Steamed up windows happen due to condensation, where moisture from the air collects and settles as water on a cooler surface. Any moisture within the air needs somewhere to go, even indoors. When there is extra moisture in the air, this will become visible in the form of tiny droplets on surfaces – leading to a steamed up appearance. As your windows are exposed to the cooler air outside, they can be one of the coldest surfaces within your home. Water vapour settles on the coldest surface in any room, where the surface temperature is cooler than the air itself.
Despite steamed up windows being a relatively common issue, it is important to understand when condensation on your windows is normal and what is a cause for concern. Condensation on the inside of your windows, for example, may be something you frequently notice in a bathroom or kitchen. It may just be a sign you need better ventilation in these rooms, which are exposed to higher levels of humidity in general. In comparison to this, windows steaming up on the outside is perfectly safe and is actually a sign your windows are doing their job.
The location of condensation can be essential in determining the how well your single pane and double glazed windows are functioning. It’s important to check for condensation regularly and to try to figure out the source of the issue. This is because any condensation left to build up can cause excess moisture and lead to mould, while also weakening the infrastructure of spaces like windowsills and surrounding walls.
Here’s our guide to why your double glazed windows might be steamed up due to condensation, and what you can to do fix it.
Steaming on the Outside
Condensation found on the outside of your windows is perfectly normal. In fact, if you have double glazing, it’s actually a really good sign. If your windows are steaming up on the outside it means they’re keeping the cold air out, preventing the temperature indoors from dropping to the same as it is outside. You’ll commonly find this sort of outer window condensation in the winter months, as the air is moister and the temperature drops. It’s a sign that your double glazed windows are highly energy efficient, as they are successfully keeping heat in and maintaining the temperature; allowing you to stay comfortably warm and use less energy on heating your home.
Steaming on the Inside
On the other hand, condensated windows on the inside panes within your home can be a cause for concern in the long run. It can be common to find condensation in your kitchen or bathroom, especially when you’re cooking or taking a hot shower or a bath. These activities release extra moisture into the air, increasing the overall humidity of these spaces. While some condensation is to be expected in these cases, it’s still important to minimise potential moisture build up in your home – as repeated or constant condensation can lead to damp and mould. Where possible, you should try to ventilate your kitchen and bathroom so condensation is reduced. Opening a window can be a quick fix, but making use of an extractor fan (such as those found in your cooker hood) is another good way to improve ventilation.
Indoor condensation isn’t limited to your kitchen or bathroom. Hanging your washing up indoors – especially without using radiators – or even just hosting a large gathering of people, can cause steam to form on your windows too. You may even have excess condensation as a result of poor insulation in the rest of your fixtures, such as the roof and walls of your home.
It’s important to ensure your home is well ventilated in general, to prevent the possibility of excess moisture buildup and condensation. In the colder months where opening all your windows obviously isn’t an ideal solution, you might want to invest in a dehumidifier to help reduce the moisture levels in the air.
Steam Between the Panes
There is one place you should always be concerned about finding condensation, however, and that’s between the inner panes of your double glazed windows. If condensation is appearing inside of your double glazing, it’s often an indication that the seal around your windows has failed. This may have happened due to even a seemingly minor crack in the frame, or the impact of the weather and resulting damage over time that can happen to the sealing itself.
There are a number of other reasons this kind of damage could occur.
- Cleaning – Window sealants may break down due to excessive use of harsh cleaning chemicals wearing down the silicone material, so it’s a good idea to stick to natural cleaners.
- Time and Weather – General wear and tear over time is normal, and exposure to harsher weather conditions may facilitate damage that leads to steamed up inner panes.
- Installation Issues – If your windows are very new but they are steaming up, this may be a sign your windows have not been installed properly.
While the condensation itself may initially appear minor, it should not be happening on the gap between your window panes. Ignoring this can lead to further problems with your windows, and greatly impair the effectiveness of your double glazing. With air entering the gap between the panes (as indicated by the moisture in the air condensing on the panes) the windows will no longer be as effective for thermal insulation. This shows the insulating argon gas will have escaped the gap, and that your double glazed windows are not fully protected. This can result in draughts entering your home, cooling down your house. In colder months, you may see an increase in your energy bills as you try to combat the additional cold air.
As previously mentioned, additional moisture can cause damp and mould which can negatively impact your home and family. Condensation could also be an early indicator of a fault related to the security of your windows. This is because condensation can be caused by damage to the frames, while also having the potential to cause further damage to frames and mechanisms too. It’s therefore vital to perform frequent checks on your windows and frames for any signs of disrepair – such as condensation within the glass. If you do notice condensation inside the panes, it’s important you contact a specialist to help repair the problem. They may even advise a replacement window if absolutely necessary.
Fix Steamed Up Windows with Cloudy2Clear
At Cloudy2Clear, we have experienced teams of double glazing engineers that work to replace and repair windows across the UK. If you don’t already have double glazing and you are experiencing condensation, we would highly recommend you do have it installed.
Keep your home in top condition, and your family healthy and safe by reducing the amount of condensation in your home. We offer free, no-obligation quotes to help you manage this. Arranging a time that works around your schedule, we’ll send out an engineer to assess the quality of your windows and make recommend the best route you can take to fix any issues.
We can carry out all types of window repairs and improvements; and we only repair the essential elements that need it – rather than replacing entire window frames where it is not necessary to do so! This makes us a much more economical option, while the eco-friendly benefits in making the most of the materials you do have is a more sustainable way to manage your double glazing.
For more information about how Cloudy2Clear can repair, replace, or upgrade your windows to reduce condensation, call our team on 0800 61 21 119. You can also fill out our online contact form and we’ll get back in touch.