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Condensation on Your Home’s Windows: Why It’s an Issue

Posted on in Articles

Have you ever taken a close look at the windows throughout your home? If the glass sometimes appears sweaty, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Should you ignore this problem, or is it worth correcting? What causes condensation on home windows in the first place? Find all the answers to your questions here.

condensation on home windowsWhy Condensation on Home Windows Is an Issue

A foggy, sweaty window does more than just obstruct your view to the outside. Other problems associated with window condensation include:

  • Damaged window frames - If enough droplets form on the window’s surface, they can drip down onto the window frame. Wood windows are particularly susceptible to warping and rotting if window condensation goes untreated for too long.
  • Wall damage - Even if you have a rot- and warp-resistant window frame, water can still seep through the walls and moisten building materials there. Wet insulation becomes inert and soggy walls allow mold to grow, affecting indoor air quality and potentially damaging your home’s structural integrity.
  • Mildew within the window seal - While double- and triple-pane windows are sealed tightly during the manufacturing process, they sometimes leak as they get older. Condensation can find its way inside the leak where the water can’t dry and mildew forms, permanently damaging your windows.

Why Does Window Condensation Form?

Your windows aren’t the cause of condensation; they just happen to be the cold surface on which moisture is most visible in a humid environment. Here are the most common reasons why condensation forms on your windows:

  • Winter conditions - To counterbalance dry winter air, you may run a humidifier. If the air becomes saturated at over 50 percent relative humidity, condensation is likely to form on cold surfaces because the air surrounding these surfaces – namely your windows – can’t hold as much moisture. In the winter, condensation forms on interior panes of glass.
  • Summer conditions - Texas is known for its hot, humid summers. You blast the air conditioner and run a dehumidifier to cool and remove excess moisture from the air. Windows become cool to the touch, and hot, humid outdoor air is forced to release moisture as it comes in contact with them. This forms condensation on exterior window panes.
  • Excessive indoor humidity - Relative humidity levels climb when you perform daily activities, such as showering and cooking. Poor attic ventilation can even trap moisture in your home and cause the windows the sweat. New building materials introduced to your home during a renovation project may also expel excess moisture into the air for a few weeks.

How to Prevent Condensation on Home Windows

Many of the reasons behind window condensation sound as though they’re beyond your control, but you can actually take several steps to prevent this potentially damaging phenomenon.

  • Turn off the humidifier until the condensation dissipates - Fifty-percent relative humidity may feel comfortable, but as the temperature continues to drop outside, windows become increasingly vulnerable to condensation. Leave the humidifier off for a while or lower the setting in conjunction to plummeting outdoor temperatures.
  • Run exhaust fans - The kitchen and bathrooms should be equipped with exhaust fans. Run these while cooking and showering to draw excess moisture outside. A whole-house ventilation system is effective at controlling moisture and pollutants in a controlled way across your home.
  • Ventilate the attic - Visit the space above your home and make sure the soffit and ridge vents are unblocked by insulation or other obstructions. Natural ventilation is usually enough to prevent excess moisture and heat buildup, but you might also consider mechanical attic ventilation.
  • Control humidity in other ways - If you hang-dry your clothes, do so outdoors. Open windows on mild days to let moist air escape and drier air enter. Don’t overwater house plants and keep them in a sunny spot so the soil can dry.
  • Utilize curtains - You can decrease how much warm, moist indoor air comes in contact with windows by drawing the drapes in the winter. As an added bonus, curtains help insulate the windows against cold outdoor air and improve heating efficiency.
  • Replace your windows - It’s a last resort, but you should replace your windows if they’ve been damaged by condensation. You can also help prevent future problems by replacing any remaining single-pane windows with double-pane upgrades.

If you’re tired of window condensation, check out Thermacon Service Company’s indoor air quality products, including dehumidifiers and ventilation systems designed to prevent condensation on home windows. You can also call us toll free at 866-797-1535 to learn more.

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