How many of you have had this experience? You wake up on a sunshiney, summer morning and get ready to make coffee or walk the dog, and you notice one of your windows is all teared up, or foggy, like it had just gotten out of the shower. Assuming that it hadn’t recently rained, what you’re seeing is condensation on your window.
Now, that might not necessarily be a problem, if its’ on the outside of the glass. On particularly humid mornings – like uncomfortably soupy – that condensation may be a perfectly normal occurrence. You know this may be the case if you see all of your windows dripping similarly. An unusual combination of heat and humidity can cause this circumstance. But if this condensation phenomenon is only occurring on one specific window, and it appears to be on the inside between the glass, that may be the sign of a problem.
Most of today’s modern windows are actually a combination of two panes, or even three panes, of glass separated by about a half inch and entirely sealed. In the business we call them “insulated glass units.” Inside there is dry air or argon glass. These gasses help modern windows keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. Bars holding the glass in place also have a desiccant chemical on it that absorbs any wayward moisture that might get in. Should the seal in the IG unit fail and there is too much moisture, the desiccant chemical can no longer absorb it and that’s when the window may have a significant problem. Too much moisture inside the IG unit and it will have to be replaced.
Sometimes, the two panes of the insulated unit shift around if the sash (that’s the portion of the window that holds the glass in place) is no longer solid. If a wood sash starts to rot or if a vinyl window gets too hot and deforms some, the glass can shift about and cause the edge seal to create a gap. If the sash or the frame is going bad, replacing the insulated unit may be a short term solution as the new insulated unit might also go bad soon.
Long story short, if you notice fog or condensation in a window and you’ve determined that it’s not the result of unusual weather conditions, the window may be in the process of failing. If you have a wood window, try poking the tip of a pencil into the wood. If it’s starting to rot, you will be able to easily make a dent in the material.
If you’re not sure how to fix this problem, we recommend calling a professional — like us — and we’ll help you determine if the window can be fixed, or whether it should be replaced. Having to replace a failed window can be frustrating, but not doing so can cost you on the back end with a less comfortable living space and higher fuel bills. Plus, it’s always best to fix a problem before it gets worse and ends up costing you more.