Neglected condensation can lead to wood rot, molding decay, and even damage to your plaster. It also creates excess moisture in your home which can damage more areas than just in and around the windows.
What is Condensation?
Condensation is the reverse of evaporation — where liquid water becomes vapor —condensation is when water vapor becomes a liquid. Condensation happens when water droplets begin collecting on a cold surface due to the humidity in the air coming in contact with that cold surface. It’s a common occurrence on windows because usually, the surface of a window is colder than the walls, which are full of insulation.
To figure out how to stop condensation on windows, you have to identify where the condensation is occurring. Is it inside or outside your windows? Is it between the windowpanes or on the surface? The more you learn about the condensation issue you’re facing, the better equipped you are to resolve the problem.
What Causes Window Condensation?
Here are some possible reasons behind why you’re dealing with condensation, whether it’s on the inside, outside, or between your windowpanes.
Condensation on Inside of Windows
When you’re dealing with condensation on the interior surface of your windows, this occurs because there is warm, humid air coming into contact with the cool glass. This type of window condensation is most common during the winter months due to the cold, dry air outside meeting the warm, toasty air inside. The air inside your home is likely more humid than the outdoor air. This can be true whether you run a humidifier during the winter or not. Normal daily activities such as cooking, exercising, bathing, and breathing all lead to humidity inside your home.
A lot of homeowners implement weather-sealing strategies — like replacing drafting windows, weather-stripping doors, and increasing roof insulation — to battle the winter cold, but these things all mean a home will retain more humidity. That leads to more condensation build-up on the windows and other surfaces, which increases your risk of mold and mildew growth. When you notice condensation on the inside of your windows, it may be time to reduce your home’s humidity.
Condensation on Outside of Windows
From what we’ve learned about condensation, seeing it on the outside of your windows means the outdoor air is warmer and more humid than the indoor air. This situation is most commonly seen during the summer months when indoor AC units are running at full blast. This presents less of a risk to your home since there isn’t any excess humidity building up inside your home. The exterior of your home is designed to better handle weather changes, including moisture build-up.
Condensation Between Windowpanes
If you notice condensation between your windowpanes, this is most likely due to a leak in the seal. When your windowpanes spring a seal leak, moisture can creep up between the glass and cause some unsightly condensation. In most cases like these, a window replacement is the only way to resolve the problem.
How to Stop Condensation on Windows
Turn Down the Humidifier
If you use a humidifier in your home and start to notice condensation building up on your windows or mirrors, it’s time to turn that down a bit. While a humidifier is a great way to improve your air quality, especially in the winter months when the air is dry and cold, condensation build-up is a clear indicator that you’re adding too much humidity to the space. Too much moisture in the air will only lead to problems.
Use a Dehumidifier
A great way to reduce the air moisture in your home is to use a portable dehumidifier or install a whole-home dehumidifier. These are electrical devices that extract water from the air to improve your air quality and protect your home from mold and mildew. They can eliminate musty odors, prevent bacteria growth, and reduce the condensation on your windows.
Use Exhaust Fans
Cooking and bathing are two normal activities that can cause a lot of excess humidity in your home. If you have an exhaust fan over your kitchen stove or exhaust fans in your bathrooms, try flipping them on to help remove moisture from the room. This is especially helpful while you’re cooking or while you’re showering.
Open Some Windows
If you’re seeing condensation build-up on your windows, it might be time to increase your air circulation. Try opening up a few windows to let your home vent properly, releasing humidity and helping prevent excess humidity build-up.
Use Ceiling Fans
Another great way to improve the airflow in your home is to turn on your ceiling fans. This is helpful even in the winter months since you can push warm air down from the ceiling and keep it circulating.
Trim Shrubbery and Plants Near Windows
Trimming any plant life that’s in the way of your windows is a great way to increase air circulation. It also gives the sun more of a chance to warm up a window in the wintertime, preventing condensation build-up since the water evaporates faster.
Replace the Windowpanes
This is your best option if you’re dealing with condensation between the glass in your windows. You have to replace the glass units or the entire window. If your windows are old, this may even be a great step to making your home more energy efficient.