How to Prevent Window Condensation

Window condensation is a popular topic that comes up in homeowners’ conversations. Whether it’s old or brand new windows, you may face condensation issues on windows. It can cause damage to your window infrastructure, the interior and exterior of your home, as well as causing issues with internal temperature and increased energy bills.

If you have older windows that aren’t as efficient as modern windows, they are more likely to fog-up, accumulate moisture around the sill, or even freeze. However, issues faced with condensation doesn’t necessarily the window has to be replaced because even with a new window condensation might worsen.

Here are tips helping you better understand window condensation, its causes and ways to prevent it from happening.

What is Condensation?

Condensation is formed by water vapour in the air that turns into liquid water. Fog and water droplets on windows are forms of condensation. Even though condensation is more apparent on glass, windows are not the only place it can occur.

Outside Condensation

Outside condensation is usually a good sign that often occurring during the summer months with hot temperatures. High humidity, clear night sky or the absence of wind are good conditions leading to outside condensation. It shows that the house is keeping out the heat and retaining a cool temperature inside.

Inside Condensation

If the condensation is from inside, it means that the humidity level in the house is high. High humidity indicates there is a lot of moisture in the air and therefore it is normal for it to condense on windows, mirrors and other cooler surfaces. Inside condensation usually appears in the winter season, especially at the beginning of the heating stage.  As the outside temperature drops, the inside surface will also get cooler -and consequently, condensation will form at lower relative humidity on cold days.

The colder the air outside, the more likely condensation is to take place. Thankfully homeowners have a great deal of control over interior condensation.

Condensation Between Glass Insulation

Condensation between glass insulation appears at the bottom of the window. This means there has been a seal failure somewhere. This is because each insulated unit is a sealed atmosphere, and the air in this atmosphere is layered, just as in any closed space. Warm air rises, and since humidity is attracted to cooler air, condensation will often show near the bottom of the glass.

Damage Caused by Condensation

Excessive interior humidity can be irritating to a homeowner and destructive to a home. It can damage sheetrock, panelling and window sills. It can also penetrate walls, deteriorating wood framing and reducing the effectiveness of insulation. Condensation can also cause the paint to peel from the sash of wood windows. It can also allow water to run down into window frames, causing dampness in the adjacent walls.

How to Prevent Window Condensation?

The presence of condensation on the inside of house windows can generally be eliminated with one of the following measures:

Use a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is an easy way to remove the moisture in your home. Depending on your budget, you can choose between a full size or a mini dehumidifier. Some dehumidifiers will need to be turned on and off, while others will come on automatically when the humidity level in the home reaches a certain point. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air and keep moisture off of your windows. Your dehumidifier will need to be placed near the windows where you tend to see the most condensation.

Use Fan and Increase Ventilation

Good ventilation considerably reduces the possibilities of condensation. Bathroom exhaust fans, in particular, should be used during every shower or bath and for at least 15 minutes afterwards. Installing an exhaust fan in high-moisture areas of your home can help if minor condensation problems persist even with your windows opened. Dryers that vent indoors emit huge amounts of moisture into your home. Proper outdoor venting of your dryer could solve the whole problem.

Switch to Better Insulated Windows

The higher the R-value of a window, the better it can handle humidity and keep condensation from forming. For example, triple pane windows are much less likely to form condensation than double-pane. Replacing your windows with ones that have better sealing, but the same insulation value as the original ones can increase window condensation because the new windows reduce air leakage and natural ventilation.

Increase Heat

If the inside air within your living areas is raised to spring temperatures, you could potentially reduce the risk of condensation on your inner panes, especially if the heat source is located near your windows.

The best way to avoid condensation is to reduce excess humidity inside your home. While it can certainly be a problem with the damages caused, in the vast majority of cases, it can be controlled or eliminated.