It’s almost that season where energy efficient windows can affect your heating costs by holding more temperate air in your room while keeping 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 panic! It isn’t time to start diagnosing 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. Rather, it means your windows are doing their job.
So, what is leading to the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what types of condensation should make you concerned about your window’s health? Here are the facts about window condensation:
Do my new windows or doors lead to condensation?
Some homeowners connect the signs 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. Instead, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your house.
As it turns out, the signs of condensation more often than not is an outcome of the improved 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. Because glass surfaces are usually the coldest part of the house, condensation shows up on windows initially, in the form of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the window. As the air inside becomes drier, or as the glass surface becomes warmer, condensation begins to lessen.
More than a few factors go into whether you might see 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, 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 have an impact on 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 might have been drafty or didn’t have the advanced, energy efficient elements of modern windows. However, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also establish a tighter seal against air infiltration in your room. As a result, your home may retain more humidity making condensation more likely to happen than before.
In the summer months, this same phenomenon can be seen on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can gather because 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 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 higher possibility to see external condensation at times like these.
You can address exterior condensation by opening curtains at night to warm up exterior glass and increase air circulation by cutting back any bushes that might be interfering with windows. Adjusting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also make a difference.
For roomside condensation, there are a number of factors that can determine the humidity in your room. Here are a couple of common culprits that can create roomside condensation:
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 increase moisture to the air in your home–as much as four gallons or more per day in some homes. Include 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 build a strip of condensation that appears all the way around the roomside of the window. Most often, this occurs 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 instance 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 instance, condensation is a sign of seal failure and the insulating glass must be replaced.
More often than not 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 expensive problems elsewhere in your home.
High indoor humidity can lead to structural damage and even upset your health. Because these effects frequently go without notice in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible sign 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 bothersome, they can develop into more serious 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 warning to high humidity in your house, one that can easily be solved before it gets more severe. 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 effectively, give Pella Windows and Doors in Winston-Salem a call or come into the showroom.