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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 home while resisting the elements outside. However, you may start to find condensation settling on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you find condensation on your window, don’t stress! It isn’t time to start looking for something wrong with your window. As a matter of 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 doing their job.

So, what is creating 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 cause 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 created by the window or door product. Rather, it comes because of high humidity levels in your room.

As a matter of fact, the presence of condensation more often than not is an indication of the improved energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with more humidity retains 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. Since glass surfaces are most likely the coldest part of the home, condensation shows up on windows first, 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 heats up, condensation begins to dissipate.

More than a few factors go into whether you might see condensation on your windows. You might even notice that a window in one part of your room has roomside condensation while another in the same room doesn’t. Air circulation, varying room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all impact the likelihood 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 can be noticed 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 include the advanced, energy efficient technology of today’s windows. Additionally, other home repairs, such as building a new roof or siding, might also build a tighter seal against air infiltration in your room. As a result, your home may hold more humidity making condensation more likely to happen than before.

In the summer months, this same phenomenon can be noticed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can form as a result of 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 drops below the dew point of the outside air. Since the cooler air inside your house isn’t leaving due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a greater chance 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 improve the situation.

For roomside condensation, there are a group of factors that can impact 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 activity. Heat and moisture from showers and baths, cooking and washing dishes, doing laundry, even the dog’s water bowl can all bring 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 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 appears 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 a warning that the window is leaking air or not functioning correctly.

Can Roomside Condensation Damage 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 situation, condensation is a result of seal failure and the insulating glass should be replaced.

More likely though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a defect with your windows. It serves as an indicator to the possibility of other unnoticed, potentially expensive problems to be found in your house.

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

In the same way, left unaddressed, condensation issues can lead to window problems over time. Make sure to take reoccurring roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early warning to high humidity in your room, one that can easily be resolved before it gets more severe. 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 properly, give Pella Windows and Doors in Providence a call or visit the showroom.

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