Interior condensation is the consequence of having weather-tight windows. Since the warm air inside the house cannot go outside, it turns into liquid upon touching colder surfaces like glass. This is especially more apparent in the winter when furnaces and boilers run constantly. Condensation may seem harmless, but liquid water can damage construction materials, such as metal and wood, and set the stage for mold growth.
Fortunately, most new windows in Salt Lake City and other cities with seasonal cold weather have enhanced condensation resistance. Chances are these units are designed with Low-E coatings and argon gas, which are considered standard features of double-pane products these days.
But then again, upgrading to Low-E-coated and argon-filled units may not suffice to combat interior condensation successfully. To prevent your windows from sweating as you heat your home in the winter, consider these strategies.
1. Look for a Warm-Edge Spacer
A spacer is the window component that keeps panes in place. It acts as a thermal bridge, causing the heat to flow between two sheets of glass. It is important to have a low-conductance spacer system to help insulate a window at the edge.
Apart from the proper application of a specialized sealant, good material choice is key to design a warm-edge spacer. Spacer bars are usually made of metals like aluminum and stainless steel to reconcile durability and energy efficiency. However, many other “warm” options are far less conductive than commonly used metals. Do your research to properly differentiate warm-edge spacer technologies.
2. Put a Premium on Ventilation
Ventilating your rooms, especially those that have high moisture levels on a regular basis, can reduce indoor humidity effectively. Since outside air is usually drier than inside air, ushering drafts in can help expel moisture out. Exhaust fans can keep your kitchen and bathrooms more resistant to condensation. A healthy ventilation system in the attic helps protect the roof sheathing against moisture damage.
But then again, ventilation, be it through natural or mechanical means, maybe a bad option when your heating equipment is in use. You may end up wasting a lot of energy and compromise your home’s comfort.
3. Go Easy on the Humidifier
If you normally use a humidifier, turn it down a little to avoid bringing more moisture into the air. After all, high indoor humidity does not necessarily make your home healthy. There is not enough evidence to support the notion that moisture-ridden air promotes wellness. But since breathing dry air can cause respiratory and skin problems, you may not want to shut your humidifier off completely.
4. Invest in Vapor Barriers
Vapor barriers regulate moisture flow at the molecular level from outside in and from inside out. They are usually used in crawlspaces to cover the earth and keep soil moisture from getting into the rooms above.
While window condensation cannot be eliminated entirely in your airtight house, you can dramatically reduce it using the abovementioned strategies. Each measure has its own caveats, but an experienced home improvement specialist can aid your decision-making.