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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 impact your heating bill by holding more temperate air in your home while defending against 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. 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 working well.

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

Do my new windows or doors lead to condensation?
Some homeowners associate the sight 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. Actually, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your house.

In reality, the signs of condensation more often than not is a result of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with increased 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. Due to the fact that glass surfaces are often the coldest part of the house, condensation appears on windows first, in the presence of water droplets or frost on the roomside of your window. As the air inside grows drier, or as the glass surface warms, condensation begins to dissipate.

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, changes in room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all influence the likelihood of roomside condensation. Even the 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 occasionally see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows might have been drafty or didn’t include the advanced, energy efficient technology of today’s windows. But, other home repairs, such as building a new roof or siding, might also create a tighter seal against air infiltration in your home. Due to that, your home may retain more humidity making condensation more likely to happen than before.

In the warmer seasons, this same phenomenon can be observed 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 drops below the dew point of the outside air. Since the cooler air inside your room isn’t leaving due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a higher possibility to see external condensation in these situations.

You can deal with exterior condensation by opening curtains at night to warm up exterior glass and increase air circulation by cutting back any shrubbery that might be interfering with windows. Setting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also improve the situation.

For roomside condensation, there are a group of factors that can influence the humidity in your room. Here are a few common culprits that can lead to roomside condensation:

Sources of humidity in your home 

The most commonly seen 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–as much as 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.

Because of this better insulation, some windows can develop 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 Damage My Windows?
One instance where condensation on windows should become an immediate concern, however, is if condensation is seen between the two sealed panes of insulating glass in multi-pane windows. In this case, condensation is a mark of seal failure and the insulating glass should be replaced.

Most often 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 unnoticed, potentially expensive problems to be found in your home.

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 signal that humidity levels are too high. And while window condensation and musty odors might be seen as bothersome, they can evolve 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 chronic roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early warning to high humidity in your room, one that can easily be dealt with before it gets worse. 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 Syracuse a call or visit the showroom.

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