It’s a familiar situation. One morning you walk into the kitchen for your coffee and notice your windows or patio door looks a little foggy. Some days – and especially overnight – the fogginess goes away, but it always comes back, and over time becomes more obvious. It’s window condensation – a potential precursor to larger problems, like damaged window panes, rotting wood, insulation problems, mildew, & mould.
What is Condensation?
One of the most common misconceptions about condensation is that the problem lies with the surface the water appears on – usually a window or wall. But in reality, it’s the moisture in the air.
Simply put, condensation is the process of water vapour turning into liquid water.
As the air warms, it expands and can hold onto more moisture. As it cools again, it contracts. Once that cooling, humid air reaches its “cooling saturation point” – when it can no longer hold any more wetness – the excess moisture turns into liquid.
You see condensation most often when the temperature outside drops quickly, creating a larger difference in indoor and outdoor temperature. This is common in early fall, when the days are warm, and cold air reserved for the night. As the temperature drops outside the moisture captured by a home’s structures over the summer become trapped. This leads to higher humidity levels inside the home – and a stronger probability of your windows “sweating.”
4 Ways to Control Condensation to Extend the Life of Your Windows
- Open Your Windows a Little: Sure, this is as easy a solution as you’ll find – and it may add a bit to your heating costs – but it is by far the cheapest method for dealing with moisture levels in your home. Let a little fresh air in!
- Adjust Your Window Accessories: Curtains, blinds, and valances shouldn’t be too close to your windows. They must not impede the flow of air over the surface of the window. Any restriction of the air circulation will reduce the condensation resistance and increase sweating on the window’s surface. Make sure to leave your window coverings in the “open” position when you’re not using them.
- Move Your Heat Sources: During heating season, even energy-efficient windows will lose more heat through them than the heat lost through any wall. This is why windows with a heat source below them are less likely to sweat. Consider relocating any portable heating sources in your home to help prevent condensation.
- Controlling Relative Humidity: Many living habits create humidity inside your home – like showers and baths, cooking, laundry, even houseplants! If the moisture in your home isn’t controlled, it can become excessive, especially during the winter months. This creates the potential for damaging condensation. Dehumidifiers and exhaust fans work wonderfully to help control the humidity levels throughout your home.
Keep condensation in your home at bay and prolong the life of your windows!