Dealing With Condensation

Protecting Your Investment

Installing new windows in your home, though very energy-efficient, requires a significant up-front investment. To protect this investment, it is prudent to make yourself aware of certain steps you can take to make sure your windows last as long as possible.

When Does Condensation Occur

One factor that can contribute to the long-term deterioration even of high-quality windows is condensation. Condensation is the transformation of water vapor, present in the air, into liquid water. Water vapor becomes liquid when the temperature is sufficiently low. For this reason, condensation is especially likely to occur on your windows during the cooler months, when the outside temperature (and thus the temperature of the window surface) is cooler than the inside temperature. Water vapor, always present inside from various household activities, strikes the surface of the window, its temperature is lowered, and it becomes liquid.

Negative Effects of Condensation

Some degree of condensation is of course inevitable, and is usually harmless, particularly if it occurs on the outside surfaces of a window, where it can simply evaporate. However, if condensation occurs in a hard-to-reach area of the window—for example, between the two panes of a double-paned storm window—it can linger there. This is dangerous for two reasons. First, if you have wooden window frames, the long-term presence of moisture can cause the wood to rot, decreasing both its attractiveness and its energy efficiency. Second, and even if your frames are made of non-wood materials such as aluminum or vinyl, moisture can be conducive to the growth of mold, which can be very difficult to get rid of. Finally, condensation decreases the visibility through your windows. Clean windows add sparkle to a house, but foggy ones give an impression of dinginess.

How To Reduce Condensation

How can we reduce condensation? Although condensation can never be reduced to zero, it can be lowered significantly. Various household activities such as cooking, doing laundry, and taking showers release large amounts of water vapor into the air, which can condense inside the windows. To keep this from happening, make sure your kitchen, laundry area, and bathroom are well-ventilated, either by opening a window when performing the vapor-releasing activity, setting up portable fans, or (preferably) by having a ventilation system in place. To deal with chronic humidity, consider using a dehumidifier.