It’s almost that time of year where energy efficient windows can affect your heating expenses by keeping more temperate air in your house while keeping the elements outside. However, you may start to notice condensation appearing on your windows and doors during colder months.
If you see 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. Rather, it means your windows are being efficient.
So, what is causing the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what signs of condensation should raise alarms about your window’s health? Here are the facts about window condensation:
Do my new windows or doors lead to 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 produced by the window or door product. Actually, it comes due to high humidity levels in your house.
As it turns out, the sight of condensation more often than not is a result of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with increased humidity keeps 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. Due to the fact that glass surfaces are usually the coldest part of the home, condensation appears on windows more frequently, in the indication of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the window. As the air inside gets 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 discover that a window in one part of your room has roomside condensation while a different one doesn’t. Air circulation, changing room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all increase the presence of roomside condensation. Other influnences such as glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all play a role in what levels of humidity appear around a window.
Why do I sometimes see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows could have been drafty or didn’t feature the advanced, energy efficient elements of present-day windows. But, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also build a tighter seal against air infiltration in your room. As a result, your home may keep more humidity making condensation more likely to happen than before.
In the summer months, this same phenomenon can be observed 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 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 leaving due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a higher possibility to see external condensation in these situations.
You can manage exterior condensation by opening shades at night to warm up exterior glass and improve air circulation by removing any shrubbery that might be interfering with 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 house. Here are some common culprits that can cause roomside condensation:
The most frequent way roomside humidity increases is through everyday activity. Heat and moisture from 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. 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.
Due to this better insulation, some windows can build 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 an indication 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 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.
More likely 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 unnoticed, potentially expensive problems to be found in your house.
High indoor humidity can lead to structural damage and even affect your health. Because these effects frequently go unseen in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible sign 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 evolve into more severe 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 continual roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early alert 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 doing their jobs as they should, give Pella Windows and Doors Southwest in Santa Fe a call or stop by the showroom.