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Drippy Windows: A lesson in condensation

by Kathy Ziprik

Have you ever noticed after taking a hot shower that your bathroom mirrors and walls "fog up" and get "sweaty"? This happens because the steamy air in the bathroom is higher in moisture content than the cooler surfaces it touches. The same thing can happen both inside and outside the home on your windows.

You don't have to live in the high humidity areas of southern Florida or Alabama to notice condensation on your windows. Experts at Simonton Windows® report that all areas of the country can sometimes experience fogging of glass during certain weather conditions or interior situations. Imagine cooking pasta in your kitchen: the steam created by boiling water often adds moisture to the room resulting in windows temporarily fogging up.

Occasional humidity on windows, mirrors, and other areas of the home is not a problem, but consistent condensation on windows, walls, and ceilings should be taken as a warning sign that you may have an elevated humidity level in the home. Why is that important? Because excessive humidity levels can damage a home's structural elements and make the home less energy efficient. For example, if walls and ceilings are continually damp to the touch, the home is more likely to attract mold and mildew.

Since glass does not absorb excess moisture, it's more likely that you'll notice windows fogging up than a wall becoming damp. If inside glass surfaces on double- or triple-glazed windows show excessive condensation, you can be reasonably sure that moisture is also collecting on walls and ceilings. A dehumidifier in the home is a good start to solving a high humidity problem. Use of vents in bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens is another positive step. Don't overlook your attic. Make sure that all functional louvers are cleared of debris and operating well to allow trapped air to escape from the attic and create a good airflow.

It's important that the inside surfaces of your windows remain clear and condensation-free. However, don't panic if the outside of your windows show condensation during extreme temperatures. This means that your insulating glass is working—it's protecting your home by preventing moisture from entering.

"One of the keys to protecting your home is to use insulating glass in windows that is suited for your geographical area and personal needs," says Dennis Sellers, executive vice president of product development for Simonton Windows. "Selecting options that offer year-round thermal benefits, like Argon-filled, low emissivity glass, can help maximize the sun's rays to lower heating and cooling costs. At the same time, dual- and triple-glazed glass new construction and replacement windows can help insulate the home and prevent excessive condensation problems."

For more information on protecting your home from mildew, condensation, and mold, visit the following web sites:

www.energystar.gov www.aamanet.org
www.efficientwindows.org www.edgetechig.com

Simonton Windows offers top-quality "made-to-order" vinyl replacement and new construction windows backed up by outstanding customer service. For more information on Simonton Windows, and to receive a free booklet, "A few things to think about when you're thinking about your home," call 800-746-6686.

Copyright © 2002 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.



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