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Window Condensation: Understanding What It Means

Window Condensation: Understanding What It Means

It’s almost that time of year where energy efficient windows can affect your heating expenses by holding more temperate air in your room while resisting the elements outside. However, you may start to see condensation appearing on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you see condensation on your window, don’t worry! It isn’t time to start diagnosing your window. The fact is, 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 working well.

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

Do my new windows or doors create condensation?
Some homeowners pair the signs of condensation in the months after installing new windows with potential problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not created by the window or door product. Actually, it comes because of high humidity levels in your room.

As a matter of fact, the sight of condensation more often than not is a result of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with more humidity holds water vapor until it touches a surface temperature less than or equal to the dew point—the temperature at which air becomes saturated and produces dew. Due to the fact that glass surfaces are most likely the coldest part of the house, condensation can be seen on windows initially, in the form of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the window. As the air inside gets drier, or as the glass surface heats up, condensation begins to lessen.

Many factors go into whether you might find 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, varying room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all influence the chances of roomside condensation. Other influnences such as glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all determine what levels of humidity are around a window.

Why do I at times see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows could have been drafty or didn’t have the advanced, energy efficient elements of today’s windows. Additionally, other home repairs, such as adding a new roof or siding, might also build a tighter seal against air infiltration in your house. As a result, your home may hold more humidity making condensation more likely to be seen than before.

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

You can address exterior condensation by opening curtains at night to warm up exterior glass and increase air circulation by cutting back any shrubbery that might be interfering with windows. Programming the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also help.

For roomside condensation, there are a group of factors that can impact the humidity in your room. Here are some common culprits that can create roomside condensation:

Sources of humidity in your home 

The most commonly seen way roomside humidity increases is through everyday activity. Taking showers and baths, cooking and washing dishes, doing laundry, even the dog’s water bowl can all increase moisture to the air in your home–topping out at four gallons or more per day in some homes. Add today’s energy efficient, well-insulated homes and you can start to understand why that humidity can often find no means of escape.

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

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

More likely though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a problem with your windows. It serves as a sign to the possibility of other unseen, potentially costly problems elsewhere in your room.

igh indoor humidity can eventually cause structural damage and even upset your health. Because these effects frequently go unnoticed in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible presence 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 annoyances, they can grow into more immediate concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left unchecked.

In the same way, left unaddressed, condensation issues can mean 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 solved before it gets serious. Understanding condensation is just the beginning to keeping your home cozy 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 Murray a call or stop by the showroom.

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