Window Condensation 101: Everything You Need to Know
Window condensation is a bad look. It fogs your windows and prevents you from having a clear vision outside which is counterproductive to what windows offer to a home.
Additionally, window condensation subconsciously leaves a bad impression. It makes you feel like cold air is penetrating the home and reducing comfortable levels, which is actually correct in theory.
Window condensation isn’t advantageous to your home and could represent a sign of a bigger problem. In this article, we will examine everything you need to know, as well as how to address the issue.
Causes of Window Condensation
Condensation is a natural phenomenon that’s caused when an excessive amount of humidity is inside your home. When the temperature outside drops, the temperature on the window glass also lowers. The ‘fogging’ effect is produced when moist air from the inside mixes with the cold air from the glass pane.
When you see the glass on a window fogging or sweating as outside temperatures fluctuate, it’s easy to point the blame at the window. However, window condensation is actually a little more complicated than you may believe.
Often times, you need to narrow down the source of the problem to a specific part of the window. For example, the seal around a window can cause condensation and is possible to repair without needing an entirely new window.
While there are cases where the seal breaks and the argon gas between single pane or double pane windows escapes. Argon gas helps prevent condensation and when it’s no longer effective then it’s time to repair it.
In fact, it’s normal to experience mild condensation after old, drafty windows have been replaced with brand new ones. Why? The humid air can no longer escape and its mingling with colder, drier air outside is bound to create some condensation.
Fixing Window Condensation
Even though some form of window condensation is normal, even with brand new windows, there are ways to reduce it as much as possible. The bottom line is you need to lower the amount of moisture in the air inside your home, while also preventing the air from coming into contact with cold glass from the outside.
There are a few basic solutions to attempt in order to reduce window condensation:
- Open Curtains and Blinds
- Open Windows Daily
- Install Ventilation Fans
- Lower the Thermostat
- Lower the Humidifier
- Invest in a Dehumidifier
Airing Out Your Home
We realize it’s the middle of the winter and the thought of “airing out your home” may not sound ideal yet it’s one of the best ways to limit condensation.
The interior of your home needs room to breathe. For starters:
- Open Blinds and Curtains: Windows that are covered by blinds and curtains are more likely to condensation. There is a reduced airflow that becomes trapped to the surface of the glass. Therefore, tie back your curtains and raise your blinds during the daylight hours.
- Open Windows Daily: We are not suggesting that you keep your windows open for hours each day. Obviously, this isn’t practical during the winter months. However, you can simply reduce humidity in a home by opening your windows for a few minutes each day.
- Install Ventilation Fans in Practical Areas: Whenever you use the bathroom to shower or a kitchen to cook, you’re significantly contributing to humidity within your home. Of course, you want to continue doing these activities yet installing ventilation fans (if they don’t already exist) can help reduce the excess humidity. It is a good idea to run a fan for 10-15 minutes after showering or doing other activities involving hot water.
Controlling Room Temperatures
When the air inside your home gets warmer it expands. What that means is it contributes to more moisture in your home because it gets trapped. Therefore, the warmer the temperature displayed on your thermostat, the higher the humidity and the more likely your windows are going to condensate.
In the winter, you obviously want to keep your interior warm and comfortable. After all, that’s what a heating system is designed for, but sacrificing a few degrees on the thermostat can help if the condensation on windows is getting extreme.
Humidifiers & Dehumidifiers
Humidifiers are popular in the winter because as temperatures drop outside the air gets stiff and dry. They help create moisture in the air that’s good for everything from your skin to combating a winter virus. However, excess moisture will also lead to condensation on windows.
Do your best to only run a humidifier at a recommended level. Additionally, you can invest in a dehumidifier when all other alternatives fail.
Dehumidifiers have the opposite effect of a standard humidifier. It is one of the best ways to remove moisture from the air, and condensation on windows. However, it’s also pricey to buy and install.
Considering Window Replacements
When all else fails it may be time to replace the window, or windows, altogether. Excess condensation exists on windows that lose their seal. When the seal is no longer serving its purpose it allows humidity to slip between the panes of glass.
Seal failure exists for a number of reasons from extreme weather conditions to common wear and tear. It is why all windows have a recommended lifespan before it’s time to get them replaced.
Homeowners that just purchased an older home may get inherited with poor quality and aging windows. As a result, the best option is just to replace them altogether. In the long run, it will prevent window condensation, help with energy costs, and contribute to a more comfortable interior.
Do you need assistance gauging the quality of your windows? A professional can stop by to inspect your windows and provide an honest opinion. If window replacements seem like the best option there are many different replacements to consider.