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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 impact your heating costs by holding more temperate air in your home while defending against the elements outside. However, you may start to see condensation gathering on your windows and doors during colder months.

If you see 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 working well.

So, what is leading to the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what types of condensation should raise alarms 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 caused by the window or door product. Actually, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your room.

As a matter of fact, the presence of condensation more often than not is an outcome of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with high humidity retains 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 often the coldest part of the house, condensation appears on windows more frequently, 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 becomes warmer, condensation begins to lessen.

Many factors go into whether you might find condensation on your windows. You might even discover that a window in one part of your room has roomside condensation while another in the same room 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 factors like glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all have an impact on what levels of humidity are around a window.

Why do I occasionally see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows might have been drafty or didn’t feature the advanced, energy efficient components of modern windows. But, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also establish a tighter seal against air infiltration in your room. Due to that, your home may retain more humidity making condensation more frequentl than before.

In the heat, this same phenomenon can be seen on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can form because of 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 house isn’t escaping due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a higher possibility to see external condensation at times like these.

You can address exterior condensation by opening shades at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by cutting back any bushes that might be obstructing windows. Adjusting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also improve the situation.

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

Sources of humidity in your home 

The most commonly seen way roomside humidity increases is through everyday living. Taking 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. Add today’s energy efficient, well-insulated homes and you can start to understand why that humidity can often find no way to escape.

As a result of this better insulation, some windows can have a strip of condensation that forms 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 sign 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 issue, however, is if condensation is appearing 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 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 expensive problems in other areas in your room.

igh indoor humidity can result in structural damage and even impact your health. Because these effects frequently go unseen in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible presence 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 annoyances, they can develop 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 alarm to high humidity in your house, one that can easily be resolved before it gets serious. 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 as they should, give Pella Windows and Doors in Nashville a call or stop by the showroom.

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