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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 costs by holding more temperate air in your home while resisting 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 diagnosing 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 doing their job.

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

Do my new windows or doors create condensation?
Some homeowners pair the sight of condensation in the months after installing new windows with possible problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not caused by the window or door product. Instead, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your house.

In reality, the signs of condensation more often than not is an outcome 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 most likely the coldest part of the house, condensation shows up on windows initially, in the indication of water droplets or frost on the roomside of your window. As the air inside becomes drier, or as the glass surface heats up, condensation begins to disappear.

Numerous factors go into whether you might see condensation on your windows. You might even find 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 impact the presence of roomside condensation. Other factors like glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all determine what levels of humidity can be noticed around a window.

Why do I occasionally see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows may have been drafty or didn’t have the advanced, energy efficient technology of modern windows. But, other home repairs, such as adding 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 likely to happen than before.

In the heat, this same phenomenon can be seen on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can gather as a result 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 home isn’t leaking due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a higher possibility to see external condensation at these times.

You can address exterior condensation by opening shades at night to warm up exterior glass and improve air circulation by removing any shrubbery that might be blocking windows. Programming 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 house. Here are a couple of common culprits that can create roomside condensation:

Sources of humidity in your home 

The most common way roomside humidity increases is through everyday home activities. Running 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–topping out at four gallons or more per day in some homes. Factor in today’s energy efficient, well-insulated homes and you can start to understand why that humidity can often find no way to escape.

Due to 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 happens 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 instance where condensation on windows should become an immediate warning, however, is if condensation is noticed between the two sealed panes of insulating glass in multi-pane windows. In this instance, condensation is a result of seal failure and the insulating glass will need to 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 unseen, potentially pricey problems to be found in your house.

igh indoor humidity can lead to structural damage and even impact your health. Because these effects frequently go unseen in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible indication 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 annoyances, they can develop into more severe 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 continual roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early alarm 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 cozy and maintaining your windows. If you have any questions about condensation and whether your windows and doors are working properly, give Pella Windows and Doors in Portsmouth a call or come into the showroom.

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