Having window problems? If you're like thousands of other American homeowners, window problems are an eventuality. This is especially true if you live in an older home. While repairing the pane and setting is important, it's also important that you diagnose what caused the issue, too. In this handy guide, you'll learn how to diagnose and fix two window problems American homeowners face each year.
Fogging Between Multiple Panes
Multi-pane windows serve a very important purpose--they are an appropriate choice in climates that experience temperature extremes or year-round precipitation. Double or triple panes provide an additional layer of insulation, keeping extreme cold or heat locked out of your home. The inside area between each pane is pressurized using a variety of gasses, giving it more durability and helping to prevent excessive heat transfer.
Fogging between multiple panes is very common, especially in older windows. This symptom points to a failure in the seal around the glass panes itself. Usually, it is the inside surface of the outermost pane that experiences fogging. Fogging and condensation occur for two main reasons:
- The broken or breached seal depressurizes the area between each pane.
- Moisture, hot air, or cold air enters the chamber and then evaporates.
The most common time for this to occur is in the morning, as morning temperatures rise, as the warmth of the sun causes moisture to condense more rapidly.
Unfortunately, this problem really doesn't have an easy fix. It's nearly impossible to clean the glass without disassembling the window, and reassembly requires pressurization equipment to restore the balance between the panes. The only true fix for fogging windows is to replace the window or have a glass repair specialist remove, re-pressurize, and re-insert the panes back into the frame.
As prevention is easier than the cure in this situation, consider purchasing windows with a 10-year or 20-year warranty going forward. Most protect against seal failures for the length of the policy.
Sweating on the Inside
This is an extremely common symptom. While it may seem related to the issue mentioned in the previous paragraph, it's actually unrelated to your window's pressurization or seal and can happen to any window in your home. When sweating occurs on the inside of your windows, it's a sign that your indoor humidity is far too high--something that's common in bathrooms and kitchens.
Because glass maintains a lower temperature than both the air and most surfaces within your home, warm air is more likely to touch it and condense. The result is drippy, sweaty window pane surfaces that seemingly produce moisture out of nowhere.
Sweating windows aren't a devastating repair issue, but you should take action to rectify the problem as quickly as possible. High humidity and sweating is a sign of a bigger overall problem, and it will eventually affect far more than just your windows. Too much moisture in the air can lead to mold, wood rot, and a variety of other issues throughout your home.
Thankfully, this problem has a number of easy fixes! First, use a soft absorbent towel to dry off any moisture. Then, address the humidity levels in your home. Turn on fans, increase your central air levels, and get the air moving around as much as possible. Turn on bathroom or kitchen fans to help vent off moisture and warm air.
If you're asking yourself what the "right" level of humidity is, you're not alone. Many homeowners struggle with finding the right balance. Ideally, humidity levels should be no more than 50 percent in the summer or 30 percent in the winter.
Caution! If you have a gas-fired appliance, have it checked for venting problems, too. Sometimes, window sweating is the first sign of a venting problem within a gas stove or oven. Improper venting is often due to a gas leak, and may lead to gas poisoning, so it pays to have your appliance reviewed if you aren't sure.
Finally, having your entire HVAC system reviewed is wise. Failures within duct work, piping, or your furnace may result in temperature and humidity variations that cause your windows to sweat.
Overall, keeping your humidity low and your temperatures consistent will help to ensure that your windows remain in good condition for years to come. Be sure to check the seals, weather stripping, and frame at least once every few months for issues. If you find degradation or suspect a problem, take action immediately before the problem worsens. For questions about these window symptoms, or to replace windows, contact a professional repair shop such as The Door and Window Store today.