“Help! How to get rid of condensation in my windows? There’s got to be a solution to this!”
We get asked this question so many times and it’s not something easy to fix. And no amount of window cleaning can really help fix this issue.
We assume that you have double pane windows. If you have condensation on single-pane windows, there is actually a solution.
For condensation on single-pane windows, you would need to free your home from moisture and have good ventilation throughout your home during the winter and summer months.
This can be done by:
- Leaving the windows slightly opened so moisture doesn’t get trapped in your home which causes the water vapor to form.
- Have proper ventilation installed and running in your home.
- Dry your clothes outside.
- Cover all pots and pans when cooking.
- Keep the temperature inside as close to outside, but this can get slightly too cold in the winter seasons.
That’s the solution to condensation for single-pane windows.
Most of the homeowners in the U.S and especially those living in Austin, TX have double pane windows. When double pane windows get condensation forming in between the two frames, there really isn’t, much you can do.
You have three options when it comes to condensation on double pane windows, and that is to:
- Let it be and just live with it for the rest of your life.
- Get a window company or window cleaning company to drill a couple of holes into your windows and suck out all the moisture (you’ll get rid of the fog, but the streaks will remain).
- Get a professional window company to remove the pane and fix the Insulating Glass (IG) Unit (More on this in later parts of this article) components.
- Get a professional window company to completely replace the window(s).
In our opinion, it’s best to just get the windows completely replaced.
The reason is that when double pane windows form condensation inside between the two panes, it’s a clear indication that the entire system is broken. And no matter how much you try to repair it, the condensation will come back quite soon.
To really understand why condensation even happens in the first place, we need you to understand the entire anatomy of the modern double pan windows.
Don’t worry it won’t be too difficult and we’ll not get too technical. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to do further research on your own and make the best decision for yourself rather than get talked into spending more money than you intended to.
You can stop reading here and go get those windows to replace, but if you want to keep reading we’ll breakdown exactly what makes up your double pan windows, how the component works, Why condensation is a big deal, and how you can use this information to choose the right windows for you and how to make your windows last longer.
The Anatomy Of Modern Double Pane Windows
Here’s a picture that displays the anatomy of double pane windows:
Let’s dissect the window pane and tell you exactly the purpose of each component and why the windows must have these components to keep condensation (also known as chemical fogging) from happening.
This is the windowpane facing the inside of your home.
Depending on the quality of the window you purchase, the higher quality windows have a thin layer unseen by the naked eye of coating that helps reflect hot air (in the winter) and cold air (in the summer) from escaping your home.
This helps your home stay at a comfortable room temperature year-round and reduce the amount of work your HVAC system has to do.
Thus you save much more money in the long run.
This is the windowpane facing the outside of your home.
Also coated with a thin layer that helps reflect and minimize the number of ultraviolet rays, sunlight, and heat from entering your home.
All for the purpose of saving you energy and reducing the cost of your bills.
Empty Space In Between:
Why is there an empty space between the two windows?!
Maybe if they didn’t design the windows this way, condensation won’t even happen in the first place! Again, it comes back to energy efficiency. Believe it or not, but the empty space is actually NOT empty! You can’t see it, but the empty space is filled with gas which is usually either argon, krypton, or a mixture of the two.
Why fill the glass with gas?
Isn’t that dangerous? The gas between two panes sounds like an explosion waiting to happen.
And the name Krypton(nite) sounds like something even Superman doesn’t like…
The gas isn’t dangerous at all. In fact, these gases are colorless, odorless, environmentally friendly, and non-toxic. The bottom line is, it won’t kill you!
These gases serve a great purpose and help further reduce energy costs, which helps save you even more money. Who wouldn’t want that?
How this works is, gas is much denser than air therefore makes the perfect insulator for your windows to keep room temperature.
Pro-tip: Make sure to ask your window salesman the U-value of the windows, as sometimes they can raise the price on you by saying “We have more argon than any other windows.” By knowing the U-Value of your window you’ll know exactly how efficient the windows will be and not spend more than you should.
This component is probably the most important piece to insulated windows.
Without a proper space in place, your windows won’t help save you energy and cause a lot of chemicals fogging to take place.
Here is the main function of what a spacer does for your windows:
- It helps regulate the temperature and help your windows conserve energy
- Keeps the gas that’s in between the two glass pane from leaking
- Help keep the windows keep its frame in place from harsh weathers and conditions
- A layer of protection from gas leaking and water moisture entering and fogging up your windows
As you can see, the spacer is extremely important. Without it you’ll see condensation all over your home windows, and a high electric bill every month.
What is a desiccant?
Remember when you opened up a new package and as you take out your product you always a small little bag that has the print “Do Not Eat”?
You might have been curious and ripped open that small little “Do Not Eat” bag to find a bunch of small little clear beads.
These same little small clear beads are found in your windows and we call them desiccants.
These desiccants help absorb any moisture or water vapor that tries to enter the glass windows and in turn helps prevent your windows from fogging up.
But where are they located?
You might have taken a look at your windows to spot out these desiccants,
and there are no visible signs of these small clear beads found anywhere on the windows.
You won’t because they are located inside the spacer. The spacer and the desiccants together help aid in preventing condensation to form inside your windows.
The secondary seal is what keeps it all together.
The secondary seal helps prevent moisture and vapor out, but that’s not its primary focus. The secondary seal is meant to hold the structure of the windows together.
Your windows will go through a lot and it needs a seal that’s strong and long-lasting.
Usually, when a window begins to form condensation it means the seal is broken. When the seal breaks, air and moisture will be able to get into the windows.
“But won’t the spacer and desiccant prevent and absorb all that moisture?
But not for long.
When the seal breaks it also ruins the overall structure of the window leading to gaps and distortion of the spacer. This leads to the argon or krypton gas to escape and get replaced by air, moisture, and water vapor.
The seal is important and it’s why it must be extremely durable.
Why You Should Do Something About Window Condensation If You See It Happening
Condensation in between your double and triple pane windows happens as a result of the seal being broken from poor installation, harsh and extreme weather conditions, and old age.
Condensation is made up of moisture and forms water droplets inside a warm and secluded environment.
When you have a mixture of a moist, wet, and warm atmosphere, it makes that atmosphere a perfect breeding ground for mold, funguses, and bacteria.
Overtime if you allow the organic matters to spread, they will eventually spread into your home’s infrastructure and cause all sorts of problems with the wooden foundation of your home.
But that’s not all.
Funguses and bacteria can cause health complications and allergic reactions once they spread and become airborne.
This is why we highly recommend homeowners get their windows replaced and not do anything.
If we could clean them, it would be a different story, but in the case of condensation, the best long-term solution is to simply have your windows replaced.
Now that you understand the components of double and triple-pane windows, also known as Insulated Glass (IG) Unit. It’ll help you know exactly how the windows work and know exactly why your windows are starting to form condensation.
You’ll make much better decisions when you’re choosing your new windows as well.