Water collecting on your new windows is a bad sign. Or is it? Just because you can see moisture on the window panes doesn’t necessarily mean your windows aren’t sealing or are badly installed. It could mean that your home has a humidity problem.
Understanding Humidity, Condensation and Airflow
All homes have moisture in the air (called humidity), and this is a good thing. Without it, furniture would dry and crack, your home’s joints and studs would shrink and twist, and the paint and plaster would disintegrate.
Too much moisture in the air isn’t a good thing, either. When it’s colder outside and warm indoors, the moisture contacts with surfaces such as windows, mirrors, bathroom walls and cold water pipes, where it turns into condensation and causes all sorts of water damage.
And where does it all come from? Lots of places. Showers, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, house plants, and even humans and pets can create humidity, which in turn causes condensation.
Older Homes and Moisture Levels
You might think older homes would be more prone to condensation and humidity problems, because they’re generally less energy-efficient, but that’s not necessarily true. In many instances, condensation is actually less of a problem because aging and poor seals around doors and windows allowing for more airflow.
Unfortunately, the added airflow, and less humidity, means your energy bills are probably higher. Once you replace the worn windows and doors, however, may end up with condensation on the windows again because there’s less airflow and excess moisture inside the home.
Moisture in New Homes
New homes have the added benefit of being far more airtight and energy-efficient than older ones. After all, they have better insulation and newly sealed windows and doors. They also have plastic sheeting inside the exterior walls called a vapour barrier that prevents air and moisture from passing through the walls. And it works.
Your energy bills will definitely be lower, but it also means you’ll need to monitor the humidity levels in your home more closely. As with older homes, you need to find and maintain the appropriate moisture levels.
Monitoring and Controlling Humidity Inside Your Home
Air that’s too dry can cause just as much damage as air with too much moisture. You need to find the right moisture level for your home, monitor it, and have some way to control it. To find out exactly what the humidity levels are at in your home, invest in a humidity gauge that you can get from any hardware store or home center. Just be sure to get a quality unit, so that you get accurate readings. And if you’re unsure, consult an expert.
Watching the windows for condensation also helps to assess the humidity levels in your home. If you see condensation starting to form on the interior side of the glass, wipe it off and reduce the humidity by opening windows, running an exhaust fan or a dehumidifier and minimizing the source of the moisture.
Condensation Between the Glass
The same things that cause water to collect on the interior side of your windows and doors can also cause condensation between the panes of glass in your designer series windows and doors. In this case, you’ll want to check the hinged glass panels to make sure the shipping spacers have been removed and that the panel has been fully latched. To check, just give a slight push at each latch point.
It can also happen if the air inside your home is cool (from air conditioning, for example) and the air outside is extremely humid. In this instance, make sure there are no air vents blowing directly on the windows. You might also want to increase the temperature slightly.
Moisture on the Exterior Side of Your Windows and Doors
It’s normal for condensation to build on the exteriors of the windows and doors in the morning, when the days are warm and humid and the nights are cool. This moisture will generally go away as the day warms up. It can also happen when the outdoor air is warm and humid, but the interior air is cool. Believe it or not, this is actually a good sign. It means your windows and doors are doing their job properly, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Condensation can be a bit scary when you see it, particularly if it’s on your new windows and doors, but it doesn’t have to be. It can even be a good thing! The trick is to monitor the moisture level in your home and make simple, yet quick adjustments to keep everything working and in tip-top shape.