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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 costs by keeping more temperate air in your house while keeping the elements outside. However, you may start to see condensation settling on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you see condensation on your window, don’t stress! 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 working well.

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

Do my new windows or doors create condensation?
Some homeowners connect 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 due to high humidity levels in your room.

As it turns out, the signs of condensation more often than not is an outcome of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with high humidity keeps 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. Because glass surfaces are most likely the coldest part of the room, condensation can be seen on windows first, in the form 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 lessen.

More than a few 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 one on the other side doesn’t. Air circulation, changes in room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all increase the likelihood 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 could have been drafty or didn’t have the advanced, energy efficient components of present-day windows. However, other home repairs, such as building a new roof or siding, might also establish a tighter seal against air infiltration in your house. Due to that, your home may keep more humidity making condensation more likely to be seen 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 establishes itself 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 home isn’t leaving due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a greater chance 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 removing any bushes that might be interfering with windows. Adjusting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also improve the situation.

For roomside condensation, there are a group of factors that can determine the humidity in your home. Here are some common culprits that can create roomside condensation:

Sources of humidity in your home 

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

As a result of this better insulation, some windows can develop a strip of condensation that appears all the way around the roomside of the window. Most often, this is created 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 area where condensation on windows should become an immediate concern, however, is if condensation is appearing between the two sealed panes of insulating glass in multi-pane windows. In this situation, condensation is a result of seal failure and the insulating glass will need to be replaced.

More likely 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 hidden, potentially costly problems to be found in your house.

High 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 clue that humidity levels are too high. And while window condensation and musty odors might be seen as annoyances, they can evolve 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 reoccurring 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 more severe. Understanding condensation is just the beginning to keeping your home comfortable and maintaining your windows. If you have any questions about condensation and whether your windows and doors are working effectively, give Prairie Pella Wyoming LLC in Cheyenne a call or stop by the showroom.

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