It’s almost that time of year where energy efficient windows can improve your heating bill by retaining more temperate air in your home while keeping the elements outside. However, you may start to see condensation appearing on your windows and doors during colder months.
If you notice condensation on your window, don’t stress! It isn’t time to start looking for something wrong with 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 working well.
So, what is causing the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what kind of condensation should raise alarms about your window’s strength? Here are the facts about window condensation:
Do my new windows or doors create 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 caused by the window or door product. Actually, it comes because of high humidity levels in your room.
As a matter of fact, the signs of condensation more often than not is a result of the better energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with high humidity retains 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 most likely the coldest part of the house, condensation shows up on windows first, 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 disappear.
More than a few 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 one on the other side doesn’t. Air circulation, changes in 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 have the advanced, energy efficient components of present-day windows. Additionally, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also build a tighter seal against air infiltration in your house. Due to that, your home may keep more humidity making condensation more frequentl than before.
In the heat, this same phenomenon can be noticed on the outside of your windows. Exterior condensation can form due to 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 cools 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 these times.
You can address exterior condensation by opening curtains at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by trimming any bushes that might be interfering with windows. Programming the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also make a difference.
For roomside condensation, there are a few factors that can influence the humidity in your home. Here are a few common culprits that can create 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–topping out at four gallons or more per day in some homes. Factor in today’s energy efficient, well-insulated homes and you can start to get an idea why that humidity can often find no way to 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 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 case, condensation is a sign 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 a sign to the possibility of other unseen, 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 unnoticed in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible presence 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 evolve into more severe 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 alarm to high humidity in your home, one that can easily be resolved 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 working as they should, give Pella Windows and Doors in Southern Pines a call or visit the showroom.