It’s February.

gournd hog

It’s February, and the ground hog has or has not seen his or her shadow. Either way, springs seems far off. So what better time than now to start thinking about home improvement. One of the trends in home improvement and décor today is bringing the outdoors indoors. That doesn’t mean tracking snow and mud into your family room, but rather the use of live plants to give your home the illusion of a lush, green garden. For the adventurous homeowner, consider a wall covered with grass. Not ready to make that big of commitment, try a small indoor garden of herbs on your kitchen sink window. Tuck a succulent plant on your bathroom vanity counter. Live plants come in a wide variety of home friendly types. There is something for every corner of your home. Try it. Not only do they bring in a feeling of the outdoors, but help out your home’s natural ventilation and humidity control.


Cardea Construction Company has installed new windows for a number of our customers and they are now, with this cold weather, seeing a lot of water or frost on them. This is called condensation and it’s formed when warm moist inside air comes in contact with the cold air from the outside. You think it’s bad, but actually that is what should be happening. The new windows are doing what they are designed to do, to be energy efficient—keeping the warm (and yes, moist) air in the house.

condensationOlder windows are less efficient, and allowed moisture to escape, so you don’t see the condensation on the inside of the window. With your new windows, in winter, you very likely will see some— especially in Michigan, in the morning. When combined with the additional water vapor (moisture) from showers, cooking, or from clothes dryers not vented to the outside, the result is excess moisture and a high relative indoor humidity level.

There are things you can do about excess condensation caused by high humidity.

Some moisture is expected especially during the time when there is a large temperature differential between inside and outside your home. And some moisture is really good for both the house and you—remember the times when no matter what you touched—you got a shock? With a controlled amount of humidity in the house during these winter months, that should be a thing of the past.

But excessive moisture in the house can produce some real problems that you want to avoid. You have the ability to control the humidity inside your home. If your condensation is “extreme,” you should do something to alleviate it. You can:

  • Turn off any humidifying devices in your home for short to reduce the humidity in the house.
  • Use your dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air.
  • For a few minutes each day, open a window or door to let dryer, cold air in while allowing some of your warm, moist air escape.
  • Run exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms to increase air circulation throughout the house; if you do this with a kitchen or bathroom window open, it will be even more effective.
  • Keep the drapes or blinds on your windows at least partially open, allowing air to circulate against windows.
  • Open fireplace dampers to allow an escape route for moisture-laden air.
  • Add waterproofing to basement floors and walls to decrease accumulation of moisture in the house.

When do you know if you have a problem?

If you see condensation in between the layers of glass in an insulated window, the window’s seal has probably been broken and the window will need to be replaced. Contact Cardea Construction Company to replace one or all your windows.

Frozen to the core

deerSometimes it looks like winter is all around you. With these cold temperatures we have been having, it certainly feels like that, too. Here’s a handy tip for these cold nights. No one wants to wake up to frozen pipes. So for those areas that include plumbing in your house, that are near or on an outside wall, leave the cabinet door ajar a small bit, and when it’s truly bone chilling cold outside, it’s not a bad idea to let the faucet drip a little over night. Better to run a little water, than to try and un-freeze frozen solid pipes. This works in either kitchens, or baths, or anywhere your have plumbing.

Why worry about ice dams?

This winter? Winter is still to come– we’re only half through and its snowing right now.

An ice dam can occur where uncontrolled heat and moisture leave your home, get into the attic, melts the snow on the shingles and then refreezes.

You need to check your attic for the following:

proper ventilation at the wall/roof junction– do you have rafter baffles installed?
verify a minimum of 12 inches thick insulation (that do not close off the ventilation the baffles are providing)
gable, ridge and other roof vents are open and functioning

An ice dam is created when ice works its way back up under shingles. The next morning, with the warming morning air, it thaws and because its under the shingles, the water runs back into the attic, through your installation, through plaster or drywall ceilings and into your wall.

To prevent ice dams, be aware
Not just at the gutters or wall/roof junctions, problems could be at any opening to your attic– plumbing closures, chimneys, cannister lights

Ice Dams

If your home has ice in your gutters or hanging from your eaves you have want the remodeling industry calls ice dams. These can melt into your rooms below and damage your ceiling, walls and furniture.
They occur from snow melting into your metal gutters which turn water to ice. The melting snow continues with sun shine and escaping house heat. The water backs up under your roof shingles, each night freezing again.More melting means potential entry from roof into your living space.
One way to solve your issue is removing the snow build up soon after the snow storm is over.
Another way is better ventilation and insulation over those wall/ceiling joints.

Cardea Construction Company has years of experience helping folks like yourself solve and repair ice dam problems. Be sure to visit us at