Maintenance and Repairs

February 23, 2023 Published by Grand River Chapter - By Jordan Swail

Do You Have a Leak?

Have your windows or walls recently been leaking? Make sure to check for condensation before considering a larger repair.

Have your windows or walls recently been leaking? Make sure to check for condensation before considering a larger repair.

Around this time of year, many condominium owners ask: What is causing this water damage in my unit? Condensation is a common issue that is often incorrectly diagnosed as leakage from the exterior. Luckily, condensation can often be addressed by occupant habits – at little or no cost.

Here are some tips that you can take to better understand and address condensation related issues:

  • Consider the location. Condensation occurs in areas with low temperature and high humidity. Wall corners, window sills, and areas around balcony slabs are all common areas for condensation to form. Is the water originating at one of these locations?
  • Consider the weather. If the water appeared in late fall or winter it may point to condensation. Alternately, exterior wall leaks typically occur during the spring or at times of melting snow or wind driven rain. Track dates and weather at the time when the water appears.
  • Mind your fans. Do you regularly use your fans when cooking, showering, and cleaning laundry? Using an exhaust fan can lower interior relative humidity and the risk of condensation. If you suspect condensation is occurring, try running your exhaust fans for 24 hours and see if the issue is reduced or eliminated.
  • Crack open your curtains and move furniture away from exterior walls. Allowing air movement behind them can reduce cold spots where condensation can form.
  • Know when to call a professional to help you handle leaks in your condominium.
  • Lower your humidifier settings. Most windows can only tolerate about 20% relative humidity when we reach cold January/February temperatures. Consider lowering relative humidity to 30% when temperatures drop below 0C and 20% when temperatures drop below -10C.
  • Know when to call in professionals. Do not let water damage persist in your unit – notify your property manager as soon as possible. Wipe up the water with a clean dry towel to protect your finishes from moisture damage.

Protect your investment and your belongings and consider these steps to diagnose condensation. If you are unsure of the cause of water speak to your contractor or engineer – They can perform further testing to diagnose and address your water issues.

Jordan Swail, P.Eng, BSS
RJC Engineers


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