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Condensation is formed when warm moist air comes in contact with cooler dry air. Just like your bathroom mirror “steams up” after a hot shower, the inside or outside of your window can sweat because of temperature differentials. The two variables to window condensation are indoor humidity and window temperature. To prevent condensation, these need to be controlled.
ARE MY WINDOWS TO BLAME?
i. Defective windows do not cause condensation. Because glass surfaces can have the lowest temperature of any surface in a house, it is usually the first place you notice condensation.
IF IT’S NOT MY WINDOWS THEN WHAT’S THE CAUSE?
i. The moisture in the air causes condensation. Moisture is naturally present in the air and it condenses when in contact with cold surfaces.
MY OLD WINDOWS DIDN’T HAVE CONDENSATION, WHY DO MY NEW ONES?
i. While energy-efficient designs keep cold air outside, they also keep warm moist air inside. Older window designs were less efficient and therefore allowed moisture to escape.
ii. If you didn’t have as much condensation before replacing your old windows, it’s probably because they were drafty. Good windows and insulation all create barriers to the air exchange of a home. When combined with the additional moisture from showers, cooking, or from clothes dryers not vented to the outside, the result is extra moisture and a high indoor humidity levels.
HOW CAN CONDENSATION BE REDUCED?
i. The key lies in controlling the humidity inside your home. Opening a window briefly is a quick temporary solution. The drier cold air will enter the room while the moist air is allowed to escape.
ii. Some solutions that may reduce condensation include:
- Cracking open a window or door daily to air out your house.
- Running exhaust fans longer in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.
- Opening drapes and blinds, allowing air to circulate.
- Turning off any humidifying devices in your home.
- Installing and using a dehumidifier.
WHEN SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
i. If you find condensation between the two layers of glass in an insulated window, the airtight seal has probably been broken and the glass might need to be replaced.
ii. If there is too much moisture inside the home, you will see evidence. Moisture spots on the ceiling or walls, peeling paint, rotting wood, and mold growth are signs of a more serious humidity problem. If you experience these symptoms, a heating & cooling contractor should be contacted.