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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 impact your heating bill by holding more temperate air in your house while keeping the elements outside. However, you may start to find condensation appearing on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you see condensation on your window, don’t panic! It isn’t time to start looking for something wrong with your window. In fact, condensation on the inside of your windows—known as roomside condensation—isn’t a sign of a defective window at all. Rather, it means your windows are working well.

So, what is creating the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what kind of condensation should make you concerned about your window’s stability? Here are the facts about window condensation:

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

As a matter of fact, the sight of condensation more often than not is an indication of the improved energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with high humidity retains 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 usually the coldest part of the room, condensation appears on windows first, in the form of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the house’s window. As the air inside becomes drier, or as the glass surface warms, condensation begins to disappear.

Numerous factors go into whether you might see condensation on your windows. You might even find 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 likelihood of roomside condensation. Other influnences such as glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all play a role in what levels of humidity appear around a window.

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

In the summer months, this same phenomenon can be observed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can gather 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 room isn’t escaping due to increased energy efficiency, it’s more likely to see external condensation at these times.

You can deal with exterior condensation by opening shades at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by trimming any bushes that might be interfering with windows. Setting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also make a difference.

For roomside condensation, there are a group of factors that can determine the humidity in your room. Here are a couple of 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. Heat and moisture from 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–up to four gallons or more per day in some homes. Include today’s energy efficient, well-insulated homes and you can start to get an idea why that humidity can often find no means of escape.

Due to this better insulation, some windows can build a strip of condensation that shows up all the way around the roomside of the window. Most often, 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 seen between the two sealed panes of insulating glass in multi-pane windows. In this instance, condensation is a mark 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 indicator to the possibility of other unnoticed, potentially expensive problems elsewhere in your house.

igh indoor humidity can eventually cause structural damage and even impact 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 clue that humidity levels are too high. And while window condensation and musty odors might be seen as nuisances, they can grow into more immediate concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left unresolved.

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 home, one that can easily be solved before it gets serious. 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 resisting condensation as they should, give Pella Windows and Doors in Springfield a call or come into the showroom.

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