3 Causes of Foggy Windows

One of the major reasons homeowners consider window replacement in Grand Rapids boils down to one symptom: foggy windows. In our part of the country, there can actually be several main causes of foggy windows, and not all of them require window replacement.

The underlying cause of foggy windows is always humidity, and more specifically the temperature differential when warm moist air comes in contact with cooler dry air. When you see foggy windows in your home, that means condensation is occurring due to excess moisture or high humidity inside the home. Moisture condenses on the glass because the temperature of the glass’s surface is cooler than the air temperature in the home. That moisture condenses on other surfaces as well, but condensation appears first on glass windows because they generally have the lowest surface temperature when it’s cold outside, and it is most noticeable on windows because you can actually see it.

When you have foggy or frosty windows, the cause is generally one of three things:

  1. Temporary causes, such as a big, sudden temperature drop causing extremes between indoor and outdoor temperatures. Many people also notice a seasonal increase in foggy windows in the autumn, during the first few weeks after windows are closed and the heat is turned on, while there is still excess humidity in the home. Also, in new homes or newly remodeled homes, homeowners often notice foggy windows within the first year, due to the high moisture content of building materials. As building materials dry out during the first heating season, the problem usually ceases. All of these temporary causes generally resolve themselves.
  2. Tight modern construction methods, which result in fewer air leaks, can also cause higher indoor humidity and foggy windows. In this case, mechanical ventilation may be required, and it’s a good idea to find home improvement contractors in Grand Rapids to help determine whether ventilation is adequate and whether it can be improved.
  3. There could be a problem with the windows themselves. If fogginess occurs on deteriorating single pane windows, adding storm windows or replacing the single-pane windows with insulated windows may be necessary to increase resistance to condensation. For double pane windows, the seal may be broken, and once moisture is between the panes, whenever temperatures reach the dew point, the moisture condenses and becomes visible. If you do need new windows, you can ask your insulation contractors in Grand Rapids about the condensation resistance factor (CRF) of your new windows.

The problem with foggy windows is that it means humidity could be damaging your home. A more serious moisture problem may be indicated if you have peeling paint, rotting wood, insulation deterioration, mildew, even moisture spots in ceilings and walls. Contact GreenFIT homes for an assessment of your foggy windows today.

Photo: Bradley Gordon

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