Winter Window Condensation

humidityDo you have problems in the winter with dry skin and nasal passages?  Is there condensation forming on your windows?  In the winter when our houses are sealed tight the humidity level can lead to winter moisture problems.  According to Ken Hellevang, an agricultural engineer with the North Dakota State University Extension Service,” a relative humidity of 30 to 40 percent is considered optimum during the winter”.

“Window condensation is one way to tell if the humidity level is off in your house.  If the inside temperature is 70 degrees and the relative humidity is 35 percent, moisture condenses on single-pane windows at 30 degrees”, Hellevang says.  “With double-pane windows, condensations will form at temperatures below zero.  With three layers of glass, condensation will not form until outdoor temperatures are about 40 degrees below zero”, he says.

Condensation will form at higher temperatures if air leakage cools the window surface.  If you have cracks in the windows they should be fixed or at least taped to help seal the air leakage.  Use weather stripping or caulk any areas around windows and doors where there are noticeable leaks.  Even installing plastic thermal covering on windows will reduce air leakage which will commonly contribute to condensation problems.

A few practical tips to help you stay warm and eliminate mold formation include:

  • Open the drapes on sunny days. This will let in the warmth during the day. Closing them at night will help to retain the heat. Make sure that it is not a tight seal to allow for air circulation which will help keep mold from forming on your windows.
  • Make sure that your furniture is away from the heat registers to allow for air circulation in your house. Also keep some space between the walls and the furniture for air circulation. If the walls are not insulated well the temperature difference between outside and inside can cause moisture to develop and could cause mold to grow on the walls.
  • Closed closet doors can also be a problem . If you start to notice mold growth on outside walls leave the closet doors open to allow for heat to enter and air to circulate.

Watching your homes humidity will keep your house comfortable, help you save energy and keep mold from growing and causing health and structure problems.  Remember changes made to improve your homes energy efficiency will also have a positive impact.

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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One thought on “Winter Window Condensation

  1. Beth, this is an excellent article, and I enjoyed reading this. I know how winter window condensation works, and I can now utilize this information in one of my projects. That makes me happy.

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