Common Causes Of Window Condensation In New England

Glass window pane with a white frame showing signs of condensation buildup.

Who Knew Little Droplets Of Water Could Be Such A BIG Problem?

At various points throughout the year, your home will show signs of condensation; it’s almost guaranteed in New England. With our region’s extreme temperature changes, it’s natural that your home’s windows will get a little foggy every now and again.

But there IS a difference between natural condensation… and condensation caused by a structural issue with your home. The tricky part is finding out which one YOUR home is experiencing.

In this article, we hope to answer that question and more to truly help you understand the most common causes of window condensation in your home.

What Is Condensation & How Does It Form?

Condensation is when little droplets of water form on the surface of an object. Condensation occurs once indoor or outdoor temperatures reach the dew point level. You may have noticed dew forming on your grass or car on an unusually cool summer morning, or on your living room windows on an especially cold winter day.

Condensation can happen year-round when warm or cold air makes contact with an object with the opposite surface temperature. For example, when you are running your fireplace in the winter, condensation will form on the inside of your windows as cold outdoor temperatures make contact with your comfortable home temperature. Humidity plays a massive role in determining the amount of condensation that will form in your home. More humidity, more condensation.

In the summer, because surfaces are naturally warmer, condensation will occur when temperatures turn cooler at night, resulting in water vapor condensing and forming visible droplets. This process is the exact opposite of evaporation. 

Common Causes Of Window Condensation

As we have established, humidity is the root cause of condensation forming inside the home. Because windows are typically the coldest surface in the home, It’s very common that condensation will show itself first on windows. Let’s go over the common causes of window condensation:

  • High Levels Of Humidity Within The Home / Outside: If condensation is forming on the inside of your home’s windows, we can almost guarantee it’s due to high levels of humidity in the home. As outdoor temperatures change, so should the home’s relative humidity.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that all homes stay below 60% humidity to reduce the risk of excessive condensation build-up and other issues associated with moisture.  If condensation is forming on the outside of your windows, then that means that outdoor humidity is very high.

  • Shower / Bath: We are sure you have noticed condensation forming on your bathroom mirror after a nice hot shower, especially during the colder months of the year. The hot steam from a shower greatly increases humidity levels throughout the home, starting with the bathroom.

    As this humidity makes contact with your cold bathroom mirror, it will start to fog up from condensation.

  • Faulty Insulation: One of the most common, and unfortunate, causes of condensation within the home is faulty insulation. Your home’s insulation is key in maintaining a comfortable living temperature and acts as the mediator between your family and the outdoor elements. As insulation fails, warm or cold air can easily enter the home and disrupt the air chemistry.

    It is important to note, however, that brand-new homes with perfect insulation can still develop condensation on the windows from other sources of humidity.

  • Poor Quality Windows: Windows that leak air or are dilapidated from old age can greatly increase your chances of developing condensation. If you are experiencing condensation forming between the two panels of glass, there may be a deeper issue than simply humidity. 

Preventing Condensation From Forming In Your Home

Completely preventing condensation from forming within your home can be almost impossible. The goal shouldn’t be to completely prevent condensation from forming, it should be to prevent it from forming frequently in excess.

Use taking a shower as an example. Condensation will form on your bathroom mirror 99% of the time you take a shower, but running a fan or opening a window will allow proper ventilation for that condensation to dissipate.

Running a dehumidifier, or multiple, in your home will help monitor the relative humidity levels within the home which, we now know, is the main ‘food’ source for condensation. If you have central air in your home, be sure to regulate your home’s humidity levels throughout the seasons for best results.

In some cases, a full window replacement may be needed to further protect your home and provide better energy efficiency. 

Condensation Is Not Always Cause For Alarm.  But When it Is, We Are Here To Help!

Every home in New England is different, just like each of you! Every home faces its own unique set of struggles from time to time. At Jancewicz & Son, we don’t operate on a “one size fits all” mantra. Determining the best solution for condensation buildup in your home may seem like a complicated endeavor, but don’t fret!

Your local home remodeling experts are on the case! If your condensation problem has escalated out of control, give our highly trained team at Jancewicz & Son a call at 1-800-281-3585, or contact us today! 

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