I returned from Christmas vacation to my cozy Northfield home only to find a significant ice dam on our roof. I found this article helpful. More info below:
If you’re like me you struggled this week-end with the frost on your windows. It comes down to the fact that the wind chill was 30 below. I even had frost on my front door knob! I couldn’t believe it. There is a certain amount of frost that is considered normal-then it also depends on who you talk to. I am self have an increasingly lower tolerance for the frost especially when I see it’s on the stop (the wood frame) and not the sash (the glass).
The reason that it’s a problem is that when the frost melts to drips down between the sash and the stop and then it re-freezes. As it builds up it continues to push the sash away from the stop and the window no longer has a tight seal. Check out where the locking mechanisms are on your hinged windows. If you have multiple locks then you’re window is sealed tightly if you only have one then you might have some frost.
You probably have noticed that your windows that face south don’t have nearly the amount of frost issues. Some of my windows get hit with the northwest wind and that just adds to the problem. What are you going to do, I can’t control the weather?
My best advice is to wipe the frost as it melts, turn your humidity down, or if you don’t have a humidifier you can run your furnace fan all the time. The furnace fan will keep the air circulating throughout your house and help reduce excess amount of humidity. It won’t cost you a huge pile of money either because it keeps recirculating the warm air. Don’t forget to pull your shades up in the morning-it’s really important to keep the air circulating on the glass.
Essentially it comes down to a decision, if you lower your humidity you will reduce the condensation and the frost on your windows but then all the wood in your home will shrink more. I choose to allow the wood floor to shrink just a little more then I normally would.
Visit Pella’s Maintenance Tips manual and on page 7.4 you’ll find a handy chart for humidity control.