Don’t ignore condensation on windows
Correct the conditions that lead to moisture collecting inside your windows before it leads to bigger problems.
If you can’t see out your windows because of condensation, you’ve got more than a visibility problem. Excessive condensation on the inside of windows can lead to conditions that can harm your health, damage your home and result in costly repairs.
How window condensation happens
Condensation begins with excess humidity in the air. When moisture-laden air hits colder surfaces—like windowpanes—water collects. It’s the same dynamic you see in the summer when you have an icy cold drink in a glass and it begins to “sweat.”
On occasion, condensation may even appear on new windows. A bit of condensation for a short period is not cause for alarm. However, water that repeatedly collects on and around windows can lead to mold, mildew and rot.
Left unchecked, condensation on windows can eventually damage the window itself, drywall, trim and even floors. Plus, even small amounts of mold can lead to irritation of the respiratory tract, eyes and skin.
If you have window condensation, it’s wise to correct the problem before it causes bigger problems.
How to correct it
Correcting a humidity problem requires troubleshooting, but first you’ll want to address the problem for the short term. Dry the affected areas by wiping them with an absorbent towel as often as needed until the problem is corrected.
A permanent fix requires a bit of sleuthing to identify what’s contributing to high humidity indoors. Here are some places to start:
- If you use a humidifier as a stand-alone unit or one that’s attached to your furnace, it may be set too high. Lower the humidity level.
- Do all family members run the bathroom fan while showering and for 15-20 minutes afterward? Steam from showers is a common source of excessive indoor humidity.
- Look at your cooking habits. When cooking on the stovetop, use lids on pots and pans to keep water vapor trapped. Also, use the exhaust fan to move humid air outdoors.
- In some cases, humidity comes from a basement or crawlspace. A dehumidifier will dry the air.
- Circulating the air with portable or ceiling fans can cut down on condensation.
Get the right humidity level
The goal in controlling condensation isn’t to remove all the moisture in the air. Very low humidity can also cause wood furniture and floors to shrink and warp. And, air that’s too dry can lead to dry sinuses and skin. The Mayo Clinic suggests a humidity level of 30-50%.
You can measure humidity levels with a digital device called a hygrometer; some cost as little as $10.
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