condensation on home windowsA common problem in many homes is condensation on the windows. This is indicated by accumulations of moisture on window panes, frames and casings. Condensation on home windows isn’t necessarily a major issue in and of itself, but what it indicates could be. Here’s a brief guide to condensation on home windows, what it means, and what you can do to correct it.

The Causes of Condensation

Condensation on home windows is a sign of excess moisture and humidity in your home’s indoor environment. It shows up as droplets of water or patches of frost or ice on the window panes and frames, and sometimes on doors. Condensation is more likely to occur during the winter since there’s a greater difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures.

Despite the fact that condensation usually shows up on windows, it’s not the windows that are causing the problem. Condensation occurs when warm, moist air from the center of a room moves to the edges of the room. There, it hits the colder air near windows and the cooler windows themselves. When this occurs, the air is no longer able to hold as much moisture, and the moisture it can no longer contain ends up as condensation on the window.

The causes of condensation and excess humidity in your home can range from some very temporary factors to issues that indicate more long-term problems, such as:

  • Outdoor humidity – Humid outdoor weather can mean indoor humidity levels will also be high.
  • Household activities – Some types of household activities can temporarily increase the amount of moisture in your indoor air. Cooking, cleaning and bathing are three of the most common sources of temporary increases in indoor humidity. For example, showering can put a substantial amount of moisture into the air, and if the moisture isn’t ventilated away with an exhaust fan, it could make its way into your other living spaces.
  • Seasonal temperature changes – A quick drop in outdoor temperature could cause issues with excess moisture and condensation.
  • New construction – If you’ve recently had a room remodeled or an addition built, you may experience an increase in indoor humidity as moisture in the construction materials enters your indoor air.
  • Poor ventilation – Poor overall ventilation in your home can allow moisture to build up to high levels. If moisture becomes too prevalent, it could cause damage to your home and belongings.
  • Unbalanced HVAC systems – Part of the function of your HVAC system, particularly the air conditioner, is to remove humidity from the indoor environment. If the system isn’t working properly or if it’s out of balance, it may not be able to perform that function sufficiently to remove enough moisture.

Preventing Condensation

Effectively preventing condensation on home windows can involve one or more of the following techniques.

  • Run exhaust fans – When doing anything that could increase indoor humidity, run exhaust fans to remove moisture and vent it outdoors. This includes running bathroom fans during showers and kitchen exhaust fans when cooking.
  • Install a whole-house ventilator – A whole-house ventilation system is designed to remove moisture from the air in your home. They are typically installed in the attic and designed to have all the air flowing through your HVAC system diverted through them for moisture removal. They’re large enough and effective enough to reduce humidity levels throughout your home.
  • Install a dehumidifier – Use a dehumidifier to remove humidity in certain rooms, or install a whole-house dehumidifier to help dry the air in all areas of your home.
  • Open windows – When temperatures allow, open windows to provide natural ventilation that will not only freshen the air indoors but help get rid of excess moisture.
  • Use drapes on windows – To help keep condensation from forming on the windows, use drapes to close off the windows and keep moist indoor air from getting to them and creating condensation.

For more information on condensation on home windows and what can be done to prevent it, check out Griffith Energy Services’ indoor air quality solutions or call 888-474-3391.

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