What is Condensation?

What is condensation

One of the most irritating aspects of being a homeowner can be finding condensation in between your double glazing. Condensation is water that builds up on a cold surface that’s come into contact with humid air. The scientific definition for condensation is when a gas becomes a liquid. Water vapors in the air condense when warm air meets a cold surface, which forms drops of water and becomes condensation. As double glazing uses two panes of glass, warm and cold air can mix in between the panes, causing condensation to form.

You may be wondering how to stop condensation on double-glazed windows in winter. Many people, however, are unsure if condensation is a problem rather than an annoyance. The truth is condensation can cause a wide range of issues, especially on double glazing, which is easily preventable.

Why is Condensation Bad?

Wet winters and cold weather are common in the UK, so condensation is something we’re all used to. However, when cold air combines with humid air to create condensation, many potential issues arise. Not only is it irritating to have to wipe away from your windows throughout the day, but condensation can also lead to mould, damp, and mildew. These types of growth can be detrimental to your health and cause you to incur expensive repair or replacement costs.

Condensation can reduce the durability and longevity of your windows. If water pools around the sealed unit for extended periods, this can cause long-term damage that may lead to irreparable damage. Condensation can also lead to the growth of mould, which can cause the entire window frame to deteriorate too, as well as possible health issues for your house’s occupants.

What Areas Are Impacted by Condensation

Condensation usually forms on windows with single glazing. Because there is only one pane of glass, there is less glass separating the warmer air inside your home and the colder air outside. When you see condensation commonly forming on a double-glazed window, this could be a sign there are damaged window seals. However, condensation isn’t always a sign that your double glazing needs repairing or replacing.

The inside and outside of the window pane, and the inside gap in between the two panes of glass in double glazing. 

Internal Condensation

Internal condensation, when the moisture is found on the inside of your windows, is due to limited air circulation or high humidity levels in your home. It’s difficult to avoid condensation forming on cold surfaces in your kitchen or bathroom because of unpreventable moisture and humidity. However, the problems condensation causes are easy to stop with the right solutions.

If there are cold surfaces covered in condensation, wipe them down using a cloth as soon as you notice the water droplets. The longer you leave them on the surface, the higher the risk of mould forming and damage occurring. To prevent condensation on the cold surfaces inside your home you need to improve air circulation, remove any moisture quickly, and reduce humidity.

One way to do this is by maintaining a consistently warm temperature inside your home, which reduces how many cold surfaces there are in your home. In your kitchen and bathroom, make sure you turn on an extractor fan when you’re cooking or using the bath or shower. This reduces moisture in the air to prevent condensation from forming, which may lead to mould or damage. A dehumidifier is another solution, but leaving this tool running 24/7 may spike your electricity bill.

Outside Condensation

While rare, condensation can form on the outside of your windows. Both single- and double-glazing can be surfaces where condensation forms if the windows are not thermally efficient. Most common in the night or early morning, outside condensation occurs because the air outside is warmer than the surface of the window.

There is a relatively simple solution and that’s to allow wind to blow past your windows’ surfaces. In your garden, there could be many items that are blocking airflow around the glass, such as tools and garden ornaments. Moving these items reduces the risk of condensation forming and causing potential issues.

Double-Glazing Condensation

Over time, double-glazed windows will deteriorate which increases the risk of condensation forming in between the two panes of glass. Connecting the two panes of glass is a seal that creates a sealed unit. 

This sealed unit begins to crack after an extended period – how quickly depends on the build quality of the double glazing. When the seal is no longer effective, this creates an ‘air gap’ between the two panes of glass where moist air can meet warm air and form condensation.

When you see condensation forming in double-glazing, this also means that heat is escaping from your home. This could be the reason why your heating bills are higher than usual and some rooms seem colder than others. If you’ve noticed water droplets in between your double-glazing, the most likely cause is an issue with the seal that either requires a repair or replacement.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Windows?

Repairing the sealant around the double-glazed windows is the most effective way to prevent condensation from forming. However, the seal may be beyond the point where a repair is possible, so will need replacing. So, how do you know whether your windows need replacing or repairing?

A repair may be more affordable than a complete replacement initially. If your window frames still retain their quality, an expert window repair company can fix the issue. However, a window replacement may be the more cost-effective choice in the long term. It’s a big decision and it can often be difficult to know which option is right for your home. To understand all the information clearly, get in touch with window experts you can trust.

Call our friendly team at Northants Windows on 01604 946669 or visit our contact page for more information today.