Window Condensation

What Does It All Mean & How To Deal

During the winter your furnace finally starts pulling its weight around the house. Which, while it is nice that it is doing something other than taking up too much space in the very little storage you have, it also means you now must deal with an annoying phenomenon: the buildup of condensation or frost along your windows. If you get too much buildup the water may damage your frame and it is hard to spy on your neighbors. There are probably four questions you yell out every time you notice the condensation, and we are going to answer them for you!

Why Does This Keep Happening?!?

Essentially, when warm, moist air (from your furnace) encounters cooler surfaces, the excess moisture in the air condenses. That’s because the cooled air next to the cool surface (your cold window) can’t hold as much moisture as the warmer surrounding air.

But my home is not that old shouldn’t this phenomenon be a thing of the past?

Over the years we have become better and better at sealing our homes from drafts, reducing the breathability of our homes. While this seal allows us to retain more heat it also prevents the drafts that used to help prevent condensation from building up on windows.

…Should I be Afraid?

You should be. While natural it is also a warning sign that your house may have excess humidity. If it is building up on your windows it may be causing damage somewhere else.

Alright Fine I’ll Deal With It … How Do I Stop It From Happening?

There are several ways you can take control of the situation:

  • Use the fans in your home to move the air around the house and bring in fresh air. Most newer homes are equipped with a ventilation air fan, if you turn this fan on it will bring fresh air into your home and remove old stale air. The drawbacks to using this method is that the fresh air it is bringing in is crisp cold winter air. Opening a window will also give the same effect but will be extremely cold, and as my dad used to say “ARE YOU TRYING TO HEAT THE WHOLE NEIGHBOURHOOD?!”
  • Upgrade your thermostat or install a humidistat in an easily accessible area. This option gives you better control of your humidifier if you have one. A standard flow-through humidifier is generally connected to your furnaces fan. When your furnace turns on to heat your home so does the humidifier. The right thermostat can control your humidifier which means you can turn it off and on at will instead of whenever your furnace turns on. This will help you remove some moisture from the air and keep condensation down. A steam humidifier also enhances the level of control you have over humidity levels in your home.
  • Install a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). A HRV is the most effective way to prevent condensation buildup. These units exchange cool outside air over a heat exchanger with the stale air from inside your home. An HRV can recover 75 to 85% of the heat from your stale old air as it expelled from your home. This heat is then transferred to the new incoming air. These units are miles ahead of any of the other mention methods of preventing condensation buildup.

Even though this annoying buildup of water can be troublesome there are ways to stop it! Give Firefly a call we can give you some more detailed advice over the phone or come by and give you a quote on one of these options! Don’t worry though we won’t open your windows and tell you to put on a sweater unless we must.

 

window-condensation

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