Q - We have several newer double-pane windows that always fog up between the glass. Some people tell me it’s because of a bad seal on the edge and the whole window needs to be replaced, others say we can just replace the glass and not the frame. What’s the deal??? We also have had a problem with condensation on the inside that runs down and rots the wood frame on some of our older windows.
A - Windows don’t cause condensation. They just prevent the moisture in the home from escaping to the outside.You may think I’m all wet, but I’ve decided to talk about condensation, only because I receive a lot of questions about foggy windows in the winter.
I often get calls from homeowners who are concerned that their windows are ‘sweating’ or leaking either inside or outside the home because they see moisture on the glass.
It’s important to know the difference between condensation on the glass and between the glass panes of the window.
If you see moisture, fogging or cloudiness between the panes of glass in your window, this indicates that the seal of your window has failed and it’s time to get a new window. Failed seals lack the energy efficiency and features necessary to help you keep energy bills low and enjoy comfortable living in your home.
If the inside glass surface on double- or triple-glazed windows show excessive moisture, you can be reasonably sure that the moisture is also collecting on your walls and ceilings. This means you should take steps to reduce the humidity level in your home by using exhaust fans and dehumidifiers.
A lot of the water vapor is created by the inhabitants.
A family of four can add a half pint of water vapor every hour to the home just through normal breathing and perspiration. And, if you take a five-minute shower, you produce another half pint of water vapor. Even the simple act of cooking dinner on a gas stove can produce two and a half pints of water vapor.
Water vapor is part of our lives and our homes. To help control the amount of condensation in the home, here’s a short list of things to consider:
Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
If you have a humidifier, set it to the correct outside temperature.
If your home is overly humid, or if you have a damp basement, use a dehumidifier.
Properly vent clothes dryers, gas appliances and stoves.
Open a window in the bathroom.
Make sure your attic, basement and crawl spaces are well-ventilated and free from obstructions.
Store firewood outside. Freshly cut wood can consist of up to 45 percent water, which adds water vapor to the home. Even well-seasoned firewood generally has a 20 percent to 25 percent moisture content.
Open curtains and blinds to allow more air circulation around your windows.