Why do your windows steam up in winter and how can you prevent it?

"Steamed-up windows can look unsightly, but more than that, condensation can be detrimental to both our house and our health. "

With winter’s sharp drop in temperature comes condensation problems in our homes. Steamed-up windows can look unsightly, but more than that, condensation can be detrimental to both our house and our health. 

In short, condensation on windows is caused by excess indoor moisture. Problems arise when this collects on windows. It can damage window seals and trigger the formation of black mould. Living in a home with mould and mildew is likely to cause health issues, and exposure to mould can lead to allergic reactions such as sinus and nasal issues – sneezing, runny noses, coughs and in some cases even rashes and respiratory problems. Moulds can bring about attacks for people who suffer from asthma too.

In terms of your home, excessive moisture can mean mould forms not just around the windows, but on walls and ceilings as well. Left untreated it can lead to deterioration in plaster and floors and even the structure of your home. The good news is, that condensation on your windows is the first place you see evidence of excess moisture in the air indoors (AKA humid air), as the glass is the coolest surface inside your home. Once you know you have an issue with humidity you can work to rectify the problem.

So, my windows aren’t the reason for condensation?

That’s right, your windows are not necessarily the reason why you are getting condensation. Window panes in general are susceptible to condensation in the winter simply because of the difference in temperature between the outside air and the inside air. 

A quick science lesson for you: Condensation forms when moisture contained within warm air contacts a cold surface – such as glass. The warm, humid air then cools, contracts and condenses into a liquid on the window glass. 

However, you should of course check that the condensation is on the room side of the glass – i.e not trapped between panes of double glazing. A quick test is to wipe away an area of condensation, and check that it goes away. If it remains visible, closer inspection will probably show you that the condensation is trapped between the panes. If this is the case, you’ll likely need to contact a window professional for repairs or even new replacement windows.

How to prevent condensation on windows

Remedying condensation on windows involves wiping them over daily – a tedious and time-consuming task, particularly if you have numerous or sizeable windows in your home. A better solution is preventing condensation on windows in the first place.

There are several ways to prevent steamed-up windows in winter and all of them involve reducing the humidity in your home:

Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Opening your windows regularly for just a short period of time will let the cooler, drier air into your home and allow moist, humid air to escape. Just a few minutes is enough to be effective with only minimal heat loss.

Invest in a dehumidifier or moisture eliminator. These relatively affordable pieces of equipment draw water from moisture-rich air. Often they will have humidity sensors which work to control indoor moisture levels.

Avoid hanging wet clothes to dry inside. Using your tumble drier, and ensuring the vent is outside is one option. The alternative is to pop wet laundry on an airer in one room with the door closed and the window open for optimal ventilation.

Extraction in the bathroom – Post showering or bathing leave your extractor fan running for 10-20 minutes longer to extract the steamy air out. Better still, switch the fan off, close the bathroom door and open the window.

Extraction in the kitchen –  Likewise, when cooking on the hob, use your extractor fan or open a window. And leave the extractor fan on a while longer after cooking for maximum effectiveness. 

Rearrange your houseplants – if you’re a houseplant lover, a good idea in winter can be to spread these throughout rooms of your house. This way they will draw moisture from the environment and you will have to water them less – win-win! 

Insulate your home – A longer-lasting solution to minimising condensation is ensuring your home is well-insulated and energy efficient. Modern double glazing, wall insulation and draught-proofing are worthwhile investments if you are worried about black mould growth. Better insulation can prevent sudden costly repairs, and work to reduce heat loss in your home.

If you are in Ipswich or the wider Suffolk area and think replacement windows could be the solution to your window condensation issues, then get in touch with us today!

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