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Window Condensation: Understanding What It Means

Window Condensation: Understanding What It Means

It’s almost that season where energy efficient windows can affect your heating bill by holding more temperate air in your room while keeping the elements outside. However, you may start to notice condensation settling on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you see condensation on your window, don’t stress! 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. Rather, it means your windows are being efficient.

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

Do my new windows or doors lead to condensation?
Some homeowners connect the sight of condensation in the months after installing new windows with unnoticed problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not caused by the window or door product. Instead, it comes due to high humidity levels in your home.

As a matter of fact, the presence of condensation more often than not is a result of the increased energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with more humidity keeps 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. Because glass surfaces are often the coldest part of the room, condensation shows up on windows initially, in the form of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the window. As the air inside becomes drier, or as the glass surface becomes warmer, condensation begins to disappear.

More than a few 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 one on the other side doesn’t. Air circulation, changing room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all influence the chances of roomside condensation. Even the glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all have an impact on what levels of humidity are 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 technology of today’s windows. Additionally, other home repairs, such as adding a new roof or siding, might also establish a tighter seal against air infiltration in your home. Because of that, your home may keep more humidity making condensation more frequentl 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 establishes itself 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 leaking due to increased energy efficiency, it’s more likely to see external condensation at times like these.

You can deal with exterior condensation by opening shades at night to warm up exterior glass and increase air circulation by removing any shrubbery that might be obstructing windows. Adjusting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also make a difference.

For roomside condensation, there are a group of factors that can impact the humidity in your home. 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 activity. Running 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–as much as 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 have a strip of condensation that forms all the way around the roomside of the window. Most often, this occurs when the center of the glass stays warmer than the glass closest to the edge. It isn’t a sign that the window is leaking air or not functioning correctly.

Can Roomside Condensation Hurt My Windows?
One area where condensation on windows should become an immediate concern, however, is if condensation is noticed 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 should 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 unseen, potentially pricey problems in other areas in your house.

igh indoor humidity can result in structural damage and even upset your health. Because these effects frequently go without notice 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 grow into more severe 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 room, one that can easily be resolved before it gets worse. Understanding condensation is just the beginning to keeping your home comfortable and maintaining your windows. If you have any questions about condensation and whether your windows and doors are resisting condensation effectively, give Pella Windows and Doors in Davenport a call or visit the showroom.

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