Winter Window Woes
During the winter, windows have the potential to be both an enemy and an ally. They let light into your home, but they can also bring cold air, frost, and condensation. Here's how to get the most out of your windows during the winter time.
Why Do Windows Get Frosty?
Over the course of a subzero night, windows, (especially the older single-glazed, metal-framed ones) will often become very frosty. This frosting isn't exclusive to older windows. Windows of all ages will be exhibiting varying degrees of the same effect.
Frosty windows are a result of condensing moisture in the home. As vapor droplets in the air come in to contact with cold surfaces on the window, they can sometimes cool down into water droplets.
If this happens all night long, there may be a considerable accumulation of water. In some cases, the water droplets freeze shortly after forming on the window, causing ice to build up.
Prevent Frosty Windows from Damaging Your Home
To help correct this issue, attention should be paid to the amount of moisture in your home and the interior temperature of the window glass and frame. Moisture cannot be eliminated from your home entirely, but it can be reduced. This can be achieved by:
Turning your furnace humidifier down or off
Ensuring your clothes dryer is venting properly
Using kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans when cooking and showering
Opening a window periodically when things feel "stuffy"
We recognize that it's only possible to do so much, and if your windows are cold enough the sweat will still form. This is why we also encourage homeowners to warm up the surface temperature of the window glass and frame.
Old windows may be drafty. This will be apparent in cold air whistling through around the edges. Replacing or improving weatherstripping can often solve a draft problem.
If the room has only one pane of glass between it and the outside, install a storm window. This will warm up the interior pane. With a newer double-glazed window, the glass and frame temperature should be reasonable.
The trick now is to assess the heat source in the room. The heat for the room is delivered at floor level right below the window. The idea is that the warm air, either from a furnace register or a radiator, washes up the window, keeping the glass and frame nice and warm, reducing or eliminating condensation.
A related problem in many homes is the window treatments. California shutters look great and can block out light, but when closed they also block warm air from reaching the window, leading to condensation in cold spells. The solution is to open up the louvers, or open the shutters. Many blinds and drapes have the same effect. When closed, find a way to prop them out at the bottom so that the warm air can go up between them and the window.
If you've tried everything, and still you have a window or two that sweat uncontrollably, hardware store plastic sheeting will work nicely. This remains the cheapest solution for your windows. A better, but more expensive solution? Replacing those old windows with new multi-glazed coated windows.
Stay Warm, Safe and Dry with Carson Dunlop
We believe that knowledge is the best tool when it comes to protecting the biggest investment of your life, your home.
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