The process of condensation keeps the Earth alive. It’s responsible for the nourishing rains that fall to the ground to help flowers and food grow. Though it may be necessary outdoors, it can be problematic when it forms on your windows for a multitude of reasons. Below, you can learn more about window condensation and what you can do as part of your home winterization routine to stop it.
Things You Need to Know about Window Condensation
Window condensation occurs most frequently in the winter, though in some parts of the world, it can occur any time the outdoor temperature is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It causes more than just wet windows; it can also lead to wet window frames, wet curtains, and other areas where water simply shouldn’t be. Mold and mildew love wet and warm surfaces, so window condensation can pose a significant health risk. It can also lead to damage inside your walls, which can cost thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars in repairs.
What Causes Window Condensation to Form?
Window condensation forms when humidity in the air comes in contact with a cold surface. When it’s cold outside, you probably like to heat your home to keep it nice and comfortable. At the same time, the surfaces of your windows are cold due to the outdoor air temperature. As the warm air in your home contacts, the cold surface of the window, heat transfer occurs. Because warm air can hold far more moisture than cold air, the sudden decrease in temperature causes water to collect on the cold surface.
Getting Rid of Condensation
In fact, window condensation occurs in the same way that droplets of water form on the outside of a glass of ice water. With the glass, you can simply use a coaster to protect your furniture from water damage. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy with your windows, and rather than ruining your furniture, the water damage window condensation causes can destroy much of the structure of your home. If you notice condensation on your windows, it’s imperative that you address it immediately.
Preventing Window Condensation
It’s very common for homeowners who have recently had their windows replaced to experience condensation. This is because there is a much tighter seal between the interior of your home, to the outdoors. It is very unlikely that you are experiencing condensation because of an installation error, or manufacturer defect. If you see that condensation is happening between the panes of glass (and you can’t wipe it off) this is likely due to a seal failure and you should contact your window manufacturer to help solve the issue.
Damage from condensation can affect other areas of your home including your walls and insulation and it’s typically an expensive fix, so the best thing you can do is prevent it altogether. There are dozens of tips for doing it, but the absolute best way is to understand the level of humidity in your home. If it is above 40-50%, look into what might be contributing to elevated humidity. Here are some options to reduce the interior humidity of your home.
- Window Coverings – Take note of how often, and when you have blinds down or curtains drawn. Oftentimes warmer air can get stuck in-between the window, and the coverings, allowing for less air to circulate. This is a very common source of condensation.
- Dehumidifying your home. The more you can reduce the humidity in the air, the less condensation there will be. Whole-home dehumidifiers typically work the best, but because they’re usually built into your HVAC system, they can be costly. Using single-room dehumidifiers in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom can also help.
- Analyzing your houseplants. Houseplants are wonderful for your health in many ways, but the ones that require a lot of water to remain healthy can also create a humid environment. Conversely, some houseplants help to dry the air. These include orchids, peace lilies, spider plants, and various succulents.
Condensation in New Windows
From time to time, homeowners notice condensation occurring on their brand-new replacement windows. Though it can be alarming – and frustrating to say the least – it is typically not a cause for concern. Remember that your new windows are far more airtight, so the warm, humid air inside your home will not be able to escape through them. As a result, the humidity in the air condenses on the window. The best way to control this sort of interior condensation involves reducing the humidity in your home as much as possible. Make sure your kitchen and bathrooms are well-ventilated and consider investing in a whole-home dehumidifier.
Window condensation is a common issue and one that can be easily resolved, but when it’s left unchecked, it can cause issues and lead to costly home repairs. Energy-efficient replacement windows, whole-home dehumidifiers, careful placement of houseplants, and extra ventilation in particularly humid rooms will go a long way toward preventing window condensation to keep you happy, healthy, and comfortable.