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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 bill by holding more temperate air in your home while keeping the elements outside. However, you may start to notice condensation settling on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you notice condensation on your window, don’t stress! It isn’t time to start investigating your window. In 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 being efficient.

So, what is creating the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what types of condensation should make you concerned 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 unnoticed problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not created by the window or door product. Actually, it comes because of high humidity levels in your house.

As it turns out, the presence of condensation more often than not is an indication of the increased energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with more 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 shows up on windows initially, in the indication of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the window. As the air inside gets drier, or as the glass surface heats up, condensation begins to disappear.

Many factors go into whether you might find condensation on your windows. You might even notice that a window in one part of your room has roomside condensation while one on the other side doesn’t. Air circulation, changing 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 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 present-day windows. Additionally, 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 keep more humidity making condensation more likely to happen than before.

In the summer months, this same phenomenon can be observed 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 grows 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 escaping 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 removing any plants that might be interfering with windows. Setting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also help.

For roomside condensation, there are a few factors that can determine the humidity in your home. Here are some common culprits that can lead to roomside condensation:

Sources of humidity in your home 

The most frequent way roomside humidity increases is through everyday activity. Running 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 get an idea why that humidity can often find no way to escape.

As a result of this better insulation, some windows can build 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 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 case, condensation is a result of seal failure and the insulating glass should be replaced.

More often than not though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a problem with your windows. It serves as an indicator to the possibility of other unnoticed, potentially costly problems in other areas in your room.

igh indoor humidity can result in structural damage and even affect your health. Because these effects frequently go without notice in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible indication of condensation on glass is a good clue that humidity levels are too high. And while window condensation and musty odors might be seen as bothersome, they can evolve into more immediate 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 reoccurring roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early warning to high humidity in your room, 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 as they should, give Pella Windows and Doors in Plattsburgh a call or visit the showroom.

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