WINDOW CONDENSATION AND ICE
January 14, 2015
It is not uncommon during the fall and winter for us to receive inquiries about condensation and ice on windows.
Condensation is a function of exterior temperature versus interior temperature and interior relative humidity; when the glass becomes cold from the outdoor weather, the relatively warm and humid indoor air tends to condense on the windows – in extreme cold weather it will even form ice and frost. This is a challenging problem – especially in winter – it can obstruct your view and cause leaking that may even lead to damage in yours and neighboring units. There are a couple of things you can do to lower the condensation in your unit:
- DO NOT HUMIDIFY – I know this is difficult especially if you need a humidifier to help with any health conditions or dry skin, but if you are getting puddles of water, running a humidifier could cause serious leaking. A fan can help, because the movement of the air can help warm the surface of the glass and help reduce condensation from forming – theoretically that moisture then remains in the air in your unit.
- LOWER THE TEMPERATURE IN YOUR UNIT – This too can be difficult, but if the condensation is really bothering you during very cold weather, lowering the temps a couple degrees can help a bit (and save energy at the same time). Cooler air holds less water. Grab a blanket or your favorite sweater, and see if you can manage it a few degrees lower.
- LOWER THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR SHOWER OR BATH – Even a few degrees less than normal can put off exponentially less steam and humidity into the air, which would otherwise circulate to the windows and other cold surfaces, causing condensation.
- NO PASTA OR RICE! – This is especially tough for some, we know. But avoid cooking foods that require either boiling water, or result in a great deal of moisture evaporation and steam.
- KEEP YOUR SHADES OR BLINDS OPEN – as much as possible. When they are closed it creates a micro-climate between the shade and the curtain wall where air will not circulate. When open, more are can circulate over the metal and glass keeping it warmer than if the shades were closed.
- CHANGE DIRECTION OF YOUR AIR FLOW – Each winter spin the plastic vent pieces on the HVAC units to face the windows. When the unit is on at night the air hits the windows and prevents frost on the areas the air hits. There might be some frost along the edges of the windows in your unit, but not wall-to-wall as it would otherwise be. Come spring, twist them back to point into the room for more efficient cooling.
If you are suffering from excessive condensation – particularly during frigid outdoor weather – try experimenting with a combination of these tips and you should experience some relief.