When you see condensation on home windows, that usually signals a problem with excess humidity indoors, rather than reflecting any inherent flaw in the windows themselves. For one thing, windows are the most obvious place to spot moisture condensing on surfaces in a home. However, it’s likely happening on other surfaces, too.
What Causes Condensation on Home Windows?
Condensation on windows isn’t just a wintertime phenomenon, however; it can appear in any season if the temperature variation is high enough between outside and inside. Also, in a home with high humidity, which is generally worse in the summer than other times of the year, any surface in the home may feel damp and clammy, not just windows.
During the winter — the season when condensation is most likely to occur — condensation on home windows is directly related to the basic scientific fact that when air is warmer, it can hold more moisture. In most homes, warmer air during the heating season is closer to the center of a room and not near windows, exterior doors and walls. That warmer interior air can hold an ample amount of moisture, and when it comes close to a cold surface such as a window, it will cool off and release that moisture on the window glass and other nearby surfaces. Thus, you get condensation on home windows. If the weather outside is particularly cold, that moisture might appear as frost on the interior of the window.
Summertime window condensation typically occurs with recently installed replacement or energy-efficient windows that don’t allow much heat transfer between inside and outside. Rather than being something to worry about, this sort of condensation is just a sign that the windows are doing their job by effectively separating the indoors from the outdoors, and resisting thermal energy transfer.
If you look closely at a window that’s exhibiting condensation in the summer, you’ll quickly realize that the condensation is forming on the outside of the window, not the inside, as happens in the winter. This outside moisture doesn’t pose any hazard to household fixtures and building materials, as is the case when condensation forms inside the windows. And as it gets warmer outside, the condensation on the outside of the window should disappear.
Lower the Humidity in Your Home
In the winter, the best way to prevent condensation on home windows is to reduce moisture inside. If the interior air is dry enough, it won’t hold enough water vapor to form condensation on windows. In fact, the absence of condensation should provide assurance that your home’s indoor relative humidity isn’t too high. On the other hand, negative consequences are associated with inside air that’s too dry, which is common in homes during the heating season. Chapped lips, dry and flaky skin, respiratory issues and mild electrical shocks are all by-products of dry air. Building materials and furniture can warp and crack in dry air, too. Plus, dry air feels cooler than humid air, an effect you’re not exactly looking for during the heating season.
A humidistat on your humidity control device, whether it’s a humidifier or a dehumidifier, will permit you to set the relative humidity exactly where you want it. Don’t set it so high that condensation forms on windows, and not so low that the air becomes dry and uncomfortable.
A whole-house dehumidification system will help lower relatively humidity in any season, and it will directly address the issue that’s allowing condensation to form on the inside of windows. Or if your window condensation issues are limited to one room or area, a portable dehumidifier should do the trick.
A humidifier, meanwhile, will bring the humidity up to comfortable levels if set at the correct level, but not so high that the moisture condenses on windows. Also, get in the habit of using exhaust fans in rooms that tend to get damp, such as bathrooms, the laundry room and the kitchen. You’ll also want to make sure the dryer is vented to the outside; if it’s not, it can add a substantial amount of moisture to the inside air.
Learn more about Bodine-Scott Air Conditioning Co.’s indoor air quality solutions that prevent condensation on the windows in your home, or contact us today at 888-481-8511.
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