It’s almost that weather where energy efficient windows can affect your heating bill by retaining more temperate air in your home while resisting 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 worry! 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. Rather, it means your windows are doing their job.
So, what is creating the condensation on your windows? And, more importantly, what signs of condensation should make you concerned about your window’s strength? Here are the facts about window condensation:
Do my new windows or doors cause condensation?
Some homeowners pair the sight of condensation in the months after installing new windows with possible problems during the installation process. Condensation on windows and doors is not caused by the window or door product. Rather, it comes due to high humidity levels in your house.
As a matter of fact, the sight of condensation more often than not is an indication of the improved energy efficiency of your new windows. Air with high humidity holds 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 often the coldest part of the home, condensation shows up on windows more frequently, in the presence of water droplets or frost on the roomside of your window. As the air inside grows drier, or as the glass surface heats up, condensation begins to dissipate.
Many factors go into whether you might find condensation on your windows. You might even notice that a window in one part of your room has roomside condensation while another in the same room doesn’t. Air circulation, changes in room temperatures, air register location, and the type and size of the window can all impact the presence of roomside condensation. Other factors like glass type, window coverings and screens and proximity to a water source can all have an impact on what levels of humidity appear around a window.
Why do I sometimes see condensation on opposite sides of the window?
Your previous windows might have been drafty or didn’t feature the advanced, energy efficient elements of today’s windows. But, other home repairs, such as installing a new roof or siding, might also create a tighter seal against air infiltration in your home. Due to that, your home may retain more humidity making condensation more frequentl than before.
In the summer months, 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 establishes itself 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 house isn’t leaking due to increased energy efficiency, there’s a higher possibility to see external condensation in these situations.
You can manage exterior condensation by opening shades at night to warm up exterior glass and promote air circulation by trimming 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 determine the humidity in your home. Here are a couple of common culprits that can lead to roomside condensation:
The most common 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–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 understand why that humidity can often find no path to escape.
As a result of this better insulation, some windows can build a strip of condensation that forms all the way around the roomside of the window. Most often, 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 place 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 situation, condensation is a sign of seal failure and the insulating glass should be replaced.
More likely though, condensation on your windows doesn’t mean there is a defect with your windows. It serves as an indicator to the possibility of other unnoticed, potentially costly problems elsewhere 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 sign of condensation on glass is a good clue that humidity levels are too high. And while window condensation and musty odors might be seen as bothersome, they can grow into more severe concerns such as water stains on walls and ceilings if left unchecked.
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 warning to high humidity in your home, one that can easily be dealt with before it gets worse. 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 as they should, give Pella Windows and Doors in Tucson a call or visit the showroom.