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

If you notice condensation on your window, don’t panic! 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. Instead, it means your windows are working well.

So, what is leading to the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what kind of condensation should raise alarms about your window’s health? Here are the facts about window condensation:

Do my new windows or doors create condensation?
Some homeowners associate the presence of condensation in the months after installing new windows with possible problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not produced by the window or door product. Actually, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your room.

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 high humidity holds water vapor until it comes into contact with a surface temperature less than or equal to the dew point—the temperature at which air becomes saturated and produces dew. Since glass surfaces are often the coldest part of the home, condensation appears on windows first, 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 warms, condensation begins to dissipate.

Numerous factors go into whether you might notice 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, varying room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all influence the likelihood of roomside condensation. Other factors like 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 include the advanced, energy efficient elements of present-day windows. But, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also establish a tighter seal against air infiltration in your home. Due to that, your home may keep more humidity making condensation more likely to happen than before.

In the warmer seasons, this same phenomenon can be noticed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can gather 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 escaping due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a higher possibility to see external condensation at these times.

You can address exterior condensation by opening curtains at night to warm up exterior glass and improve air circulation by trimming any bushes that might be blocking windows. Programming the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also make a difference.

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

Sources of humidity in your home 

The most common 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–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 path 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 happens 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 Hurt My Windows?
One area where condensation on windows should become an immediate warning, however, is if condensation is seen 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 should be replaced.

Most often 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 unseen, potentially pricey problems elsewhere in your room.

igh indoor humidity can eventually cause structural damage and even upset 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 signal that humidity levels are too high. And while window condensation and musty odors might be seen as annoyances, they can develop into more immediate concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left unresolved.

In the same way, left unaddressed, condensation issues can lead to window problems over time. Make sure to take continual roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early warning to high humidity in your home, one that can easily be solved before it gets worse. 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 doing their jobs as they should, give Pella Windows and Doors in Albany a call or come into the showroom.

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