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What Causes Window Condensation & How To Get Rid Of It

Window Condensation Cause & How To Get Rid Of It

Window condensation is a common problem, particularly in the colder months. If you’ve been waking up to find condensation between windows, pools of water around your windowsill or black mould forming on window panes, know that you’re not alone.

Condensation occurs in many types of houses and knowing the causes of condensation and how to alleviate it can help prevent more severe damp issues from developing in your home. In this article, we’ll reveal what causes condensation on windows, what to do about window condensation, as well as unveiling the very best remedy for condensation on windows.

What Causes Window Condensation?

Condensation happens when warm, humid air comes into contact with a cold surface which reverts it from a gas back to a liquid. It’s most common during winter when central heating is being used during the morning and evening. One place you’re most likely to spot condensation is on your windows.

Where Does Window Condensation Develop?

You may be wondering where to spot condensation on your windows. There are several different places on your window where condensation can develop. These include:

On the inside of your windows

Condensation is often most noticeable on the inside of your windows. This condensation appears as water droplets on the inside glass panels. It may look like the windows are steamed up or are simply wet.

What causes condensation on the inside of windows?

This interior condensation is usually caused by steam from cooking, such as cooking food in pans or by steam from a shower. Excess humidity levels inside your home are one of the main causes of condensation on the inside of your windows. However, it could also indicate a draught problem. If there is moist air travelling into your home via a specific window, moisture will appear on that inside window first.

The best remedy for condensation on the inside of windows

If the condensation is caused by excess humidity, one of the best ways to alleviate it is by using a dehumidifier. This will reduce moisture in the air. If your condensation is from your shower, consider implementing an extractor fan to remove the humidity from the air. If one of the causes of condensation on your inside window is due to draughts, then you may need to consider replacing your window or use a preventative measure like a self-adhesive foam strip or a brush strip.

On the outside of your windows

Condensation on the outside of your windows appears as water droplets or slightly steamed up windows. You’ll notice this may look like rain droplets.

How is condensation formed on windows externally?

This type of window condensation occurs when the external air is slightly warmer than your window glass. The weather outside may be warm or cold when external condensation occurs. However, the good news is that your windows are doing a good job of keeping heat inside your home.
The best remedy for condensation on the outside of windows
External condensation normally goes away on its own once the sun comes out. Though, you can always wipe away the moisture on your windows if you wish. It’s still a good idea to check your internal windows for any gaps between frame and glass as any draughts may cause interior damp or internal window condensation to take place.

Between window panes

Condensation between windows can be confusing. After all, how does moisture get between two pieces of glass? This condensation may look like fog, and you’ll probably notice that while it’s not on the internal piece of glass, it also isn’t present externally either.

Causes of condensation between window panes

Most windows have two or three panes (pieces of glass) in them. These are meant to offer extra insulation to your home, with the empty space between each piece of glass holding an insulating gas, such as argon. The window is then completely sealed to be air-tight. When condensation between window panes occurs it means this insulation gas has failed to do its job. Water vapour gets in-between the pieces of glass when their temperature falls to a level below the dew point of the air surrounding it. Not only does this cause condensation to occur, but it also means that your windows are letting heat out during winter.

The best remedy for condensation between window panes

New windows will ensure that your home is securely insulated to prevent warm air from escaping and condensation building up between window panes.

On double glazed windows

Condensation on double glazed windows may appear similar to condensation between window panes. You will likely notice water droplets in the middle of the glass panes so it appears as though the windows have steamed up or are foggy.

What causes condensation between double glazed windows?

This condensation could be due to the insulation failing (see the above paragraph on window panes) or it could be that the sealant around the window glass has failed because of deterioration or becoming loose. Additionally, the uPVC frame may have cracked, causing water to enter.

The best remedy for condensation on double glazed windows

Depending on the nature of the problem, window replacement may be the best option, especially if they are old. However, applying a new sealant is a more affordable option and adequate if only the seal is damaged.

On the window sill

Condensation on the window sill appears as small pools of water either on the sill or at the bottom of the window.

The causes of condensation on window sills

This may be due to condensation dripping down the internal window onto the sill, especially if you have a lot of water gathering on your windows. You’re more likely to notice this in winter when the weather is colder and you’re cranking the heating up inside your home.

The best remedy for condensation on window sills

Try opening your windows slightly when cooking or having a shower. This will help any excess moisture in the air to escape outside. Alternatively, try using a moisture trap on your window to absorb water. Wiping down your windows when you notice condensation can help to remove water. Either use a squeegee or a cloth to effectively wipe your internal glass windows.

Is Window Condensation A Problem?

How extensive an issue is window condensation? While it may seem like a relatively minor issue, condensation on your windows could become a serious problem if it’s not tackled. Here are just a few challenges that severe damp can pose to both people and buildings:

  • Serious damp on the inside dry walls next to your windows, including visible water damage, stains etc
  • Mould and mildew on your internal window frames and sills which are visible as black or brown dots. This can cause structural damage, including rotting wood
  • The expense of replacing windows, fixing wall and structural damage
    caused by damp
  • Health issues, such as sinus problems, rashes, throat irritation, eye irritation, coughing, wheezing, lung infection, respiratory illness,
    development of asthma in children
  • Using energy unnecessarily as the heat from the sun is being used
    to evaporate condensation rather than warm up the home

How To Reduce Window Condensation

Now you’re aware of what causes condensation on windows, it’s time to look at what to do about window condensation. Here are some handy tips on reducing window condensation within your home, including the approximate costs and whether this is a temporary or long-term solution.

Run a bathroom fan while showering

This solution is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of humidity in the air. Humidity is one of the main causes of condensation and as your bathroom is likely to be the most humid area within your home, it makes sense to start here. Using a bathroom fan as ventilation during and after a shower will effectively reduce the amount of humidity within the air.

Cost involved: Around £300 for the cost of installation. If you’re installing the fan yourself, you can expect to pay up to £100 depending on the fan you purchase.

Use pan lids when cooking

Ensuring you use pan lids when cooking on the hob prevents excess moisture escaping into the air. You can also use a cooker hood to help extract this moisture while you’re preparing food in the kitchen or boiling the kettle. This solution can be costly, but it will help to significantly reduce condensation on your kitchen windows in the longer-term.

Cost involved: Up to £400 for the kitchen hood, including installation. This cost will vary depending on the model used and if you install it yourself. The cost of pan lids is significantly cheaper at around £5 upwards for a pan and lid.

Buy a dehumidifier

This solution helps to remove excess moisture from the air, reducing the level of humidity within your home. This type of equipment pulls air via a fan to eliminate moisture. While you can use them in any room of your home, it can be costly for you to invest in several machines.

Cost involved: Around £50 upwards. There is also the cost of running a dehumidifier to contemplate. This can be around £10 per week per dehumidifier.

Close the doors in your home

Keeping the doors closed within your home prevents warm air from escaping into cold rooms. While it’s not practical to keep the doors closed all the time, shutting them as much as possible, especially in humid areas like your bathroom and kitchen will reduce the amount of condensation on your windows.

Cost involved: Free.

Avoid drying wet clothes inside

Wet clothes release large amounts of moisture into the air, more so than most other things. One laundry load can cause five pints of water to escape into the air. That means you could experience heavy condensation on your windows. Additionally, it can also reduce the quality of the air indoors, particularly if you’re using heavily scented cleaning products to wash your laundry. Instead, dry them outside or invest in a tumble dryer.

Cost involved: Free to dry clothes outside. A tumble dryer can cost around £200 upwards plus running costs. Depending on the brand of machine, it can cost on average £20 per year for 60 minutes usage per week.

Use VOC free paint in your home

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds which are found in many water-based paints. The moisture from these paints escapes into the air unless the area you’re painting is well-ventilated. Try using paints during summer to enhance indoor ventilation or purchase VOC-free paint instead. You can find low-VOC paint, too.

Cost involved: While they can be more expensive than traditional paint, VOC paints tend to be more eco-friendly. Depending on the volume purchased, a small pot starts from around £5.

Choose the right houseplants

Did you know that certain houseplants can increase the humidity within your home? Plants such as ginger, bamboo palm and monstera intensify humidity levels. As an alternative, opt for plants which will improve air quality. Spider plants, cactus, orchids and peace lilies are all great plants to choose from.

Cost involved: From around £3 upwards.

Check for water leaks

Are there any water leaks in your home? Any source that can increase humidity should be checked, including pipes, gutters, roof coverings and downspouts.

Cost involved: The cost of fixing or replacing the source of the water leak. For example, the price to fix gutters can be around £30 per metre for uPVC and £60-70 for cast iron.

Wipe down your windows

While wiping your windows is only a temporary solution and won’t effectively prevent window condensation from happening, it will prevent pools of water collecting on your window sill and it may reduce mould or mildew.

Cost involved: The cost of a squeegee or cloths.

Open your windows

It may not be practical to open your windows in winter, but it is one of the best methods for reducing condensation when you’re cooking or in the shower. Just keeping them open for an hour or two can have an impact. Remember to keep your windows open for longer when the weather is warmer for improved ventilation.

Cost involved: Free

Avoid using portable gas or paraffin heating

These types of heaters are not only responsible for toxic fumes, they also cause a lot of moisture. Most rental property agreements do not allow portable gas or paraffin heaters to be used due to health and safety. However, it’s advisable to avoid using them in your purchased property too.

Cost involved: Free

Cover up your fish tank

Fish tanks and indoor aquariums can enhance air moisture if they’re not correctly covered. You’ll also prevent any fish from jumping out! A hood or cover isn’t overly costly, although it does depend on the size of your tank.

Cost involved: Around £20 – 30.

Ensure your heating is adequate

Good heating within your property will prevent condensation occurring, as well as keeping surfaces warmer. Adequate central heating will also prevent temperatures from fluctuating to prevent damp from forming on your walls.

Cost involved: Expensive. The cost of installing energy-efficient central heating in a two-bedroom home is around £2000. However, this permanent investment will significantly reduce window condensation and damp within your home.

Install the right insulation

Effective insulation like double-glazed windows and loft and wall insulation keeps heat within your home, prevents window condensation forming between panes of glass and stops heat from escaping. This permanent home solution for condensation and damp also keeps surface temperatures at a higher level.

Cost involved: Expensive. Installing new double-glazed windows for a 3 bedroom semi-detached house is on average £5000. The cost of loft insulation for the same size house is around £300, while cavity wall insulation is around £500.

Monitor moisture levels

Invest in a moisture meter to monitor the moisture levels inside your property. This will help you to know when it’s the best time to use a dehumidifier, open your windows or invest in permanent methods to reduce the risk of condensation.

Cost involved: Around £20 – 25.

Check the exterior of your property

Check your exteriors for any cracks or damage to the roof, walls or windows that could be letting moisture creep in your home.

Cost involved: Depends on the area that needs fixing or replacing. Wall cracks may need extensive work which can cost up to £5000. Sealing windows or doors costs around £45, while fixing a roof repair is £150+.

Is It Possible To Get Rid of Window Condensation Completely?

It’s much easier to prevent window condensation than eliminate it completely. Insulation and ventilation are the only real ways to avoid window condensation. While opening windows is an effective method for removing excess moisture from the air, it’s not always the most practical solution, especially when it’s cold, snowy or rainy. Therefore, investing in suitable insulation and ventilation, such as extractor fans and double-glazed windows, will keep condensation at bay in the long-term.

We’re Specialists in Window Condensation

Now you know what causes condensation on windows and what to do about window condensation, it’s time to contemplate a professional condensation treatment. A professional remedy for condensation on windows gives you a full diagnosis of your problem and a tailored solution for your home. We’ve been practising condensation control for almost 50 years. Receive our expert help today. Get your free quote for condensation treatment today.

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