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Condensation: What Causes It & How To Cure It

Indoor moisture is caused by a variety of factors, including cooking, showering, running dishwashers, storing firewood, pets, fish tanks, plants, clothes, dryers that are not vented properly, even breathing.  New windows are more likely to show condensation than old windows because they are airtight – less air is entering your home from the outside.  The air leaking from older windows evaporated the moisture before it could collect.

While some humidity is necessary for health and comfort, chronic and excessive condensation should be tipping you off to take some action before serious, costly damage such as decay, mold, paint problems, and even major structural damage occur.

Where is the condensation?

Exterior:

If it is exterior that is usually a good sign, often occurring during the summer months.  If there is high humidity, a clear night sky or no wind it can cause exterior condensation.   It shows that the house is keeping out the heat and retaining a cool temperature inside.

Interior:

If it is in the interior it means the humidity is high in the house.  If the humidity is high then there is a lot of moisture in the air and it is perfectly normal for it to condense on windows, mirrors and other cooler surfaces.  IT usually forms in the winter, especially at the beginning of the heating season.  As the outside temperature drops, the inside surface will also get cooler; therefore, condensation will form at lower relative humidity on cold days.  The colder the air outside, the more likely condensation is to occur.  The homeowner has a great deal of control over interior condensation – see the cause/cure section.

Between the Glass:

This means there has been a seal failure.  This is rare, however in this instance we would need to re-order and switch out the IGU.

You may notice condensation appearing at the bottom of the window – this is because each insulated unit is a sealed atmosphere, and the air in this atmosphere is layered, just as in any closed space.  Warm air rises, and since humidity is attracted to cooler air, condensation will often show near the bottom of the glass.

 

Temporary Condensation

There are several ways to tell if the condensation on your windows is temporary.  Does condensation usually form:

  • During baths and showers, cooking, dishwashing, laundry, or other steam producing occasions?
  • During the start of each heating season? Houses absorb moisture during humid summers.  This will dry out after a few weeks of heating.
  • During sharp temperature changes? Sudden drops in temperature, especially during the heating season, can create temporary condensation.
  • During new construction or remodeling? Building materials contain a great deal of moisture.  When the heat is turned on, this moisture will flow into the air inside the home.  It usually will disappear after the first heating season.

 

Problem Condensation

Excess moisture in your home may eventually cause problems.  It may be time to take action if you notice the following signs in your house:

  • Condensation remains on windows throughout the day, even when outside temperature has warmed up.
  • Condensation is forming and running down the walls. It may also be causing discoloration, staining, peeling wallpaper and blistering paint.
  • The air smells musty – this could indicate mold, mildew, or in the worst case, rot – or odors from everyday household activities that linger too long. Odors increase in intensity with high relative humidity.
  • Mold, mildew, rot and/or decay are visible. Mold and mildew thrive in most areas and can cause health and house damage.

 

Acceptable Ranges of Temperature & Relative Humidity During Winter

The humidity level that should be maintained in your home during the winter varies with outside temperature.  The colder it is outside, the lower the humidity level must be inside your home.  All major manufacturers of humidifies list the recommended humidity settings based on outside temperatures.  The following guideline is recommended by every major manufacturer of windows and humidifiers.

Outside Air Temperature (oF) Inside relative humidity for 70 indoor air temperature
-20 -29 15% or less
-10 -23 15% to 20% humidity
0 -18 20% to 25% humidity
+10 -12 25% to 30% humidity
+20 -7 30% to 35% humidity

 

Climate & Other Factors

Northern and Midwestern Regions of the US, or those places where the temperature average for January is 35oF or colder, tend to have more occurrences of condensation.  The greater the extremes between outdoor and indoor temperatures, the more likely moisture will become visible on your windows.

Bay, bow and garden windows often create opportunities for condensation to show because air circulation is frequently limited and their protrusion from the insulated house wall generally makes them a few degrees cooler.  Heavy window treatments also limit airflow and increase the likelihood of condensation.

Cause/Cure

Cause Cure
Inadequate ventilation of windows Keep window coverings open during the day to allow air circulation and make sure patio doors have heat vents beneath them.
Radiator or kerosene heat Use dryer sources of heat, such as gas or electric furnaces
Cooking and dishwashing Vent stove range hoods and dishwashers to outside.  Some air quality systems recover up to 97% of the existing warmth and energy to heat incoming air
Showers and baths Make sure bathroom exhaust fans are vented to outside and use fans regularly
Ironing, washing and drying laundry Make sure the clothes dryer is vented to the outside and/or install an exhaust fan in the laundry room
Dirt floor crawl spaces Vent crawl space and/or cover dirt with plastic to create a vapor barrier that will prevent moisture in the soil from rising into the home
Indoor Plants Use small fans to circulate the air
Excessive Humidifier Use Keep indoor air quality to optimum humidity levels. Hygrometers are available at most hardware stores, and can be used to measure home humidity levels.
Damp basement allows ground moisture into the home Running a dehumidifier in the basement can reduce musty odors and mold.
Unseasoned firewood Minimize indoor firewood storage
New wood, plaster, cement, and other building materials Building materials contain a great deal of moisture.  As soon as the heat in the home is turned on, this moisture will flow into the air and settle on windows and other cool surfaces.

 

Advice for Reducing Condensation

  1. Reduce moisture sources
    • Stop or severely limit the use of humidifiers, or adjust them to the appropriate setting
    • Run a dehumidifier, if needed
    • Limit plants, aquariums and pets. If you care for a lot of plants, group them in one sunny room and avoid over watering.
    • Have your gas appliances checked, if you have not recently. Malfunctioning gas appliances can deliver excessive water vapor into the air along with more dangerous contaminants. Be sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm.
    • Store firewood outside
    • Eliminate plumbing leaks
    • Don’t air-dry clothes indoors
    • Correct grading/drainage problems around exterior of your home

  2. Increase ventilation
    • Open windows for a few minutes each day, particularly after steam-producing activities such as showering/bathing, laundry, and cooking. Heat loss will be minimal.
    • Run kitchen, bathroom, and other fans longer and more often.
    • Improve or add a ventilation system in your home through attic, roof and soffit venting. Ensure that everything vents to outside.
    • Open blinds and drapes. Heavy window coverings restrict the flow of warm air over the interior glass surface.
    • Operate ceiling fan to improve air circulation.

  3. Increase Air Temperature
    • Raise the temperature inside the house
    • Insulate under the seat and over the head of the bay, bow, and garden windows to keep area warmer.
    • Direct warm-air supplies ducts toward windows or even us a fan for increased air circulation at windows.

 

 

The Better Business Bureau (412-456-2720) has a telephone message system on home remodeling, construction, and maintenance. The following is a transcript of recording #421, entitled Condensation on Windows.

Condensation is visible evidence of excessive moisture in the air. It may appear as water, frost, or ice on the room surface of windows and doors. The warmer the air, the more water the air can hold, which means that the air in the center of any given room will hold more water than the air adjacent to the window or door walls, since this area is always cooler. When the warm, moisture laden air moves toward the cooler window or door wall, it becomes cooler and cannot hold the moisture it held when it was warmer. Therefore, the moisture is dropped and appears as water on the glass and frames of windows and doors. This occurs more frequently during the winter months because of the extreme difference between the inside and outside temperatures. If you wish to avoid condensation during the winter months, when the average outdoor temperature drops to 35 degrees or less, it would be wise to maintain a 25-30% relative indoor humidity.

 Ventilation is a very effective way to remove excessive moisture from the air, which is why old, poorly insulated houses with single glazed windows, often times do not have condensation problems. This is because the air is changed by infiltration around the windows, doors, vents, and other openings. Newer homes, which are constructed to meet current insulation standards and energyconservation requirements, or older homes, which have been newly insulated through the addition of attic and basement insulation and installation of primed windows with dual or triple glazed glass, are now so airtight that they present a new problem.

 All homes will, on occasion, have temporary condensation which is the result of one of three occurrences:

  1. New construction or remodeling:  Building materials contain a great deal of moisture. As soon as the heat is turned on, this moisture will flow out into the air and settle on windows, etc. This will usually disappear following the first heating season.
  2. Humid summers: During humid summers, houses absorb moisture. This will be apparent during the first few weeks of heating. Then the house should dry out.
  3. Temperature change: Sharp, quick and sudden drops in temperature, especially during the heating season, will create temporary condensation problems.

 

If you have an existing moisture or condensation problem, do not count on correcting it merely by installing new windows. An insulated window should help relieve the situation. YOU MUST REMEMBER: Windows do not cause condensation. Therefore, windows cannot cure condensation.”

Any questions? Leave a comment or get in touch through our Contact Form!

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What To Look For When Choosing a New Door

How To Choose A Door

How to choose a door?  We have two series of doors that we manufacture at our headquarters in the Chicagoland area – the 9000 Series Sliding Doors and the 6000 Series Tilt & Turn Doors.  Both have their advantages as they are both absolutely tremendous pieces of kit which can add serious value to your home and comfort.

All of our doors are made from the highest quality virgin vinyl and they are also reinforced with steel for superior strength, giving a much higher Design Pressure (DP) rating, meaning they can be used for commercial projects as well as residential ones.

The 9000 Series Patio Door is perfect as an outlet into your yard or to a balcony area, letting in huge amounts of light and an operating mechanism so smooth and effortless it can be operated with just one finger.  This is down to the unique rollers which are composite materials, the monorail on which the door operates and the superior build quality of the sashes and the frames.

All Climate Solutions Windows & Doors come with multi-point locking systems – the Tilt & Turn Door is particularly secure and impenetrable.   The Tilt & Turn Door is an outstanding accomplishment of engineering and design – modern looking and multi-functional – it is a perfect substitution for a secondary entry door and gives the option of enormous venting windows with its tilt functionality.

Climate Solutions Windows & Doors

Climate Solutions Windows and Doors is based in Chicago, Illinois, servicing the whole of the Midwest with sales across the territory, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and further afield too.  Our reputation has been established by consistently delivering exceptionally high-quality vinyl doors and vinyl windows whilst providing unbelievably great customer service.

We are specialists in all things fenestration, be it custom vinyl windows of any style – Tilt & Turns, Casements, Hoppers, Double Hungs, Escape Windows, Sliders or even Awning Windows – but also customer doors.

When thinking how to choose a door we recommend going to the experts, Climate Solutions, where we will be able to assist you and advise the best options to suit your project and needs.  You can call our office and speak to a friendly adviser on 1-847-233-9800 or alternatively submit a contact form via our website .

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What Should I Look For In A New Window?

Where to Begin?

When it comes to windows, whether they are replacement windows or new construction windows, there are so many options it can be difficult to know where to start.  There are many things to consider and many questions to ask:  ‘What kind of window should I get?’ ‘What material is best for windows?’ ‘Is it important what kind of glass I get?’ ‘What features are important?’  Here, at Climate Solutions Windows and Doors we have got the answer to the question ‘What Should I Look For In A New Window?’

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Where Can I Buy Climate Solutions Windows?

Where Can I Buy Climate Solutions Windows?

One of the most common questions people ask is ‘ Where can I buy Climate Solutions Windows? ‘  We have an extensive network of building professionals, contractors, dealers, architects and developers, having built an outstanding reputation for supreme quality vinyl windows and doors as well as second-to-none customer service.

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Why Should I Replace My Windows?

Why Should I Replace My Windows?

There are many signs that you may need to replace your windows, it could be visible degradation of your existing windows, poor thermal performance or maybe even just the old age of the windows you have.  This article sets out to help you answer the question ‘ Why should I replace my windows ?’ and ‘When should I replace my windows?’

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What Causes Condensation – Exterior Condensation

Condensation

Why do I have condensation on my windows? What causes condensation on windows? How do you stop condensation?  These are all questions that get asked, especially around the end of fall and the beginning of winter as the temperature drops significantly and people notice the environmental changes and sometimes the appearance of moisture on their windows. This article focuses on exterior condensation and it’s causes.

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Sloped Sill vs Pocket Sill

Sloped Sill vs Pocket Sill

At Climate Solutions Windows and Doors, the best vinyl window manufacturer in the Midwest, based in Chicago, we have built a reputation not only on the superior customer service but also the extremely high quality of the product that we build and sell. When it comes to sloped sill vs pocket sill we have the answers.

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Vinyl Window and Door Decorative Options

Vinyl Window and Door Decorative Options

Our vinyl window and door decorative options are plentiful, stylish and top quality.  When asking “What kind of window should I get?” or even “What style of window should I get?” the answer isn’t as simple as ‘Double Hung Vinyl Window’, ‘Vinyl Patio Door’, ‘Tilt & Turn Window’ because with Climate Solutions’ vinyl windows and doors there is an unlimited scope for customization.   Continue reading

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Reducing Condensation

How can I reduce condensation in my home? Here’s our advice:
Advice for Reducing Condensation
•    Reduce moisture sources
•    Stop or severely limit the use of humidifiers, or adjust them to the appropriate setting

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Convection Versus Drafty Windows

Why is it cold near my windows? Why are my windows drafty? These are just some of the questions that can be asked when you feel cold in your home and suspect your windows may be to blame. If you have purchased a vinyl window or vinyl door from Climate Solutions Windows and Doors then you are guaranteed a quality product.  Manufactured in Chicago, Illinois and sold all across the Midwest the brand of Climate Solutions has been built on impeccable quality but also super customer service.

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