Window Condensation: Understanding What It Means
It’s almost that season where energy efficient windows can impact your heating costs by holding more temperate air in your home while keeping the elements outside. However, you may start to notice condensation gathering on your windows and doors during colder months.
If you notice condensation on your window, don’t worry! It isn’t time to start diagnosing your window. As a matter of 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 creating the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what kind of condensation should cause concern about your window’s strength? Here are the facts about window condensation:
Do my new windows or doors cause condensation?
Some homeowners pair the signs of condensation in the months after installing new windows with potential problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not caused by the window or door product. Rather, it comes as a result of high humidity levels in your house.
As a matter of fact, the signs of condensation more often than not is a result of the increased energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with high humidity retains 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 usually the coldest part of the house, condensation shows up on windows more frequently, in the form 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 lessen.
Numerous factors go into whether you might see 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 can be noticed 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 include the advanced, energy efficient components of today’s windows. But, other home repairs, such as building a new roof or siding, might also establish a tighter seal against air infiltration in your room. As a result, your home may retain more humidity making condensation more likely to happen than before.
In the summer months, this same phenomenon can be seen 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 establishes itself 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 room isn’t leaking due to increased energy efficiency, it’s more likely to see external condensation at these times.
You can manage exterior condensation by opening window coverings at night to warm up exterior glass and increase air circulation by cutting back any shrubbery that might be blocking windows. Setting the air conditioner a few degrees warmer can also help.
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:
Due to this better insulation, some windows can have a strip of condensation that forms all the way around the roomside of the window. Usually, this occurs when the center of the glass stays warmer than the glass closest to the edge. It isn’t a sign that the window is leaking air or not functioning correctly.
Can Roomside Condensation Hurt My Windows?
One area where condensation on windows should become an immediate issue, however, is if condensation is appearing 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 must 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 unseen, potentially pricey problems to be found in your house.
High indoor humidity can lead to structural damage and even impact your health. Because these effects frequently go unnoticed in the wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces, the visible indication 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 nuisances, they can grow into more serious concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left unresolved.
In the same way, left unaddressed, condensation issues can lead to window problems over time. Make sure to take reoccurring roomside condensation seriously. Think of it as an early alarm 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 cozy and maintaining your windows. If you have any questions about condensation and whether your windows and doors are resisting condensation effectively, give Pella Windows and Doors in Baton Rouge a call or come into the showroom.