What causes Window Condensation in Buffalo, NY
What causes Window Condensation
in the Buffalo, NY Area
Most old windows in the Buffalo, NY area have condensation build up in the winter. This is common with single pane, defective double pane, and even some newer windows that area only about 10 years old. When visiting a home, I frequently get asked by the prospective customer, «What causes this condensation build up that my windows are experiencing?» Condensation can cause a lot of damage to the sashes, sills, and sometimes even to the walls and floors below the window. I will try to give you a better understanding of what causes condensation and how to minimize it.
What Causes Condensation?
Although, condensation manifests itself on cold windows, they are not the cause. Humidity in the home is the cause. Moisture in the air tends to condense on cold surfaces in your home when the air reaches its dew point. This only happens when there is a difference between inside and outside temperatures and when the humidity of the warm side is high. Typically, the coldest surfaces in a home are on the windows. But, I have also seen condensation form on the walls of homes not insulated in the city on very cold days. If the humidity inside your house is very high, condensation can form with as little as a 40 degree difference in temperature from inside and outside.
What Causes Humidity?
Humidity can be caused my many things in a home. Running a hot shower, especially if the bathroom is not vented. Gas cooking appliances are another one. A by product of burning natural gas is H2 O. Also, poorly vented gas furnaces, and hot water tanks may be the problem, as well as being unsafe. And, don’t forget the humidifier attached to your furnace.
So far I have only talked about the negative effects of humidity, but it does have value when trying to stay warm. Increased relative humidity in your home will make you feel warmer. Just like the wind chill factor, relative humidity can make you feel warmer or colder. If the temperature is 70 degrees and the relative humidity is 80%, it will feel like 71 degrees. But, if the relative humidity is only 10% it will feel like 64 degrees. This explains why people living in Arizona can deal with the 100 plus degree days because the relative humidity is very low. A home should usually be kept at between 20% and 60% relative humidity. You can purchase a cheap digital hygrometer for as little as $20 that can give you a relative humidity reading in your home.
Solution to Condensation?
As you can see, removing all the humidity in your house is not the best solution to the problem. This would cost more in heating fuel just to feel as warm as with high relative humidity. First, it is best to figure out if you have a relative humidity that is too high in your home. If so, try to figure out the cause. Can you install a ceiling fan vent in the bathroom? You may also consider buying a dehumidifier for your home. These can be a little expensive to run.
Purchasing replacement windows with double pane or triple pane glass that is filled with argon or krypton gas will allow you to keep the temperature and relative humidity higher. These gases are very heavy and do not move around between the panes of glass very much. This reduces the amount of heat transfer from the inside to the outside of the window. These windows should also use some form of warm edge technology to reduce conduction at the edges of insulated glass units.
Purchasing Replacement Windows
If you have a condensation problem and live in the Buffalo, NY or WNY area, I would love to help you access your condensation problem. Kindly fill out our Replacement Window Quote Form and I will contact you. If you live outside the Buffalo, NY area, please fill out the Window Quote form and a window contractor in you area will be more than willing to assist you.