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Condensation on windows


rlskfoster
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We recently moved into a new home. This is a new home with low-e metal framed windows with gas-fired heat. The home was well constructed, in my opinion, and any issues I raised during construction were handled without arguments. I had inspected three or four of this local builders homes in the past and was always impressed with the homes. It is a family owned business that builds 75 to 100 homes a year in our hometown and locally.

During a recent cold snap the windows sweated more than I would have expected. Temps were in the upper twenties with a north wind 15 to 20 mph. Sleet and freezing rain fell off and on during the day and night. When we had our walk thru the builder had mentioned that we would see some condensation on the window frames. Well I didn't question it, but, I was not expecting water to pool on the window seat.

What should be expected and is there a cure?

Thanks

Buster

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Hi Buster,

If whatever air change method you've got is set to change the air in the home at least 4 hours a day, and that the relative humidity in the home is maintained at 45% or less, there's probably not a whole lot more you can do to stop that condensation from happening.

Are you quite certain that your furnace is vented properly and isn't back drafting exhaust gas into the home, because that will put a lot of water into the air? When I was growing up, we had a gas stove in the kitchen with a permanently lit pilot light and that used to ice up all of the windows in the winter. When my Dad finally replaced that stove with one with an electronic igniter, the ice buildup was practically eliminated. You don't have one of those ventless freestanding gas stoves, do you?

I'm assuming that when you say "metal" you're talking about aluminum window frames. We see a lot of those here and see the condensation all the time. You could try performing an experiment. Rent a dehumidifier to see whether using it to reduce the humidity in the home still further will stop the condensation from forming. I think you'll reduce it, but I doubt that you'll be able to totally eliminate it. Aluminum is a wonderful conductor of heat to cold and that's just the nature of those aluminum window frames. However, should it work, you might consider getting one and using it when the weather is very cold.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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20 degrees is often a warm spell in Buffalo. Condensation - especially in new homes - is commonly seen here. Building materials release a great deal of moisture during the first year of occupancy.

If you have a humidifier - turn it off or lower it (duh).

Most importantly, and something we learn quickly up here, is to provide ventilation to your windows. Window treatments that do not allow air flow across the window surface profoundly effect condensation.

We like a very dark room for sleep, so we pull the shades every night. When we awaken, the first thing we do is raise the shades so that the condensation will evaporate. During the 9 hours or so that we sleep, the condensation forms just on the glass, but if we leave the shades down night and day, the condensation builds and drips onto the sill. Our windows are double-pane, with wood interior trim, so we have generally open window treatments.

Originally posted by rlskfoster

We recently moved into a new home. This is a new home with low-e metal framed windows with gas-fired heat. The home was well constructed, in my opinion, and any issues I raised during construction were handled without arguments. I had inspected three or four of this local builders homes in the past and was always impressed with the homes. It is a family owned business that builds 75 to 100 homes a year in our hometown and locally.

During a recent cold snap the windows sweated more than I would have expected. Temps were in the upper twenties with a north wind 15 to 20 mph. Sleet and freezing rain fell off and on during the day and night. When we had our walk thru the builder had mentioned that we would see some condensation on the window frames. Well I didn't question it, but, I was not expecting water to pool on the window seat.

What should be expected and is there a cure?

Thanks

Buster

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The builder had told us to leave the blinds up off the seat and opened to allow ventilation. We had forgotten to do this and since I opened the blinds it significantly reduced the condensation.

The heating units are attic mounted horizontal Tranes and vent to the exterior with typical b-vents. I believe they are venting properly.

The condensation was a little more than I expected and it made me wonder if I missed something during construction.

Thanks for the replies.

Buster

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Hey Buster, what you see is very typical here. I am in DFW and see it all the time. The newer homes are much better since the Energy Code mandated a thermal break in window frames. Typically this will only happen during rapid drops in the temperature when high realative humidity is trapped in the house and condenses on the colder window frames. Be sure to use exhaust fans in bathrooms, etc. to reduce humidity from occupancy like showers and cooking. Even slightly opening a couple of windows for a few hours will help dilute the humidity load. Worst case, wipe off the condensation during severe weather events and wait for the weather to change, it is Texas after all. (For those outside of Texas, the old saying here is: (If you don't like Texas weather, just wait a while, it will change)

Jim

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  • 1 year later...

I got a call from a landlord that is having a mold problem in one of her rentals. The problem has her in L&T court.

After cleaning the mold, it reoccurs. She has informed me that the windows are sweating quite a bit, which by the way, are the problem areas.

I asked her if she home had single pane or insulated glass windows, she was unable to answer the question.

At this point, I have no clue about the construction of the building or what I will be facing until I look at it tomorrow. I have been considering different possibilities, they include: non insulated glazing,lack of storm windows, faulty frames, metal frames, metal frames w/o thermal break, windows blocked from ventilating, improper venting of a gas appliance, leaking steam pipe, improper moisture barrier.

She did tell me that the heating system was recently serviced, but until I see it with my own eyes, I consider that hearsay.

Does anybody have any input?

I will post pictures tomorrow.

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One thing is for sure - windows do not create moisture. The rate that they will condense moist air into moisture is dependant upon many variables. Many people quickly blame windows but overlook the obvious such as long hot showers, cooking, etc that create humidity - yet they will not turn on exhaust fans or exhange the air.

My sister rented an older frame home with plaster interior walls. In the cold winter, moisture condensed on the plaster and ran down the interior of the walls.

When I was employed by a window distributor, there were many times that people would blame the windows for condensation. We had a 2 page write up explaining how and what causes condensation.

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