What causes condensation?
There are certain weather conditions throughout the year - usually during autumn and spring - that leads to condensation forming on the outside of windows. This can cause people to believe their windows are faulty, but more often than not it’s a transitory effect that clears within a couple of hours.
Condensation appears on a surface when it’s cold, due to factors such as outdoor weather, and then water is released into the air. Single glazed windows and bathroom mirrors are often exposed to condensation because of the warm, moist air created when running baths and showers, and your kitchen windows may experience temporary condensation when cooking.
When a window drops below its “dew point,” condensation will appear on the surface. As a rule, the warmer the window, the less likely it is to attract condensation. This means windows that are made-to-measure, and units that boast double or triple glazing, suffer far less from condensation as they retain more heat.
However, in the case of K emissivity glass, which provides particularly great insulation and allows less heat through it, the pane feels cooler from the outside. Therefore, if cold overnight temperatures are followed by a sudden temperature rise or moisture in the air, condensation may appear externally until the window temperature exceeds the dew point when it will completely disappear.
So how do you stop such a commonplace problem happening within your home?
Our top 10 tips for preventing condensation on windows
One of the most common problems of condensation is that air is simply not circulating properly. Try to open all of your windows daily, even for 10-minutes. Newer windows come with multi-locking ventilation systems so you can fix your window in a position that allows air circulate without becoming a security risk.
2. Be resourceful when cooking
If you're using pots, pans and ovens, turn on extractor fans and opens doors so that the excess heat is able to filter through the home and not remain trapped in the kitchen. If you are able to open the window, even a little bit, then it will all help prevent the build-up of excess moisture until the room returns to its normal temperature.
3. Keep a lid on it
Pots and pans have lids for a reason, and by making sure you keep the lids on, you can prevent excess amounts of steam from infiltrating your home and stop one of the main causes of condensation. By the way, you don’t have to actually see steam for the moisture to work its way into the atmosphere. If the water’s boiling, the lid should be on.
4. Timing is everything
When running hot water in the bathroom, and when cooking in the kitchen, it's important to leave your extractor fans on for longer than you think you need to as moisture can linger in the air after the heat has been generated.
5. Better out than in
Ideally, clothes can be dried outside so it doesn’t cause an issue on the inside of your home. As British residents though, let’s face it, indoor drying is often a must, so make sure you open a window to an enclosed room and ensure that any pipes to tumble dryers lead all the way outside.
6. Mind the gap
Pushing items of furniture right against walls can trap air around skirting boards, which is likely to create black mould. To stop this from happening, leave a little gap so the air can escape.
7. Clear blocked airways
Blocked chimneys and vents can trap airflow and cause great problems in the long run. Remember, ventilation is the most important thing when it comes to stopping air “condensing” on your windows and walls.
8. Be consistent
As we all know, it’s not only cold in the winter and a good, consistent level of temperature should be maintained throughout the entire house all year round. Failing to do this will lead to cold sinks, and as cold air causes warm air to release moisture, heating certain rooms and attempting to lock others off doesn’t necessarily work.
9. Put a cork in it
Heat rises, but water drips, and so you should regularly check your roof to make sure it's free from damage. Loose tiles can allow rainwater inside and if water starts seeping from the roof down, it is something that's far cheaper and easier to deal with when detected early.
10. External vigilance
The purpose of drain pipes and gutters is to carry water away from your house. Broken materials will leak and blockages can lead to your external wall getting soaked. This can cause a whole manner of issues if the problem isn’t dealt with, so make sure you keep an eye on the home’s surroundings.
For more detailed information on windows, check our Windows Buying Guide.
'What causes condensation?'