Fogged up windows are annoying, but they may also be a symptom of a bigger problem. Learning why your home's windows fog will allow you to determine if you need to do some home renovations or if the issue is harmless.
How Does Condensation Form?
Quite simply, condensation is a matter of too much humidity on the colder side of the glass. It is most common in the fall, when the high humidity from the summer months begins to cool.
If you have old or leaky windows, then you will need to replace them to take care of the problem. The excess moisture will eat away at the surrounding wood, and when that water freezes in the winter, it will make your drafts worse. Cutting off the problem will not only reduce the condensation on your windows, but it will also reduce your home's heating and cooling costs due to the increased insulation.
New homes are also susceptible to condensation. This occurs because the airtight seal on new homes leaves extra humidity trapped in your home. In order to solve this problem you will need to remove some of the humidity in the air.
Prevent Condensation By Limiting the Humidity in Your Home
Reducing humidity starts with proper ventilation. Rather than saving money on allowing your stove or dryer to vent back into your home, spend the money and connect the vents to the outside. In addition, keep intake vents clear, even if it seems less efficient to allow the non-climate controlled air into your home.
Your home activities may have unintended consequences. Baths, showers and dishwashing all produce steam, which then gets trapped in your home. Any new construction or remodeling project will also increase the humidity in your home for several years. In order to counteract these activities, you may wish to invest in a dehumidifier that is either included in your HVAC system, or works in the rooms that have the greatest issue with humidity.
Many furnaces come equipped with humidifiers to help keep the air from drying out during the long winter months. If this is left enabled during the summer, it can certainly raise the humidity to unreasonable levels. Since the humidity level takes so long to change in a sealed environment, you may even want to turn the humidifier off early in the spring, when you are no longer running your heater constantly.
Choose Windows That Have Better Insulation to Reduce Temperature Imbalances
Because condensation is caused by a temperature imbalance, as well as the humidity level, it is possible to prevent condensation by purchasing windows that create a buffer between in inside and outside of your home.
- Increase the number of panes of glass. The space between each pane will graduate the temperature between the inside and outside, reducing that temperature difference.
- If your windows are going to be installed in an area that will always have high humidity, such as your bathroom, you may wish to go the extra step and purchase multiple pane windows that are filled with argon or krypton. This will improve the insulating properties of multiple pane windows.
- Chose a window model from a place like Renewal by Andersen that includes additional insulation in the frame. There is usually more temperature differential at the edges of the window, and the additional insulation helps to counteract this effect.
Condensation that comes and goes is simply part of owning a home. If it doesn't go away quickly, you may wish to remove the cause of your problems before it causes structural damage. Removing the cause of the condensation will solve not only that problem, but will often make your home more comfortable in general.