7 Fixes For Window Condensation

The winter months bring with them a number of added tasks and chores for homeowners. Between decorating for the holiday season, clearing snow from the driveway and cleaning sand from the doorway, it’s safe to say home maintenance gets more complicated in the cold.

Window condensation is no exception. Condensation on interior windows is irritating, and can actually cause long-lasting damage to your home. Window condensation occurs when there is an excess of moisture in the house. It happens more often in winter, when the warm air inside the home condenses the moisture on cold windows.

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Condensation, left untreated, can rot the wood and moulding that surround windows. Furthermore, condensation doesn’t only affect areas surrounding a window; the moisture and mold that come with condensation can also spread and damage drywall, plaster and flooring.

Here are seven simple tips to keep your windows and the rest of your home safe from the detrimental effects of moisture.

1. Use Storm Windows

Storm windows keep a space between the interior window and the exterior window. The space between the two windows allows the interior one to stay warmer, and reduces frost build-up and condensation. Storm windows can also help reduce your heating bills and make your home more energy efficient during the winter.

2. Add Weather Stripping

Weather stripping stops warm air from leaving your home. If you’re using storm windows during the winter months, weather stripping will stop condensation from occurring on your windows. Weather stripping also improves the energy efficiency of your home.

3. Keep Windows Warm

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Condensation will occur if your windows are colder than the air in your home. To keep the surface of your windows warmer, use blinds, curtains or drapes. Raising the temperature of your home slightly will help warm your windows and reduce interior window condensation as well.

4. Use Humidifiers Cautiously

Canadian winters can at times feel dry, leaving us with itching skin and flyaway hair. For this reason, many people use humidifiers to balance the air in their homes. However, this can often upset the moisture balance within a home and cause condensation to occur on interior windows.

5. Use a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is a quick, easy way to address excess moisture and window condensation in your home. While dehumidifiers can range from $200-$300, there are also smaller size options that are more affordable in a pinch.

6. Be a Fan of Fans

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Every time you shower, cook, or clean, make sure your fans are on. Keeping fans on—rotating in a clockwise direction—will keep the air circulating throughout your home and help push warm air off of the ceiling back down to the floor.

7. Replace Your Windows

In the worst case scenario, condensation and moisture are a problem in your home because of flaws with your current windows. This is a likely scenario if you’ve had the same windows for longer than 20 years.

Window technology has greatly progressed in the past few decades, and Polar Windows are especially designed to perform in extreme climates. If your windows are collecting moisture and condensation despite your best efforts, contact Polar Windows for a free, in-home consultation.

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Condensation

It’s winter, you’re cooking up a storm, something warm and hearty like a stew, as you’re cooking you want to enjoy the winter scenery, but you can’t, because your window is fogged up and water is carelessly dripping down its pane.  Irritating? Maybe a little.  Destructive? Oh yah.

The occasional light condensation is not where the problem at hand lies, but excessive, persistent amounts can, over long periods of time, cause damage to your window frame and the wall below it, which may eventually lead to mold.

Condensation occurs when moist air comes into contact with a cool surface, such as a window or door.  Warm air contains more moisture, so when that air comes in contact with a cold glass surface it is then cooled and moisture is released in the form of condensation.

It’s a common assumption that condensation is caused by the window, which in fact isn’t true.  The ‘water’ is produced from our normal daily activities such as showering, cooking etc.  In order to reduce this condensation, humidity must be controlled and airflow generated.

To decrease or control excess humidity and condensation you can:

  • Install replacement windows with triple glazing.
  • Run exhaust fans in your kitchen, laundry and bathrooms longer and more frequently.
  • Vent gas burners, clothes dryers, etc. to the outdoors.
  • Shut off furnace humidifiers and other humidifying devices in your home.
  • Be sure that the ventilating louvers in your attic, basement or crawl spaces are open and adequately sized.
  • Open fireplace dampers to allow an escape for moist air.
  • Air out your house a few minutes each day by opening windows and doors.
  • Make sure your furnace is in proper working order and is serviced regularly.
  • Open window coverings – such as blinds or drapes – during the day to increase airflow over the glass.

Something to consider if you’re thinking about installing new windows.

A thermally efficient window with Low-E (E = Emissivity) glass will reduce the transfer of heat leaving your window warmer, minimizing the hot and cold differences that turns moisture vapor into condensation.  Low-E glass works by reflecting heat back to its source, it allows sunlight to pass through but blocks the damaging ultraviolet light.  In the winter when you’re heating your home, the radiant heat bounces off your windows and back into your home.  Conversely, in the summer radiant heat from the sun bounces off the window and back into the great unknown.

 

Thanks to Larry Jacobsen for the great image of condensation on a window.

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