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Window Condensation: Understanding What It Means

Window Condensation: Understanding What It Means

It’s almost that weather where energy efficient windows can impact your heating bill by retaining more temperate air in your home while keeping the elements outside. However, you may start to see condensation gathering on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you find condensation on your window, don’t worry! It isn’t time to start looking for something wrong with your window. As a matter of fact, condensation on the inside of your windows—known as roomside condensation—isn’t a sign of a defective window at all. Just the opposite, it means your windows are doing their job.

So, what is leading to the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what types of condensation should raise alarms about your window’s stability? Here are the facts about window condensation:

Do my new windows or doors lead to condensation?
Some homeowners pair the presence of condensation in the months after installing new windows with unnoticed problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not created by the window or door product. Rather, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your room.

As it turns out, the sight of condensation more often than not is an outcome of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with increased humidity holds water vapor until it comes into contact with a surface temperature less than or equal to the dew point—the temperature at which air becomes saturated and produces dew. Because glass surfaces are often the coldest part of the room, condensation shows up on windows more frequently, in the presence of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the window. As the air inside grows drier, or as the glass surface becomes warmer, condensation begins to lessen.

Numerous factors go into whether you might see condensation on your windows. You might even discover that a window in one part of your room has roomside condensation while a different one doesn’t. Air circulation, changing room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all increase the chances of roomside condensation. Even the glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all determine what levels of humidity can be noticed around a window.

Why do I sometimes see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows might have been drafty or didn’t include the advanced, energy efficient elements of present-day windows. However, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also build a tighter seal against air infiltration in your house. Due to that, your home may retain more humidity making condensation more frequentl than before.

In the warmer seasons, this same phenomenon can be observed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can form as a result of high outdoor humidity, little or no wind, and a clear night sky. It establishes itself in the same way as roomside condensation, when the temperature of the glass drops below the dew point of the outside air. Since the cooler air inside your home isn’t leaving due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a greater chance to see external condensation at times like these.

You can address exterior condensation by opening curtains at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by trimming any shrubbery that might be blocking windows. Programming the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also improve the situation.

For roomside condensation, there are a number of factors that can influence the humidity in your home. Here are some common culprits that can lead to roomside condensation:

Sources of humidity in your home 

The most common way roomside humidity increases is through everyday living. Taking showers and baths, cooking and washing dishes, doing laundry, even the dog’s water bowl can all bring moisture to the air in your home–as much as four gallons or more per day in some homes. Add today’s energy efficient, well-insulated homes and you can start to see why that humidity can often find no path to escape.

As a result of this better insulation, some windows can have a strip of condensation that appears all the way around the roomside of the window. Usually, this is created when the center of the glass stays warmer than the glass closest to the edge. It isn’t an indication that the window is leaking air or not functioning correctly.

Can Roomside Condensation Hurt My Windows?
One place where condensation on windows should become an immediate warning, however, is if condensation is appearing between the two sealed panes of insulating glass in multi-pane windows. In this situation, condensation is a sign of seal failure and the insulating glass must be replaced.

More often than not though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a concern with your windows. It serves as an alert to the possibility of other hidden, potentially expensive problems to be found in your room.

igh indoor humidity can result in structural damage and even affect your health. Because these effects frequently go unseen in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible sign of condensation on glass is a good signal that humidity levels are too high. And while window condensation and musty odors might be seen as bothersome, they can evolve into more serious concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left alone.

In the same way, left unaddressed, condensation issues can lead to window problems over time. Make sure to take continual roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early alarm to high humidity in your house, one that can easily be resolved before it gets more severe. Understanding condensation is just the beginning to keeping your home comfy and maintaining your windows. If you have any questions about condensation and whether your windows and doors are doing their jobs effectively, give Pella Windows and Doors in Haverhill a call or visit the showroom.

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