It’s almost that weather where energy efficient windows can impact your heating costs by retaining more temperate air in your home while resisting the elements outside. However, you may start to notice condensation settling on your windows and doors during colder months.
If you see condensation on your window, don’t worry! It isn’t time to start diagnosing your window. In 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 being efficient.
So, what is causing the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what signs of condensation should make you concerned about your window’s health? 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 unnoticed problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not produced by the window or door product. Instead, it comes because of high humidity levels in your house.
As it turns out, the signs of condensation more often than not is an indication of the improved energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with more 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 often the coldest part of the room, condensation appears on windows more frequently, in the form of water droplets or frost on the roomside of the house’s window. As the air inside grows drier, or as the glass surface becomes warmer, condensation begins to dissipate.
Numerous factors go into whether you might notice condensation on your windows. You might even find 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. Even the glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all play a role in what levels of humidity are around a window.
Why do I at times see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows could have been drafty or didn’t have the advanced, energy efficient components of modern windows. Additionally, other home repairs, such as adding a new roof or siding, might also build a tighter seal against air infiltration in your room. Due to that, your home may keep more humidity making condensation more likely to be seen than before.
In the warmer seasons, this same phenomenon can be noticed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can form 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, it’s more likely 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 shrubbery that might be interfering with windows. Programming the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also help.
For roomside condensation, there are a few factors that can impact the humidity in your home. Here are a couple of common culprits that can lead to roomside condensation:
The most frequent way roomside humidity increases is through everyday home activities. 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. 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. 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 Hurt My Windows?
One place where condensation on windows should become an immediate concern, however, is if condensation is seen between the two sealed panes of insulating glass in multi-pane windows. In this case, condensation is a sign of seal failure and the insulating glass will need to be replaced.
Most often though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a defect with your windows. It serves as an alert to the possibility of other hidden, potentially expensive problems in other areas in your home.
High indoor humidity can lead to structural damage and even upset your health. Because these effects frequently go unseen in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible indication 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 nuisances, they can grow into more severe concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left unresolved.
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 alert to high humidity in your room, one that can easily be dealt with 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 properly, give Pella Windows and Doors in Binghamton a call or visit the showroom.