As the weather in Southern Ontario continues to wind down with the approach of winter, homeowners may begin growing concerned with the amount of frost and condensation that can start appearing on their windows at home. The accumulation of condensation not only influences the temperature on the inside of your home, but also results in moisture collection that can lead to unwanted effects such as the formation of mold and mildew.
Condensation on interior windows results from excessive moisture in the house, which usually occurs in the cold months of winter due to the warm air inside the home that condenses on the cold surface of windows. The installation of new windows before winter is in full force can aid in the prevention of window condensation from forming to begin with.
Why Does Condensation Form on Windows?
Condensation happens when warm, indoor air hits the cooler surfaces of windows. The effect is similar to that of a drinking glass filled with a cold beverage on a warm summer day.
Condensation that occurs on a windows’ exterior usually occurs during the warm summer months. If there is rain and humidity, exterior condensation can happen. This means that the house is keeping the warm air out and retaining a colder interior temperature.
Interior condensation becomes a larger issue in the winter. This is because of the cold, frigid temperatures in Canadian winters that cause the collection of snow and frost at the outermost portion of the windows. This turns into condensation even more rapidly due to the rapidly dropping temperatures during this time.
Technically, condensation can happen at any time of the year whenever warm air touches the cold surface of glass. The moisture creates droplets of water on the window pane, which can lead to mold formation at the bottom of the windows at your home. This can pose health hazards especially to those with breathing difficulties, such as those with asthma.
In addition, issues in the vapour barrier of your home can allow warm, moist air to make its way into internal wall cavities, condensing there as it does on your windows, and lead to the formation of hidden mold and fungus.
Can I Prevent Condensation From Replacing My Windows?
While replacing your windows with new ones entirely can decrease the rate at which condensation forms, it does not completely prevent its formation. Older windows may present problems related to air leaks or drafts, which can allow moisture to escape without landing on your windows. However, new windows are very tightly sealed and the air is kept inside the home a lot more effectively. This can also lead to the formation of condensation.
Energy efficient new windows result in a higher contrast between temperatures indoors and outdoors. Because condensation forms at a certain humidity level, new windows prevent this from happening in the first place. In addition, energy efficient window material such as vinyl windows will help in the prevention of heat loss. This helps retain a higher amount of moisture in the air and prevents it from forming on your window and turning into condensation.
All homes will occasionally have temporary condensation as the result of 3 conditions:
- New remodelling or construction: Building materials contain a lot of moisture. When the heat is turned on for the first time, moisture will flow into the air and settle on the surface of your windows. This will usually revolve on its own after the first heating session.
- Temperature changes: Sudden drops in temperature, especially in the heating season, can result in temporary condensation issues.
- Humid summers: Southern Ontario is no stranger to hot, humid summers, which will cause our homes to absorb moisture. During the first few weeks of running the heat, the moisture should disappear and dry out.
Tips to Prevent Condensation Formation on Windows
Circulate the Air
One of the best ways to prevent the formation of condensation on your windows is to ensure the air in your home is properly circulated. Ensure your air extractors are functioning and working properly to vent air outside the home instead of inside.
Take Plants Outside
While indoor plants are a great way to decorate your home, homeowners with issues related to condensation may find it helpful to move them outside when possible because plants produce moisture. Though this is not an option for Canadians during the winter time, plants can also be moved to a sun room that stays dry.
Install Energy Efficient Windows
The installation of energy efficient windows can significantly cut your heating and cooling bills. These windows can also help you maintain a stable and comfortable internal home temperature all year long.
It is important to keep in mind that new windows take time for the structure of your home to adapt to them. As time goes on, condensation formation on your windows should be an issue of the past.
Decrease humidifier usage
The use of humidifiers in a bedroom or nursery can also contribute to the formation of condensation. In this case, try turning it down in an attempt to release less moisture in the air, in turn reducing the amount of condensation formation
Use fans in your bathroom and kitchen
One of the best ways to eliminate humidity from your home is to vent it outside with exhaust fans. When you cook or shower, ensure you use the fans in the bathroom and kitchen. Showering and cooking releases a lot of moisture into the air, and this moisture usually cannot escape from your home very easily. Exhaust fans located in your kitchen and bathroom will help make this process easier. For optimal effectiveness, keep the fans on for 15 to 20 minutes after you shower or cook.
In conclusion, the formation of condensation on the surface of your windows is very common and affects the large majority of homeowners in Southern Ontario. It is a seasonal problem that becomes apparent when the weather drops during cold Canadian winters and can be easily addressed with the adoption of these habits.