail just started then pulled out.
;-) It was kinda like a stick through cotton candy.
I have no clue how professionals do that one. I just know I was careful that the hangerwire was never near electrical wire and was well anchored for long term stability.
I've gather since that my explaination is funny, but the technic is valid even if they use some pre-made stuff vice unbending a wire hanger. I'd run about like Luke Skywalker (only this predates the Star wars movies by quite a bit) and stab the offending 'pink stuff' in the side then hook it in to the holes. Worked for me! At least it help til we could get all that pesky drywall up.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In my house there is a "sun room" with lots of windows on the second floor. There is no radiator in there. In winter I keep the door to it closed and that doesn't seem to cause any problems. I am pretty sure it never gets below freezing in there despite very cold weather (Chicago area). -- H
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.