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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 expenses by retaining more temperate air in your house while resisting the elements outside. However, you may start to see condensation appearing on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you see condensation on your window, don’t worry! 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 doing their job.

So, what is creating the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what signs of condensation should raise alarms about your window’s strength? 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 room.

As it turns out, the sight of condensation more often than not is an indication of the improved energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with more humidity holds 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. Because glass surfaces are most likely the coldest part of the house, condensation appears on windows more frequently, 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 becomes warmer, condensation begins to dissipate.

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, varying room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all increase the chances 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 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 have the advanced, energy efficient components of today’s windows. But, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also create a tighter seal against air infiltration in your home. Due to that, your home may retain more humidity making condensation more frequentl than before.

In the summer months, this same phenomenon can be noticed 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 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 greater chance to see external condensation at times like these.

You can deal with exterior condensation by opening shades at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by trimming any bushes that might be interfering with windows. Programming 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 room. Here are some common culprits that can create 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. Factor in today’s energy efficient, well-insulated homes and you can start to see 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 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 an indication that the window is leaking air or not functioning correctly.

Can Roomside Condensation Ruin 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 should be replaced.

More likely though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a problem with your windows. It serves as an alert to the possibility of other hidden, potentially costly problems to be found in your room.

igh indoor humidity can result in structural damage and even upset your health. Because these effects frequently go unnoticed in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible sign 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 unresolved.

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 house, one that can easily be dealt with before it gets serious. 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 properly, give Pella Windows and Doors in Colorado Springs a call or visit the showroom.

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