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Why is condensation appearing on my new windows?

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By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Sep 16, 2019

As the last memories of summer stay etched on our photos and social media updates, the nights have already got colder. The UK has seen a serious drop in temperature since the end of August, and condensation has already been a key thing to force us to admit it could be time to put another later on. 

Sometimes we get a bit of an Indian summer, but those days do not necessarily last too long, and it means we need to begin thinking about how we stop condensation from being a problem into Autumn and beyond. With Christmas decorations already in some shops, there is an admission those cold nights and days may not be too far away, so it is the perfect time to get prepared. 

From the moment you notice condensation on your windows, you can begin to make a plan to deal with treating it, rather than just wiping it off every morning and hoping it cannot spread to the wooden fittings around the edge. 

Luckily, there are lots of ways to reduce condensation and prevent it from appearing. 

The causes of condensation can be varied, and will all depend on how your home is set up. Whether it is a new build, something constructed in the last few decades, or a treasured dwelling that has attached history to it, all can be at risk of excessive condensation if it is not treated with enough importance. 

While it can just seem like something that happens to everyone in their homes, the truth is it depends on the state of the house and the level of upkeep that has been done in the past - possibly before you even moved in. 

As the mercury drops on our thermometers, it starts to become more pronounced. When the air is cold outside and we are not yet reaching to turn our heaters on if it still feels a little early in the year, this is when our windows bear the brunt of all that external cold air, combined with the water vapour we produce.

Everything from our breathing while we sleep to the steam that we generate in our daily activities is going to play a part. The damper you create in your home, the more condensation you are likely to see. For example, if you are still drying lots of washing in your home in a small space, it is only going to generate extra moisture that will be hard to vanish instantly.

Of course, the warmer the home is, the harder it is for cold air to rest on these key points of your home, such as glass panes. This is because the surface area will already be warm enough to repel any water vapour that wants to rest against the colder surfaces from the external parts of your house.

However, doing something like this is not going to be cheap, and leaving the heating running all day, every day, will see you landed with the kind of bills that would make you wonder if such a procedure is worthwhile. In December and January, this makes sense when the temperatures can really dip. But condensation begins to form way before we start digging out several extra blankets to ensure a warm and comfortable night’s sleep. 

What your house is made of also plays a big part in this. Vast, expansive windows can be delightful to look at and are fantastic when the sun shines, allowing rays of sun to beam into your home in a welcoming way. However, the same thing does not always apply to colder months, when it can seem like those big panes of glass are simply magnets to the cold. When there is a bigger surface for the heat to escape from the home, it can be a pain to try and prevent it from escaping. There are, of course, solutions for this like everything else. You can employ thick curtains with something to keep them draped on the floor at the right height to prevent too much heat from escaping, which will do a great job in stopping the build-up of condensation. 

There are plenty of items to invest in to try and prepare yourself for colder months ahead. Aiming to get these things in January does not make a lot of sense on the whole. As although these are indeed the coldest months - many of the problems can be fixed a lot sooner if you explore the right options. 

Some of these are basic and do not require much from your part. It includes getting rugs and carpets where you have hardwood floors and big windows, as this is usually the area where condensation builds the most. If you have people sleeping in a room like this, the build-up of water vapour becomes even more pronounced when you wake up each morning. 

Having a relative inventory of your house can really help to answer the question of why there is condensation appearing on your windows. Even when you think it is not yet cold enough for this to happen. If you figure out where the areas of concentrated water vapour originate from, it makes it more practical to try and combat.

Check out what appliances there are in your kitchen - this tends to be one of the areas where you have the most potential to contribute to condensation. This is where things are heated up most often, including washing dishes, cooking food, boiling the kettle and this kind of thing. Depending on where your washing machine is, seeing if it is connected to effective ventilation is a crucial aspect of finding out where the most significant buildup of condensation is.

Bathrooms also follow a similar pattern, especially as this tends to be the place where the hottest water will be generated on average. Depending on how many people live in your home, a big family can create a lot of steam if there are at least four or five showers a day. Even just a couple is enough to cause problems if it is not attended to in the long run.

This is because in the winter we prefer not to have open windows in our bathrooms, as it is cold, especially when waking up in the mornings. However, that inability to let the steam find its exit means it will only build up in the home instead. That said, facing winter mornings with the window open is not anybody’s dream start to the day, so it cannot be considered a practical solution.

If you have an extractor fan, chances are it will be running all day. This is in the hopes that it will draw out all the moisture while we are washing but do you know how efficient it is?

The older these models are, the less effective they are. Simply because these small motors cannot run at the same speed forever, and might only be doing half the work a newer model would. On this basis, if you have installed it yourself or know it was put in recently, this can help reduce condensation.

If you have no idea when it was placed in the bathroom, and the same goes for any other extractor fan, it might not be running at full capacity. And things like this can make a big difference to how much condensation is appearing on your windows night after night.

Of course, some solutions are expensive in the short-term, some cost more in the long-term, and some just do not work for a specific household which could have some complicated infrastructure issues. The idea is to learn from the general reasonings behind what causes condensation and how you can stop condensation building up on your windows.

On this basis, considering a free home survey is the best way to assess all the angles and take all the little details into account. Due to the fact that not all approaches can be used in blanket cases, looking at ways to prevent condensation on a house-by-house view allows for you to feel confident you are not just guessing at which solutions make the most sense for your house. 

Therefore, a free damp survey offers you the chance to learn how to fix condensation before it gets too cold, and gives you an idea of what to do before winter comes.