Asked on Nov 19, 2015

Water droplets on ceiling

Idyllic Pursuit
by Idyllic Pursuit
We've noticed in several rooms there are water droplets on the ceiling (single story house). I know that there's blown insulation in the attic, but no insulation in the walls (?!?!?!). Do you think this could be an insulation issue or a roof issue? Or do you think it's condensation from running the stove (droplets are in opposite ends of the house, but our windows are often fogged up in the dining room and kitchen from the moisture).
  25 answers
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Nov 19, 2015
    I would start looking in the attic first for any signs of moisture.Then if there is nothing there go room to room to try to distinguish where it is coming from. My guess is the attic or roof.
  • Barbara Valenti Barbara Valenti on Nov 19, 2015
    It is basically moisture build up, like sweating! I grew up in a house that did the same thing. Other than some ventilation I don't know what to say. It would be almost like a water droplet. Then if the walls were dirty the droplets would turn brown. It also happens in my bathroom right now. I guess I need to turn on that exhaust fan to help remove the moisture from the shower while being used. I lived in an older home when young and now I live in a brand new garden home. So I hope this can help you solve your problem. Seems to happen everywhere.
  • Peggy Szymski Peggy Szymski on Nov 19, 2015
    This may sound far-fetched, but my in-laws had problems with moisture build-up in their home, due to furnace ventilation. It became a problem after they up-dated their furnace to the type that vented outside through the wall rather than through the chimney. Their house was built in the 1950's and also had poor insulation in the walls. Their windows also had a constant build-up of fog and moisture.
  • Gregoire Bleuzen Gregoire Bleuzen on Nov 19, 2015
    If using a humidifier turn it down, or turn it off for a day. See if this helps. I had the same problem, and turned the control to a lower setting.
  • Lesley Lesley on Nov 20, 2015
    I am almost sure this is condensation. If you have a cold spot on the ceiling due to a lack of insulation above in the roof space, that is where the water will condense. You need to first, check and repair the insulation in the roof space and then ensure you have some level of ventilation inside your home. A lack of ventilation and lots of moisture in the air, from cooking and just breathing, will cause problems like mould, peeling wallpaper and may even make you ill. Hope you can fix this!
  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Nov 20, 2015
    Hi. It's definitely a moisture issue inside the house. I doubt it's a roof problem. Water is coming from somewhere. First check kitchen for any constant, small leak. It might be behind the cabinets. Like an ice maker supply line. When the temp from inside vs. outside are drastic enough, you will get that fogging up type thing. It's just going to be a trial and error through this process of elimination. The quickest way to find the actual source is to call a professional. It could be a window, a/c line in attic, it could be the evaporator on frig, a tub, it could be so many things. If there is no actual water mark, it's just a keep hunting. But I would start in kitchen/dining rooms. It's not normal and it will/is causing a mold issue eventually. Good luck. Hope
  • Debs Debs on Nov 20, 2015
    I would most definitely get a DE-Humidifier, they take the excess moisture out of the air...
  • B B on Nov 20, 2015
    Check that you have proper roof and soffit venting
  • AKP AKP on Nov 20, 2015
    We live in an all brick ranch home. The roof has vents in the soffits, however they are not very big/adequate. We too have blown insulation in the attic and no insulation in the walls, merely concrete blocks, studs, plaster. I use the term "attic" very loosely. It isn't used as an attic, simply where the insulation is located! Entry into said "attic" is in garage. We too had the same exact problem, to the point the condensation would streak down the walls. What we found was the attic was SO hot, and then when we ran the air conditioner, condensation would build and the walls would run with streaks of this rusty colored liquid. Gross. We placed two turban vents in the roof and that was all it took. So my personal advice, from someone who has had this same problem, would be to make sure your attic space is very well vented - install some turbans!
    • See 1 previous
    • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Nov 21, 2015
      Check for ventilation, a/c, home insulation consultant. You can call Lowes or Home Depot, speak to someone in the insulation Dept. and they can put you in the right direction.
  • Carolyn Leighton Carolyn Leighton on Nov 20, 2015
    Had the same problem. Was a leak in the hot water line under the concrete floor. Called a leak detector, they located the leak and fixed it.
  • Sue Sanders Sue Sanders on Nov 20, 2015
    Sounds like a ventilation problem. Attic cross ventilation is a must. The siding I had put on all five gables has the ventilation holes in the material that covers the once metal ventilation areas. Also some ventilation on the underside of the 2 ft overhang of the roof. You could call a roofing company and maybe they could tell you how to correct your problem. My attic is very large and could one day be a second story as already has windows installed. The turban vents, as mentioned above, could be your solution.
  • Kathy Bitzan Kathy Bitzan on Nov 20, 2015
    I have to agree with AKP. always be on the safe side with water spots.
  • Barbara S Barbara S on Nov 20, 2015
    What is your cooking situation? Gas or Electric Stove? Do you have any venting above the stove?
    • Idyllic Pursuit Idyllic Pursuit on Nov 23, 2015
      @Barbara S I have a gas stove that has a vent above. However, I am not so certain the vent part is connected very well because the cupboard above where the vent is gets very warm.
  • Judy Judy on Nov 20, 2015
    To me it sounds like you are cooking a lot (making soup, boiling water, etc.) we had issues with too much condensation and got a dehumidifier and its seems to do the trick
  • Pat whitmus Pat whitmus on Nov 20, 2015
    get a humidity measuring device. Ours shows temp and humidity and hangs on the wall. It also has a barometer at the bottom so we can see what the weather is doing. The above ideas are all valid ones and not to be overlooked.
  • JOHNNY JOHNNY on Nov 20, 2015
    Ventilation problem, this is condensation. To prevent surface mold, spay w/ a 10% solution Bleach & water, and using a sponge mop or rag wipe. Open a window, use kitchen exhaust fan & bath room fan 10-20 minutes after use, alternative open the attic access panel
  • Sylviabruscato Sylviabruscato on Nov 20, 2015
    A little bleach in a spray bottle should do it, making sure to protect below it.
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Nov 20, 2015
    It's condensation.It may help if you try to improve the circulation in the room with a small fan or open a window if possible.
  • AKP AKP on Nov 20, 2015
    Well, it can't be too difficult. I mean, my husband is really handy, he is an electrician, he knows how to do stuff. But it essentially is cutting a hole in your roof to the size of the turban. We have a 900 sq foot attic, and installed 2 turbans. I guess if you could find a handyman/someone who works in construction? It should be someone you trust because you ARE cutting a hole in your roof - which probably voids all warranties? I don't know - you would want to look into it. But this helped so much to rid our house of condensation. I would think it could be done in the winter, but I am fairly certain IA is a little colder than St. Louis in the winter. However if the problem is a hot attic with AC, you shouldn't have any problems in the winter with the water.
  • JOHNNY JOHNNY on Nov 21, 2015
    Another alternative is buy a dehumidifier
  • KKAbsherwrites KKAbsherwrites on Nov 21, 2015
    Bleach won't effectively kill mold. There is a spray on product at Home Depot - Concrobium Mold Control. Inexpensive and very effective at killing mold and spores.
  • 4footfam 4footfam on Nov 22, 2015
    I had the same issue after a total house renovation. The issue turned out to be caused from warm air leakage around the ceiling light electrical boxes. Once those were sealed, there was no further issue.
  • Carrie Krumrie Carrie Krumrie on Nov 22, 2015
    I am thinking it is condensation. well....good luck!!!
  • Barbara S Barbara S on Nov 23, 2015
    Idyllic, sounds like that could be your issue, at least to me..Is it an old vent, and does it move much air? .I had that same situation going on--House built in the 40's, one of those old white porcelaine and chrome O'Keefe and Merritt stoves, and the vent was basically useless.
  • MahtaMouse MahtaMouse on Nov 29, 2015
    You might want to go up into your attic and check your attic vents (the ones under the eves, not on the roof if you have any) to see if they're blocked by the insulation. My house was built in '72 without any insulation, plywood or weather wrap; just cheapo T-111 on the exterior and sheet rock on the interior walls (burrr!). The ceiling barely had any insulation at all and certainly wasn't up to code. Eventually we had more insulation blown into the attic and not too many winters later I began to notice large dark water stains on all the ceilings running from the edge of the walls inward; along with black mold running down one of the bedroom walls. It turns out that when we had the insulation blown in they covered all the attic vent holes under the eves. Without ventilation, every winter condensation would run down the rafters and into the plywood, eventually soaking through to the ceiling sheet rock, as well as running down inside the bedroom wall. A new contractor installed waxed cardboard "chimneys" over every vent opening inside the attic so as to prevent them from ever becoming blocked again before adding more insulation to bring it up to current code. It's been 3 years now and so far we've had no more condensation inside the attic (we check regularly) and no more moisture issues on the ceilings or inside the bedroom walls. BTW, I live in the Pacific NW where the winters are cold and damp... good luck!!