Different answers form different contractors including Home Depot!! Moisture/insulation problem

Please someone help!!!! My main problem is in my kitchen along the entire ceiling where it meets the wall there is moisture when it is very cold out only. It gets to where there are droplets on the ceiling. I also saw this in 2 other rooms , but very little spots. My second problem is my windows have A LOT!! of water condensation on them to the point where it leaves water on the sills and mold forms.I assume the 2 problems are related. I have a humidity gauge that usually reads in the lower 50's. The lowest I've seen it get is 48. And no I don't do anything out of the normal to be causing it . Yes, I have a bathroom vent, no kitchen vent and two big dogs. But, I am barely home and barely cook.
I had a few people come out and take a look. Home Depot looked up in my crawl space and said I didn't need insulation (Have about 16-18") and that it was a ventilation problem. I have plenty of soffit vents.They did all these calculations and said that I had too much ridge vent and I should try closing two of the 3 off. So, I plugged some tarps into the 2 to see what would happen. You guessed it, nothing!. Another guy said he doesn't like the baffles. They are garbage and he would install pink (panther?) baffles and reblow the insulation to R38. He also said that where the moisture problem is along the ceiling the previous person must have pulled the insulation back to install the baffles and never hand rolled the inulation in which he would do. He also said he would guarantee his work on paper. This made sense for the kitchen ceiling problem, right?. A couple other guys just wanted to add more insulation.
I wanted to check the problem out for myself to see if there was no insulation where the problems spots are. But, my house is a ranch and the roof is very low in the crawl space so how the hell do you get that close to the wall where the roof meets to check? Also, I don't want to compress the insulation thats already up there cause it was done last year.
The windows are new gas filled. But, I held a kleenex along them on a very windy day and there are drafts. Could this be causing the moisture (bad windows)?.
I will be more than happy to take any suggestions or answer any questions to help me out. Thanks a lot.
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Almost all localities (or at least counties) have a "weatherization" program funded by the government. Usually they are through an anti- poverty agency. In New York they are typically called "Community Action" agencies and in Pennsylvania they are called "Economic Opportunity" agencies. Call them and have them to an "energy audit". They will check it out, put a fan on the door and check for air infiltration, etc. etc.
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Had 2 of these "energy audits" done. They pretty much wanted to sell me insulation and new windows for thousands of $.
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Almost all localities (or at least counties) have a "weatherization" program funded by the government. Usually they are through an anti- poverty agency. In New York they are typically called "Community Action" agencies and in Pennsylvania they are called "Economic Opportunity" agencies. Call them and have them to an "energy audit". They will check it out, put a fan on the door and check for air infiltration, etc. etc.
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The corner where the roof rafters meet the ceiling joists can be very hard to insulate, and it is plausible that someone screwed it up. I find that more plausible than too many ridge vents. Too much venting is a new one on me. Diagnosing what is wrong is not easy. You either go up in the attic and somehow get over there and have a look see, or you find someone with a infrared camera to tell you if insulation is missing. Personally, the guy who said he was going to add new rafter chutes sounded the best to me.
The fact that you have condensation on your windows suggests that you have a lot of moisture around. Do you have a damp basement or crawlspace? It could be cheap windows too. What brand/type are they?
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The area was colder when they checked with a infrared gun. One of the guys said there is probably insulation missing there or it was moved away when the baffles were put in. My windows are a couple years old. I ws told they are decent windows (the low e argon gas filled or whatever you call them, I can't figure the humidity thing out. My basement is the same humidity as the upstairs last time I checked. It is not damp. I have a bathroom fan. I don't cook a lot. ?????
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This one's easy. When they replaced your windows, they didn't use spray foam in the gaps between the window and the rough frame. (those gaps where shims are inserted) Removing the trim around the window and spraying the foam in those gaps will take care of that condensation. Of course put the trim back.
Chances are that the bottom of your attic insulation is soaked and you'll need to remove and replace it. Dry wall ceiling probably is too. I've never heard of too much ridge ventilation. The whole point of soffit and ridge ventilation is to suck air from the soffit up to the ridge vent to keep air moving so moisture won't build up. I would recommend a reliable insulation contractor to look into the attic crawl space.
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be careful with spray foam ,it can swell and cause your widows to"bind up" a better choice is foam backer rod and fiber glass insulation they do make a minimal swell foam ,which can also work out well,if used sparingly many of my customers,here in Maine have used great stuff and now cannot open there window due to the expansion of that foam
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This one's easy. When they replaced your windows, they didn't use spray foam in the gaps between the window and the rough frame. (those gaps where shims are inserted) Removing the trim around the window and spraying the foam in those gaps will take care of that condensation. Of course put the trim back.
Chances are that the bottom of your attic insulation is soaked and you'll need to remove and replace it. Dry wall ceiling probably is too. I've never heard of too much ridge ventilation. The whole point of soffit and ridge ventilation is to suck air from the soffit up to the ridge vent to keep air moving so moisture won't build up. I would recommend a reliable insulation contractor to look into the attic crawl space.
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What about the DAP (blue and black can)? It says on it that it won't overexpand.
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I will do!!! Thanks a lot.
wrote:

This one's easy. When they replaced your windows, they didn't use spray foam in the gaps between the window and the rough frame. (those gaps where shims are inserted) Removing the trim around the window and spraying the foam in those gaps will take care of that condensation. Of course put the trim back.
Chances are that the bottom of your attic insulation is soaked and you'll need to remove and replace it. Dry wall ceiling probably is too. I've never heard of too much ridge ventilation. The whole point of soffit and ridge ventilation is to suck air from the soffit up to the ridge vent to keep air moving so moisture won't build up. I would recommend a reliable insulation contractor to look into the attic crawl space.
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On Tue, 29 Jan 2008 21:09:15 -0500, "chrisc"

How about a pole and a mirror?
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Is there a humidifier on your furnace, if so turn it off, you should not be at 50% humidity till near 60f. Lower your humidity first.
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No humidifier on the furnace.
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Is there a humidifier on your furnace, if so turn it off, you should not be at 50% humidity till near 60f. Lower your humidity first.
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chrisc wrote:

First principles: The ceiling is cold enough for ambient humidity to condense. These, then, are the two things required: Cold & moisture. If you fix one of the twowell enough, condensation will disappear.
The easiest fix is to run a dehumidifier full blast. This may not be the best fix, but it's the easiest.
My bet is on insufficient attic insulation. Is there a ceiling light fixture that can be removed to gain inspection access? Can you buy one of those itty-bitty pc-cams and duct-tape it to a pole? Can you tape a thermometer to the ceiling or get an infared thermometer?
Once you've determined that the insulation is, in fact, subnominal, you can then decide what to do next: 1. Get the original contractor back and have him fix it, 2. Find somebody, somewhere, who can get the insulation in place, 3. Remove the ceiling and insulate from below.
Then, too, there may be other actions at play: Are you boiling a lot of lizards?
The vapor from the cooking pot has to go somewhere. The humidity may be 50% in a closet, but 90% in the kitchen.
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It sounds like the insulation is missing in the attic (not crawl space), in the area where the kitchen ceiling meets the outside wall. That makes the ceiling cold in that spot and condensation occurs.
For the windows, I agree with the post suggesting that the window install is suspect and it's likely they didn't insulate properly around the sides.
It's definitely nothing to do with too much ridge venting.
I'd also verify your humidity reading with another instrument. The typical home ones I've seen have all been inaccurate. Have you verified that the bath fans are all vented properly to the outside? That you don't have a furnace humidifier turned on? Or a wet crawl space under the house, etc?
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I have an electronic gauge and I also used the cheaper ones (white with the red mercury is it?) they both read the same. What the heck is a wet crawl space?
wrote:

It sounds like the insulation is missing in the attic (not crawl space), in the area where the kitchen ceiling meets the outside wall. That makes the ceiling cold in that spot and condensation occurs.
For the windows, I agree with the post suggesting that the window install is suspect and it's likely they didn't insulate properly around the sides.
It's definitely nothing to do with too much ridge venting.
I'd also verify your humidity reading with another instrument. The typical home ones I've seen have all been inaccurate. Have you verified that the bath fans are all vented properly to the outside? That you don't have a furnace humidifier turned on? Or a wet crawl space under the house, etc?
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Even if I cooked 3-4 times a week , it shouldn't KEEP the humidity at that percentage!? should it?

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