It’s almost that time of year where energy efficient windows can impact your heating bill by holding 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 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. Just the opposite, it means your windows are doing their job.
So, what is causing the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what types of condensation should cause concern about your window’s stability? Here are the facts about window condensation:
Do my new windows or doors cause condensation?
Some homeowners connect 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 created by the window or door product. Rather, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your house.
In reality, the sight of condensation more often than not is an indication of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with increased humidity keeps 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. Because glass surfaces are often the coldest part of the room, condensation appears on windows first, in the indication of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the window. As the air inside grows drier, or as the glass surface warms, condensation begins to lessen.
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, varying room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all impact the chances of roomside condensation. Even the 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 occasionally see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows may have been drafty or didn’t include the advanced, energy efficient components of today’s windows. Additionally, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also build a tighter seal against air infiltration in your home. As a result, your home may retain more humidity making condensation more likely to be seen than before.
In the summer months, this same phenomenon can be observed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can appear 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 is cooled 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 greater chance to see external condensation at these times.
You can address exterior condensation by opening window coverings at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by cutting back any plants that might be interfering with windows. Setting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also make a difference.
For roomside condensation, there are a few factors that can impact the humidity in your home. Here are a few common culprits that can lead to 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 increase moisture to the air in your home–as much as 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.
Because of this better insulation, some windows can have a strip of condensation that appears all the way around the roomside of the window. Normally, this is created 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 issue, however, is if condensation is noticed 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 problem with your windows. It serves as an indicator to the possibility of other hidden, potentially pricey problems to be found in your room.
High indoor humidity can lead to structural damage and even upset your health. Because these effects frequently go unnoticed 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 annoyances, they can evolve into more serious concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left alone.
In the same way, left unaddressed, condensation issues can mean window problems over time. Make sure to take reoccurring roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early alert to high humidity in your home, one that can easily be dealt with before it gets serious. 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 doing their jobs as they should, give Pella Windows and Doors in Lewes a call or stop by the showroom.