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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 improve your heating expenses by holding more temperate air in your home while resisting the elements outside. However, you may start to see condensation appearing on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you see 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 being efficient.

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

Do my new windows or doors cause 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 created by the window or door product. Instead, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your room.

As a matter of fact, the presence of condensation more often than not is an outcome of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with more 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 room, condensation appears on windows more frequently, in the form of water droplets or frost on the roomside of your window. As the air inside grows drier, or as the glass surface heats up, condensation begins to disappear.

Numerous factors go into whether you might notice condensation on your windows. You might even find that a window in one part of your room has roomside condensation while another in the same room doesn’t. Air circulation, changing room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all impact the chances of roomside condensation. Other factors like glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all have an impact on what levels of humidity appear 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 feature the advanced, energy efficient technology of present-day windows. Additionally, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also establish a tighter seal against air infiltration in your room. As a result, your home may keep more humidity making condensation more frequentl than before.

In the warmer seasons, this same phenomenon can be seen 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 is cooled below the dew point of the outside air. Since the cooler air inside your home isn’t leaving due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a higher possibility to see external condensation at these times.

You can manage exterior condensation by opening curtains at night to warm up exterior glass and increase air circulation by trimming any shrubbery that might be obstructing windows. Programming the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also help.

For roomside condensation, there are a few factors that can impact the humidity in your room. 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. Taking 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–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 way to escape.

As a result of this better insulation, some windows can have a strip of condensation that appears all the way around the roomside of the window. Most often, 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 place 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 will need to be replaced.

More often than not though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a defect with your windows. It serves as a sign to the possibility of other unnoticed, potentially expensive problems elsewhere in your house.

igh indoor humidity can eventually cause structural damage and even affect your health. Because these effects frequently go unnoticed in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible presence 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 annoyances, they can grow into more severe concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left alone.

In the same way, left unaddressed, condensation issues can cause window problems over time. Make sure to take chronic roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early alert to high humidity in your room, one that can easily be dealt with before it gets more severe. Understanding condensation is just the beginning to keeping your home cozy and maintaining your windows. If you have any questions about condensation and whether your windows and doors are doing their jobs properly, give Pella Windows and Doors in Greenfield a call or stop by the showroom.

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