Broken Seal or Window Condensation?

Broken Seal or Window Condensation?

Picture of window condensation.

Have you noticed water vapor accumulating on the inside of your windows? Many homeowners question if the appearance of condensation alone indicates that their windows are in disrepair.

The answer: not necessarily. Though moisture accumulation on the panes can be a nuisance to deal with and an eyesore, it sometimes can be a signal that your windows are functioning just as they should.

Wait, you might be thinking, how can moisture on my windows be a sign of both well-installed windows and poorly-installed, broken ones? Good question! We’re here to explain. Below, Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors discusses the two major causes of water on your windows—and what you should be doing about them, should your window contractors discover them to be at work in your home.

Cause Number One: Everyday Condensation

Take a moment to think of all the water we use on a day-to-day basis. Most of us shower quite frequently, for one. We wash our clothes with hot water and our dishes too. Maybe we’ve even used a pail full of warm water to mop the floors in a bout of spring cleaning.

All of this use creates steam. This steam collects on our windows as water in its liquid form, as the cool temperature of our window glass often causes it to do so.

In a way, this type of condensation is a sign that your windows are functioning exactly as they should. They’re preventing your indoor air, which is laden with water vapor, from circulating to the outside. The downside to this is that it’s a pretty surefire signal that your home suffers from high humidity levels due to poor ventilation. So, while this type of water condensation doesn’t indicate a problem with your windows, it can indicate an underlying:

Mold Issue

Fungi thrive in moist, warm environments. Your home, should it be dealing with high humidity levels and poor ventilation, is just that. Mold is an insidious threat, and it can grow in the tiniest nooks, so if you’re at all concerned, contact a professional mold remediator and have them do an assessment. In addition to structural degradation, it can pose a serious health risk to you and your family.

In fact, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.” In short, window condensation, even if it’s got nothing to do with broken windows, isn’t something you want lingering!

Water Damage Issue

Have your hardwood floors been looking a little swollen as of late? It isn’t just spilled water that threatens them; water in the air does, too. Floor first aid involves portable dehumidifiers and opening up the windows in this room. Of course, you should also address the underlying humidity issue with the help of roofing contractors or the like.

Attic Ventilation Problem

Has your home always felt a little stuffy? Perhaps it is improper ventilation in your attic that is causing this issue.  You can learn more about this issue in our roofing contractor blog on the topic!

All attics are different, so it can be tricky to know if yours is on the fritz if you haven’t seen your fair share of them. Multitalented roof repair professionals, such as Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors, can accurately assess the shape and functionality of your attic and determine if it needs a little TLC.

Cause Number Two: Window Seal Failure

This is the case in which you’d need to opt for window replacement. Windows have an airtight seal that prevents the exchange of your home’s humid air with the air outside. If you see condensation between the glass of your multi-pane windows, that’s a sign that their seal has been broken.

A broken seal means that your windows are no longer functioning as the stalwart barriers between the outdoors and indoors. You’re going to experience heightened energy bills if your windows were previously insulated with a gas, and your home will most likely struggle to maintain a consistent temperature if this problem is widespread. Old windows, windows that have warped glass, or windows that are exposed to a great deal of sunlight are generally vulnerable to seal failures. Improper installation jobs can also play a role.

What Is There to Be Done About Window Seal Failure?

Though some companies offer quick fixes for this sort of problem via defogging services, your best bet is full-out window replacement, as you’ll probably just end up patching up metaphorical holes as the problems crop up again and again. Even HGTV recommends it! Get your window installation done right and be done with the issue for good.

Once you make that repair call, though, you’ll no doubt want a few pointers on how to keep things consistent, temperature wise, in the offending room. Towels and dish rags are the old standby for temporarily fixing drafts, but it can be tricky to keep them in place. Caulk can also work in the short-term, but it can be hard to select the right product and detect all of the areas it needs application. Don’t hesitate to ask your window installation pro for advice.

Preventative Measures: Triple-Pane Vinyl Windows

At Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors, we strongly prefer triple-pane vinyl windows for each and every one of our products—enough to have written an entire window contractor blog on the subject. Check it out to learn the ins and outs of why this particular style is so versatile and hardy.

One thing we love about these windows in relation to seal failure, though, is that they come with a built-in failsafe, so to speak. If the seal between one pane and another breaks, an additional seal on one side can hold off extreme temperatures until help arrives. This means more affordability in the long run, as well as less discomfort and stress, as singular breakages only lead to a repair call and not to a frigid draft dominating the corresponding room.

Beware of Window Defogging Services!

A relatively new service, window defogging is often touted as a way to fix condensation between the panes. It generally involves drilling a tiny opening into the pane, pumping it full of a de-fogging compound, then re-sealing the hole.

Window defogging might make your previously blurry windows look like new again, but at the end of the day it’s just a cosmetic solution. The seal will still be broken, the strain on your energy bills still ever-increasing, and you’ll just need to call up the same company again eventually when the condensation returns.

If you absolutely need to restore your window to its former good looks before it’s replaced, then defogging can be an option. Just don’t fall for the claims that it’s a permanent fix, as nothing but tackling the problem at its root will be.

Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors is Your Choice for Window Installation, Roofing, and more

Our vast team of versatile professionals is ready and waiting to help with any of your window installation needs. For personal and comprehensive service, give our Sauk Rapids office a call now at 320-252-9086.

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