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What Does Condensation on Your Windows Mean?

Think about why you want to replace your windows.

  • Are they drafty?
  • Are your heating/cooling bills extremely high?
  • Are you cold and uncomfortable in the winter?

Those are all good reasons to replace your windows, according to the Window Professor. Old windows break down, causing air leaks. Those air leaks can make you uncomfortable and cause your heating/cooling bills to skyrocket.

Replacing your windows with new, high-quality ones will address all of these concerns. Hot air is kept inside, thus reducing your heating bills. Cold air is stopped from coming in, making you more comfortable. And less noise is entering your home, making it much quieter. But if you notice that moisture is building up on your windows, you may be wondering: Is this a problem?

It’s important to know that windows are NOT the problem when you’re seeing condensation. Windows help you understand that you have excessive condensation, which could lead to big problems in the future.

Where Does Condensation Come From?

Plants, cooking, showering: They all add moisture to the home. Even breathing and conversation emit moist air that contributes to indoor humidity. Your old, drafty windows allowed that moisture to escape, so condensation wasn’t a problem. However, your heating/cooling bills were out of control, and you weren’t comfortable in your home. So you replaced your windows, hoping for lower energy bills and greater home comfort. You got just that — but now you know about another problem.

If left untreated, excessive condensation can lead to obscured views, wood rot, damage to your plaster, and mold and mildew. Excessive condensation can damage your entire home, not just what you see around your windows. If the interior of your windows falls below freezing, ice can build up.

How To Reduce Condensation on Your Windows

There are several ways to reduce the amount of moisture in the home, thus reducing the amount of condensation on the windows.

  • Use the bathroom and kitchen fans every time you shower or cook. These fans are great at removing moisture from the home, and it’s a good idea to use them for 15-20 minutes after you’re done cooking or bathing.
  • Run your ceiling fans on reverse/clockwise, pushing the warm air back down.
  • Open a window for a few minutes a day, allowing the moisture to escape.
  • Leave your window blinds open slightly, allowing for heat to warm the inside of the window.
  • Reduce the number of plants you have or move them away from the windows. Plants release a lot of moisture, so this can make a big difference.
  • Run a dehumidifier, which removes excess moisture. Stand-alone units typically cost about $200–$300, but they are worth it to protect your home.
  • Install an air-to-air exchange unit. These inexpensive units bring in fresh air and remove the stale, moisture-laden air.

Exterior Condensation

Condensation can appear on the exterior of your windows, mainly in the hot, muggy summer months. This is similar to dew appearing on grass or your car windows in the morning. This happens when you are running your air conditioner and the winds are very light overnight. This usually isn’t a huge concern, as the moisture can evaporate back into the atmosphere as the sun comes up and warms the exterior. Some folks correct this problem by trimming their bushes back from the windows, allowing for better air circulation.

Condensation vs. Seal Failure

Some people get confused between condensation and seal failure (moisture between the panes of glass). Moisture in the space between the panes is a warranty situation. If you can’t wipe the moisture off the window, that means it’s between the panes, and the window should be replaced.

Condensation Is a Home Problem, Not a Window Problem

It can be frustrating to spend time wiping moisture off your beautiful new windows, but consider it a sign that your windows are doing their job: They’re stopping drafts from entering your home. Finding controlled ways for moist air to exit your home (besides cracks in your windows!) will lower your indoor humidity, reduce condensation, and maintain those lower energy bills. Try our tips and let us know how they work for you!

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