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Ice on basement windows

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Feb 11, 2014, 08:27 PM
Ice on basement windows
I have a newer house that has basement windows poured into the foundation. When the temperature drops to 5 degrees or colder, I get serious ice build up on the metal window frame. I live in South Dakota, so we have a lot of days with these cold temps. I realize that humidity is the main culprit, but the humidity in the basement is less that 25%. I have two dehumidifiers going at all times and I really can't get the humidity any lower.

As you can see from the pictures, the ice is only on the metal frame, not the window itself. Are there any options to fix this other than reducing the humidity further?


Feb 11, 2014, 09:45 PM
I agree, not much more you can do about the humidity.

It's a basic problem in that even thermopane windows only have an R-value of about R-3 or 4. Add in a metal frame, probable lack of insulation between the frame and the block and mix with single-digit temperatures and you are going to get frozen condensation.

Other than add another layer of exterior storm window or actually cover the window with foam insulation, there's not much you can do short of adding some heat directed at the window frame.

Feb 12, 2014, 08:51 AM
I want to make sure I understand the options you are presenting. Are you saying that I could add some sort of exterior window to cover the existing window and exposed metal frame?

As for a heat source, I don't rally want a heater blowing on it all winter. But what about those heat wires like people put on their roofs to prevent ice dams? Is that an option? I'm just trying to get creative here. Thanks for your help.
Feb 12, 2014, 02:31 PM
Your aluminum window frame likely does not have a thermal break between the inside and outside so the cold travels in quite easily as metal is an excellent conductor of heat and cold.

If you added an external storm window it would help a lot. Having a thermal break between the existing window frame and the storm window would help even more.

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