Is Window Condensation A Bad Thing? Simply Explained

Researched & Written by Craig

Window condensation can be annoying, especially if it keeps coming back.

But if there’s not a lot of moisture and it only happens now and then, there’s nothing to worry about. However, like all other things in life, if you have too much condensation and it keeps on happening, that’s a problem. 

Condensation happens when warm and humid air meets a cold surface. Think about your washroom mirror. When you take a shower, the air becomes hot and wet. Your mirror is cool so the moisture in the air condenses.

It becomes water and, ta-da, you have condensation on your mirror. This is the same as your windows. 

When your home is humid inside, the air around your windows starts to condense. Especially during the winter, it’s cold outside, so your windows will get foggy more often. This is completely normal. but if your window starts to excessively sweat and leave puddles, it becomes an issue. Not only can you get mold, but it can also cause health issues.  

Don’t panic! Let’s find out how to prevent and reduce condensation on our windows before we start running around in circles. 

How do you prevent condensation on windows?

Luckily, most solutions are easy and free.

You wouldn’t want to spend money on something that you could fix by yourself.

Try these tips one at a time, but if it doesn’t work, move to the next or combine them. With their powers combined, you can get Captain De-Condensation, and he will solve all your problems. 

  1. Turn down the humidifier. This may be obvious, but if you have a humidifier by your windows, move it immediately! If you’re lucky, this will completely solve your problem. If it doesn’t, try turning it to a lower level or turning it off. Especially during chilly days when your windows are more prone to condensation, you’d want to put it away.
  2. Increase air ventilation and open the window. You can also open the door and kick that humid air out to the curb. Fresh and dry air will soon come and replace it. This may not always work as the weather may not allow it, but it’s an easy and free solution.
  3. Circulate the air with exhaust fans. When you take a shower or use the stove, you’re creating a lot of hot air. By turning on the fan in your washroom or range hood, you’ll keep the air moving and cool.
  4. Move your plants. Your potted plants and flowers may look happy on your windowsill, but they add moisture to the air. Place them in a room where the air is well ventilated and avoid overwatering them.  
  5. Turn up the dehumidifier. If all else fails, it’s time to break open the wallet and get a dehumidifier. This typically solves the problem all by itself and it is the most effective solution. However, it’s also the most expensive. 

What if the condensation is on the other side of your window?

Sometimes, you might notice that the other side of the window is wet. Is this a problem? Do you have to somehow remove humidity from the outside?! 

Luckily, no. 

The reason why your exterior window is wet is that humid and warm air is touching a cool surface. It’s just as the same as to why your interior window is wet.

When it’s a summer day, the air inside of your home is cooler than the air outside. Especially if you have your air conditioner on, the air outside is much hotter. As a result, when it comes into contact with your window, it starts to condense

This isn’t anything to worry about. It’s actually a good indication that your window is doing its job and sealing in the air inside your home. Yay! We got good news for once!

What if the condensation is inside your window?

Most people will only have condensation on either side of their windows. Sometimes, though, that condensation can be inside the window. 

When you have a window that has double or triple panes, one of them might start dripping. If it’s the outermost pane, it’s just a case of indoor humidity. If it’s on the inner panes, it’s typically because of a broken seal. This means that you not only have condensation, but you’re also losing heat. 

Unfortunately, this is not a problem that you can fix by yourself. None of the tips above will help you. Instead, you will need to hire a professional and see what kind of solutions they can offer. They may be able to fix the seal or get you an entirely new window. 

The Problems Window Condensation Causes

If you’ve read the previous paragraph and went, “phew! I’m lucky that it’s only wet on my outer window!” you’re not out of the woods yet. If you don’t deal with window condensation, you’ll have a bigger problem than just losing heat. These are some of the dangers that you want to avoid.

  • It can cause water damage. Even minor water damage can be an issue. It can peel paint, leave stains, and damage the drywall. If you don’t take care of it right away, it can get worse and result in a costly fix. 
  • It can cause your house to smell musty. No one likes to have their home reek of a pungent and stale smell. Although this is one of the milder issues of window condensation, it’s still a problem. It can also be an indicator that something bigger is on its way, like the three problems below. 
  • It can grow mold. Living in a house with mold can cause many different health issues. It can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. You might start to build up phlegm and cough more. It might even be hard to breathe. Mold can be extremely dangerous, and it’s important to get rid of it as soon as you see it.
  • It can cause mildew. Mildew is a type of mold that can be more easily removed, but it’s just as dangerous. It can cause headaches and respiratory problems, so you will need to remove it immediately.   It can cause wood rot. When wood is continuously damp, it can start to rot. It’ll attract fungi that’ll live inside and start to eat away. If it’s left untreated, it can destroy the wood’s structural integrity until it collapses. A large amount of wood root can bring down a house. 

Window Condensation: Temporary or Permanent?

You now know how dangerous window condensation can be, so what next? Well, after you take care of your problem, you’d want to immediately know if it’s a short-term or long-term issue. 

The easiest way to find out is to watch for a pattern. Put on your best detective hat and take notice when condensation forms or disappears.

These are a few conditions that cause temporary condensation. 

  • It forms after you take a bath or shower, cook, wash the dishes, or do the laundry. Any of these activities can cause large amounts of steam. Since steam is just hot and humid air, it can easily cause window condensation. 
  • It forms after you’ve remodelled or newly constructed your home. New building materials can contain moisture, especially in wood. When you turn on the heat, it can draw that moisture out, but eventually, it will stop on its own. 
  • It forms during quick changes in temperature. When there’s a sudden drop in temperature, the moisture in the air condenses. You can normally see this happening during the change of seasons, such as summer or winter. You can also see it when the day turns into night. 

If you notice that your windows tend to get wet during any one of these scenarios, you’re in the safe zone. Hooray!

However, if you notice that it’s wet throughout the day and nothing changes, you might have a problem. Uh oh.

It might be something as simple as fixing bad ventilation or needing to replace the window, but it’s recommended that you involve a professional.

You don’t want to risk damaging your home while looking for the cause. 

Conclusion

So, is window condensation a big deal? Yes and no.

If it only happens occasionally and you take care of it right away, you have nothing to worry about. But if it happens all the time or you ignore it, you can have a serious problem on your hands.

Act quickly and make use of the tips in this article before any permanent damage can set in. Afterwards, check if your situation is temporary or permanent. If it’s permanent, find professional help, but if it’s temporary? Sit back and relax.

Thank you for reading! May your windows stay dry from here on out.

Check out our other related articles or sign up for our email list because who knows? Maybe we can help you solve another problem around the house.

Hope to see you next time!

-Hyo Heather Park 


About The Author

Heather has always been the type to tinker with whatever she could get her hands on. As a child, it started with toys, but as an adult, it grew into appliances.

She believes that you shouldn’t have to crawl through a million websites to find an answer to your problem. By writing short but highly informative articles, she provides readers with the immediate solutions that they need. She also likes to keep it casual so readers don’t get bored or feel like they’re reading a textbook.