How Condensation Affects Your Windows

Every year, the United States market for window installation receives more than $6 billion in revenue. More than 54,000 people in the U.S. work in the window installation industry. However, people might not spend so much on new windows each year if they knew how to make sure theirs lasted as long as possible.

A graphic depicting condensation on a window.

Many people do not realize that condensation can cause windows to wear out faster than necessary. Especially in the winter season, it is important to know how to respond to finding condensation on your windows. That way, you won’t end up with an unnecessary and expensive window replacement.

So how does condensation affect your windows, and where does it come from? Read on to learn all about the most important things to understand about how to respond to finding condensation on your windows!


What Causes Condensation on Windows?

In general, window condensation happens when moisture in the air comes in contact with a cold surface. The glass in your windowpanes can become quite cold, especially during the winter months. If you combine that with a humid home environment, you end up with condensation on your windows. The humidity in the indoor air of your home starts to collect on your cold windows and forms beads of moisture.

Although this is the general cause of condensation, there are specific factors that make condensation more or less likely to happen in your home.

If you are finding condensation on your windows, that may indicate that you have one or more of the following issues.

An image of a window alongside a description of the causes of condensation.

You may have a problem with the insulation in your home. The poorer the insulation in your home, the more likely you are to develop isolated cold spots. Even if most of the insulation in your home is fine, a gap in one part may lead to a windowpane that gets colder than others.

If you have high humidity in your home, that can also lead to condensation. This may be normal if you live in a humid climate. However, it is possible that condensation on your windows is a sign that your home has an unusually high level of humidity.


Reducing Condensation

Understanding this can help you design interventions to help solve your condensation problem. For example, you might decide that you will manage your window condensation by reducing the humidity in your home. This is a simple fix because dehumidifiers are affordable and simple to use.

On the other hand, you might deduce that your problem may come from an issue with insulation. This is more likely to be the case if you have also noticed spots in your home that seem cool or drafty.

You might decide to try to solve your problem by filling in any gaps in the insulation of your home. In some cases, gaps in your insulation will be around doors or other areas of your home. However, sometimes problems with your insulation are right by your windows.

West Shore Home installers replacing a home's windows.

In such cases, resolving your insulation problems may also require you to find window repair services. Finding quality window installation and repair services may also be necessary to deal with the aftermath of condensation on your windows.

If we suppose that you solve your condensation problem with a dehumidifier, then you will still have to decide what to do about the damage that has already been done to your windows.


How Condensation Affects Windows’ Lifespan

But what kind of damage does condensation on your windows lead to?

When beads of moisture form on the inside of your windowpanes, gravity starts to pull them down. Beads of moisture travel farther and farther down until they find a surface they can soak into. In many cases, that means that condensation on your windowpanes will lead to damage to your window frames.

A rotted window frame alongside a description of how condensation can damage windows.

If your window frames are absorbent due to being made of wood, they will end up collecting all of this moisture. Even a few days of collecting drops of water from the condensation on your windows can lead to significant water absorption. You may find that your window frames swell up or crack or otherwise display signs of damage.

This can also lead to an unfortunate feedback cycle. Whatever condensation is on your windows leads to damaged window frames. Then, damaged window frames can lead to poor insulation around your windows.

In some cases, this can also allow humid air inside. The result is even more condensation on your windows. When that condensation causes further damage to your window frames, you will end up in a feedback cycle with a worsening condensation problem.

The result can be that your windows wear out much faster than usual. Even if you do not notice acute problems, you may find that your windows start to develop chronic problems as years drop off their typical lifespan.


The Effects of Excess Moisture on Mold and Mildew

On top of everything else, if your window frames are absorbing a lot of water, they can start to foster mold and mildew. This is bad enough because of the damage that it causes to your windows and home. However, once mold and mildew have infiltrated your home, they can spread.

An old picture window alongside a warning about mold and mildew buildup.

As you live in an environment with more mold and mildew, you may start to experience health problems. Children who grow up in an environment with a lot of mold and mildew have a higher chance of developing asthma.

There is also a higher chance that they and others in your home will experience more significant respiratory symptoms when they are sick. In other words, what starts out as a relatively simple problem can snowball into bigger and more varied problems.

It is also possible that your window frames are made of a material that does not collect moisture. That means that drops of condensation will continue to flow downward until they find another surface they can absorb into. That means that window condensation problems can also lead to mold and mildew on your drapes or in other areas of your home.


Condensation Between Windowpanes

Although it is somewhat less common, you may even find condensation between windowpanes. Some windows use multiple windowpanes with insulating gas held between them. If one of these windowpanes develops a leak, then that insulating gas can escape.

The exterior of a small single-story home.

This also allows other air to enter the windowpanes. If this air contains a lot of moisture, then that can lead to condensation between your windowpanes.

If you only have one or two windows that display this problem, a window repair service may be able to replace individual panes in your windows. However, if the problem is more developed, you may need to replace whole windows to resolve the problem.


Managing Damaged Windows

Keep in mind that you will encounter more condensation on your windows during the winter months. The problem may fade away into nothing as the seasons change. However, your problem will likely return when it gets cold outside again.

On top of that, your problem will likely persist during the warmer months of the year. It might just be harder for you to notice it. Even if it seems like your problem has cleared itself up, there is a good chance that there is a persisting issue with your windows that have collected condensation in the past.


Finding the Right Window Installers

You may need to seek professional help to prevent condensation from forming on your windows. West Shore Home® can assist homeowners with all of their window replacement needs.

A West Shore Home installer repairing a homeowner's window.


Understand How Condensation Can Affect Your Windows

Many people do not realize that finding condensation on their windows is a problem. Learning more about the causes of window condensation and how the winter season can contribute to them can help homeowners take better care of their windows.

To learn more about how to keep your windows in top condition, reach out and get in touch with us here at any time!