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Window Condensation: Understanding What It Means

Window Condensation: Understanding What It Means

It’s almost that season where energy efficient windows can affect your heating expenses by holding more temperate air in your room 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 worry! It isn’t time to start investigating 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. Just the opposite, it means your windows are working well.

So, what is leading to the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what types of condensation should make you concerned about your window’s health? Here are the facts about window condensation:

Do my new windows or doors create condensation?
Some homeowners associate the sight of condensation in the months after installing new windows with unnoticed problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not caused by the window or door product. Actually, it comes because of high humidity levels in your home.

In reality, the sight of condensation more often than not is a result of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with more humidity retains water vapor until it comes into contact with a surface temperature less than or equal to the dew point—the temperature at which air becomes saturated and produces dew. Because glass surfaces are often the coldest part of the house, condensation shows up on windows initially, 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 warms, condensation begins to disappear.

Numerous 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, varying 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 play a role in 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 may have been drafty or didn’t include the advanced, energy efficient elements of modern windows. However, other home repairs, such as adding a new roof or siding, might also establish a tighter seal against air infiltration in your home. As a result, your home may hold more humidity making condensation more likely to happen than before.

In the warmer seasons, this same phenomenon can be seen on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can appear due to 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 room isn’t leaving due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a higher possibility to see external condensation in these situations.

You can manage exterior condensation by opening window coverings at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by trimming any shrubbery that might be obstructing windows. Setting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also make a difference.

For roomside condensation, there are a group of factors that can impact the humidity in your house. Here are a few common culprits that can cause roomside condensation:

Sources of humidity in your home 

The most common 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. Include today’s energy efficient, well-insulated homes and you can start to see why that humidity can often find no path to escape.

Due to this better insulation, some windows can build a strip of condensation that forms all the way around the roomside of the window. Usually, this is created 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 issue, however, is if condensation is appearing between the two sealed panes of insulating glass in multi-pane windows. In this case, condensation is a sign of seal failure and the insulating glass must be replaced.

Most often 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 hidden, potentially pricey problems to be found in your room.

igh indoor humidity can eventually cause structural damage and even affect your health. Because these effects frequently go unseen 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 develop into more serious 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 alarm to high humidity in your room, one that can easily be resolved 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 Terre Haute a call or visit the showroom.

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