It’s almost that time of year where energy efficient windows can improve your heating bill by holding more temperate air in your house while keeping the elements outside. However, you may start to notice condensation settling on your windows and doors during colder months.
If you notice condensation on your window, don’t worry! 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. Rather, it means your windows are working well.
So, what is causing 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 associate the presence 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. Rather, 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 outcome of the improved energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with increased 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. Due to the fact that glass surfaces are usually the coldest part of the home, condensation appears on windows first, in the indication of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the window. As the air inside becomes drier, or as the glass surface heats up, condensation begins to disappear.
More than a few factors go into whether you might find condensation on your windows. You might even find 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. Even the glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all determine what levels of humidity are around a window.
Why do I occasionally see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows may have been drafty or didn’t have the advanced, energy efficient technology of present-day 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 noticed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can appear as a result 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 is cooled below the dew point of the outside air. Since the cooler air inside your home isn’t escaping due to increased energy efficiency, it’s more likely to see external condensation at times like these.
You can deal with exterior condensation by opening window coverings at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by trimming any shrubbery that might be interfering with windows. Programming the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also improve the situation.
For roomside condensation, there are a number of factors that can impact the humidity in your home. Here are some common culprits that can cause roomside condensation:
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–topping out at four gallons or more per day in some homes. Include today’s energy efficient, well-insulated homes and you can start to understand why that humidity can often find no means of 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. Most often, this happens 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 Ruin My Windows?
One area 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 case, condensation is a result of seal failure and the insulating glass should be replaced.
More often than not though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a concern with your windows. It serves as an indicator to the possibility of other unseen, potentially expensive problems in other areas in your room.
High 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 indication 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 bothersome, they can develop into more immediate 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 warning to high humidity in your room, one that can easily be resolved before it gets serious. 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 resisting condensation effectively, give Pella Windows and Doors in South Burlington a call or visit the showroom.