What Causes Window Condensation
Being a builder and home improvement contractor, I’m always asked what seems like a million home improvement questions from friends and family of mine. However, the type of question I’m often asked the most around winter time and summer, is what causes window condensation. So I thought I’d put my best foot fourth and try to help out someone whom might be concerned about window condensation in their homes.
Window condensation in most cases boils down to how your home was built, plain and simple. New residential homes nowadays are being built with better building practices and materials to ensure high energy efficiency ratings. For example, improved insulation, tighter vapor barriers and a higher quality energy efficent air filtration system to name a few. With all of these energy efficient improvements, results in having “air tight” home. Having an “air tight” home isn’t necessarily a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. Having a “air tight” home is what keeps are heating and cooling bills low, more energy efficient.
For many, the biggest culprit in window condensation is the level of humidity in the air. Humidity is basically (water vapor in the air) humidity is a way we measure how much mositure is in the air. Water vapor is created in many ways around the house. For example, taking your everyday shower, washing and drying your clothes, cooking, your plants around the house create moisture, breathing creates moisture. Take a look at your window after you’ve had a shower, it will be dripping in moisture – unless you’ve your bathroom exhuast fan running..
So what is condensation? Condensation is formed when water vapor comes in contact with a cool surface such as your windows and then transforms back into a liquid state on your windows. So for condensation to form on your windows, the temperature of your windows must be below or at the dew point of the air touching the glass. Have you ever had a cold drink on a hot day? Have you noticed what happens to the outside of your glass? It begins to build moisture on the outside of the glass cup.
Condensation in Older Homes V’S Newer Homes
In my experience as a home builder, homes built before 1960 don’t really have this problem. The reason for this, is because most homes built before this era didn’t get all of the extra treatment newer homes get in regards to insulation, vapor barriers, air filtration systems, etc.. So in essence, are more prone to drafts and air leakage. This helps with keeping moisture out of the home and the walls breathing. The only down side to this, is higher energy bills.
How To Stop Window Condensation
Well, you can’t totally stop window condensation, but you can reduce window condensation. Here are some basic ways to reduce window condensation. You want to do your best at controlling all sources of humidity such as venting all gas burners, dryers to the outdoors. Leave your bath vents, stove vents running for at least a half and hour long after you cook or take a shower.
- Cracking open a window or door daily to air out your house.
- Opening a window or running exhaust fans longer in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.
- Opening drapes and blinds, allowing air to circulate against windows.
- Turning off any humidifying device in your home.
- Installing and using a dehumidifier.
- If you live in a northern climate, the above as well as the following points may be relevant.
- Adding storm windows or replacing existing single-pane windows with insulated windows.
- Keeping plants in a sunroom, or in rooms that are infrequently used during extreme cold weather.
- Adding waterproof protection to basement floors and walls.
- Removing radiator pans until sweating has been eliminated.
- Making sure that open-faced gas heaters are connected to a chimney and using them as little as possible.