window condensation

Condensation – The Red Flag of Window Insulation Quality

It’s a cool fall morning. Your alarm begins to chime softly. You groggily lift yourself out of bed and shuffle to the bathroom for an early shower. Steam rises around you and fills the room. Towel in hand, you move to the mirror and wipe away the obstructing fog from the surface.

That fog is called condensation – an afterthought of the morning routine, but it’s not something to be overlooked.  Under certain circumstances, condensation can be a big indicator of the quality of your windows.

The Basics: What is Condensation?

Condensation is a simple phenomenon that occurs under the right conditions of humidity and temperature.

When an object is cooler than the air around it, the water molecules in the air come together and ‘stick’ to the surface, forming a thin layer of water droplets. It happens on your bathroom mirror, on the windows of your car, and yes, even on the windows of your home.

Is this cause for alarm? It depends on where the condensation accumulates.

The Good: Condensation on Outside of Windows

External condensation is a good thing.

When the air outside is slightly humid and the air is warmer than the temperature of your window glass, condensation forms. This means your windows are not allowing radiation (also known as heat transfer) to occur.

So if you have some fog on the outside of your window, you can relax. Your windows are just doing a good job at insulating your home.

Keep in mind that it’s still a good idea to check your sills and frames. If you have gaps between the window and frame, you may find patches of condensation collecting inside your home, which could indicate moisture inside your walls, causing water damage. This is why it’s important to check for drafts around your windows, to protect your walls against the elements.

The Bad: Condensation Inside My Window

If condensation forms on the inside of your windows, pay close attention. Excess moisture and collecting water around the house can be very damaging not only to your home but to your family’s health.

Internal condensation can indicate above-average humidity levels in your home. You may have a ventilation problem.

If your home is not being properly ventilated, moisture from your body, your water system, and even cooking can collect in the air over time. Because the water vapor has nowhere else to go, it condenses on windows, as well as on furniture, in carpets, and inside walls.

This creates two huge problems.

First, the moisture makes a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Many people are unaware they have mold and mildew allergies until they experience an allergic reaction. Because the symptoms are almost identical to asthma and hay fever, most who suffer are misdiagnosed. It is likely at least one of your family members is allergic, which means year-round reactions until it’s gone.

Second, since the moisture can’t escape, it can cause deterioration of the home. Moisture can seep into walls and soften the wood structures, even rot them. Over time, this can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

What Does it Mean if There is Condensation on the Inside of Windows?

High humidity isn’t the only reason for interior condensation. If the problem is only occurring on select windows, it’s possible you have a draft problem. If there is moist air coming into the house around a particular window, that moisture will collect on that window pane first. If this is your case, you’ll need to check for air leaks around the window and call a professional to reseal or replace it, depending on the severity of the gap.

Condensation inside your home is bad. But unfortunately, it can be worse.

The Ugly: Condensation In Between My Window Panes

Your window is hazy with fog, but no matter how much you wipe down the inside and outside of the glass, it won’t go away.

This is your worst case scenario – condensation between the panes of your window.

What does that mean? Well, when you look at the glass of our window, you are actually looking at two or three pieces of glass layered and held together by a single frame. These pieces of glass are called panes. (It is possible you may have single-pane windows, but we will address the issues with those in another blog post.)

Double and triple pane windows are made to insulate your home. The frame of the window holds the panes in place and leaves space between each one. This space is filled with an insulating gas like argon and then is sealed air-tight.

When you can see condensation collecting inside the window, it means the air-tight seal holding the insulating gasses inside has failed, letting all the insulating gas out and moisture in.

You are not only collecting moisture, which can lead to further damage of the window. You are also wasting drastic amounts of energy to heat and cool your home. Without those insulating gasses, your windows are allowing radiation to occur, letting heat in during the summer and out during the winter. Your windows are effectively useless as insulators once that seal is broken.

With windows that have no efficiency value, there’s no reason to keep them. You might as well have plastic wrap over the holes in your house. If you have condensation between your panes, it’s time to get new windows.

Investing in new windows is a unique opportunity to improve the energy efficiency, security, and curb appeal of your home, all at once. It’s rare that one purchase can do so much for your home and your family. Not to mention the potential return on that investment should you choose to sell your home.

Homespire Windows and Doors offers windows that deliver on all three fronts. You can choose from multiple color options for both the inside and outside frame of your windows to fit your home’s style. Our ability to custom design your windows allows for perfectly fitting windows every time, eliminating draft and offering creative solutions for out-of-the-ordinary spaces. Finally, we incorporate technological advancements in glass development and vinyl fusion-welding to create the most structurally sound window on the market. And you can rest assured your investment with Homespire will be your last, with all your windows guaranteed under a lifetime warranty.

So remember, if your window condensation is looking ugly, invest in the best with Homespire windows.