It’s that time of year, it’s getting really cold out and we all have to button up before we head outside. You are also likely to button up your home more as well. Newer homes with all the energy efficient technologies out there are much more airtight than older homes. While this is good for your heating and cooling bills, this can cause other issues in your home.
A lot of people ask how to keep your windows from frosting up? Even a reputable builder in Wisconsin, such as Belman Homes, will get these calls from time to time.
First of all, relax, this is very normal, especially in newer homes because they are so much tighter than older homes which didn’t have the benefit of building technologies, foam insulation, tighter windows, and gaskets behind the outlets among many other improvements.
To answer this question, its best to understand what is going on in your home first…
The best example of this is to think about when you take a really cold can of soda outside in the summer. What happens? Well, due to the temperature difference the warm air hits the cold metal can and condenses and the can gets wet and drippy. The same thing happens with your windows. The cold outside air hits the glass cooling it and then the warm air in your home hits the glass, cools and condenses. Volià! Water forms.
The larger the temperature differential, the faster and the more water will accumulate on the window surface. If left on wood windows for a long period of time, moisture can penetrate the varnish on wood and then start turning an unsightly black color. This doesn’t happen as often with vinyl windows as vinyl doesn’t conduct heat as well as wood.
As it gets colder outside your heat starts to run more on the inside of your home and you tend to keep the doors and windows shut. Your home will not be able to breath as well as it usually does.
“That’s great to know…now how do I prevent water from collecting on my windows!”
There are a few easy solutions to help:
The first solution is to reduce the relative humidity in your home. Turn on your bath fans when taking a shower and make sure to run them for 15-20 minute after you complete your bath. Make sure to use the hood fan when boiling water. Even your breathing creates humidity in your home (don’t stop that though)! So, if you can control how much moisture is in your home, you can reduce how much accumulates on your glass.
If it is a bathroom that is the biggest issue, you may need to go with a higher cfm exhaust fan, and possibly increase the size of the duct on that fan to the outside.
Homes with lots of people living in them or homes with lots of plants and pets will have more moisture inside of them. Even fish tanks and dog water bowls will add moisture to your home.
Another easy solution is to crack a window open for a short period of time, provided it is not too cold out. On nicer days it is a good idea to open your windows to get fresh air in the home. It will make you feel better as well!
If you are noticing only certain windows in your home with frost or moisture on the inside, it is likely that you need more air movement in that room or location. When your furnace blows your heat the air will most likely move straight up (remember warm air rises). Air does not follow the nooks in your home and the warm air will not blow directly upon your glass surface. You can change that by running a fan to blow the air horizontally against the glass. This will increase the temperature of the glass and prevent some of the condensation. Air movement is key here.
If the window is covered by a thick or heavy blind, or fabric curtain, you might need to lift the shade up so that warm air will hit the window reducing the condensation. It is a good idea to keep the shade open slightly to allow for better air flow.
If those solutions do not work, then you might want to look into a HRV-Heat Recovery Ventillator. This device will give you periodic fresh air exchanges, yet keep your energy efficiency. This is done by a coil exchanger that heats up from the warm air in your home going out and then the warm coil heats the cool fresh air from outside. The HRV also has a humidity control, which will automatically maintain your desired humidity.
Hopefully this information will help you solve your window condensation problem on your own and remember, winter only lasts for around three months.