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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 improve your heating expenses by keeping more temperate air in your house while defending against the elements outside. However, you may start to notice condensation appearing on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you notice condensation on your window, don’t worry! It isn’t time to start looking for something wrong with 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 working well.

So, what is leading to the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what signs of condensation should make you concerned about your window’s health? Here are the facts about window condensation:

Do my new windows or doors create condensation?
Some homeowners connect 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 produced by the window or door product. Actually, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your house.

As a matter of fact, the sight of condensation more often than not is a result of the improved energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with high humidity retains water vapor until it connects with 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 often the coldest part of the house, condensation shows up on windows initially, in the presence of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the house’s window. As the air inside grows drier, or as the glass surface heats up, condensation begins to disappear.

Many factors go into whether you might notice 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 impact 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 sometimes see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows could have been drafty or didn’t include the advanced, energy efficient components of present-day windows. But, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also create a tighter seal against air infiltration in your house. As a result, your home may hold more humidity making condensation more frequentl than before.

In the heat, this same phenomenon can be observed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can gather because of high outdoor humidity, little or no wind, and a clear night sky. It grows 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 leaving due to increased energy efficiency, it’s more likely to see external condensation in these situations.

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

For roomside condensation, there are a group of factors that can determine the humidity in your home. Here are a few common culprits that can create 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 increase moisture to the air in your home–up to 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.

Due to this better insulation, some windows can develop a strip of condensation that appears all the way around the roomside of the window. Normally, this happens 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 situation, condensation is a mark of seal failure and the insulating glass should 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 hidden, potentially costly problems to be found in your home.

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 grow into more serious concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left alone.

In the same way, left unaddressed, condensation issues can mean window problems over time. Make sure to take reoccurring roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early alert 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 doing their jobs effectively, give Pella Windows and Doors in Kalamazoo a call or come into the showroom.

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