It’s almost that season where energy efficient windows can impact your heating costs by keeping more temperate air in your room while resisting the elements outside. However, you may start to find condensation gathering 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. 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. Instead, 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 stability? Here are the facts about window condensation:
Do my new windows or doors cause condensation?
Some homeowners pair the signs of condensation in the months after installing new windows with possible 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 house.
As a matter of fact, the signs of condensation more often than not is an indication of the improved energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with high humidity holds 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 usually the coldest part of the house, condensation shows up on windows more frequently, in the form of water droplets or frost on the roomside of your window. As the air inside gets drier, or as the glass surface warms, condensation begins to disappear.
Many 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 another in the same room doesn’t. Air circulation, changes in room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all influence 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 could have been drafty or didn’t include the advanced, energy efficient components of modern windows. However, other home repairs, such as building a new roof or siding, might also build a tighter seal against air infiltration in your room. Because of that, your home may hold more humidity making condensation more likely to happen than before.
In the warmer seasons, this same phenomenon can be observed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can form as a result of 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 cools below the dew point of the outside air. Since the cooler air inside your room isn’t leaking due to increased energy efficiency, it’s more likely to see external condensation at these times.
You can deal with exterior condensation by opening curtains at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by cutting back any plants that might be obstructing windows. Setting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also improve the situation.
For roomside condensation, there are a few factors that can impact the humidity in your house. Here are a couple of common culprits that can lead to roomside condensation:
The most commonly seen way roomside humidity increases is through everyday living. 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–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 get an idea why that humidity can often find no path to escape.
Because of this better insulation, some windows can develop a strip of condensation that forms all the way around the roomside of the window. Usually, 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 place where condensation on windows should become an immediate warning, however, is if condensation is appearing 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 likely though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a defect with your windows. It serves as an indicator to the possibility of other hidden, potentially costly problems elsewhere in your home.
High indoor humidity can eventually cause structural damage and even affect your health. Because these effects frequently go unnoticed in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible presence of condensation on glass is a good sign that humidity levels are too high. And while window condensation and musty odors might be seen as annoyances, they can grow into more serious concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left alone.
In the same way, left unaddressed, condensation issues can cause window problems over time. Make sure to take chronic roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early alarm to high humidity in your home, 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 resisting condensation as they should, give Pella Windows and Doors in Hingham a call or stop by the showroom.