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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 expenses 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 panic! It isn’t time to start investigating 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 kind of condensation should raise alarms about your window’s health? Here are the facts about window condensation:

Do my new windows or doors create 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 caused by the window or door product. Instead, it comes due to 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 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. Since glass surfaces are most likely the coldest part of the room, condensation can be seen on windows initially, in the presence of water droplets or frost on the roomside of your window. As the air inside gets drier, or as the glass surface warms, 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 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 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 occasionally see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows may have been drafty or didn’t include the advanced, energy efficient elements of present-day windows. However, other home repairs, such as adding a new roof or siding, might also create a tighter seal against air infiltration in your home. As a result, your home may retain more humidity making condensation more likely to be seen than before.

In the warmer seasons, this same phenomenon can be noticed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can appear 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 is cooled below the dew point of the outside air. Since the cooler air inside your room isn’t escaping due to increased energy efficiency, it’s more likely to see external condensation in these situations.

You can manage exterior condensation by opening shades at night to warm up exterior glass and increase air circulation by cutting back any shrubbery that might be obstructing windows. Adjusting 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 cause roomside condensation:

Sources of humidity in your home 

The most frequent way roomside humidity increases is through everyday living. Heat and moisture from showers and baths, cooking and washing dishes, doing laundry, even the dog’s water bowl can all add 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 understand why that humidity can often find no path to escape.

Because of this better insulation, some windows can have 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 an indication that the window is leaking air or not functioning correctly.

Can Roomside Condensation Damage My Windows?
One area 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 instance, 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 defect with your windows. It serves as an alert to the possibility of other unnoticed, potentially expensive problems to be found in your room.

igh indoor humidity can lead to structural damage and even impact your health. Because these effects frequently go unnoticed in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible indication 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 severe concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left unchecked.

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 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 resisting condensation properly, give Pella Windows and Doors in Long Island a call or stop by the showroom.

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