Window Condensation or Seal Failure?

Do your windows have moisture on the panes, or look like they’re crying?

Most likely, it’s one of two things: condensation or seal failure. Both of these problems can look very similar, but the fixes are very different.

You need to know what problem you have on your hands! Here’s how to tell what’s wrong with your windows and your options for fixing them.

Window Condensation

What It Is

Condensation happens when the warm, moist air inside your home hits the cold glass of your window. The cold of the glass causes the water in the air to condense—or change from a vapor to a liquid.

As a result, you’ll see water running down your window as though it’s raining.

Is This the Problem?

This is likely the problem if it only happens when the temperatures drop in the fall and winter, or if you know your home is not well-ventilated. (This means the warm air inside your home can’t escape, and moisture levels build up.) If condensation is a constant problem, you’ll want to check to make sure the problem isn’t a window leak or a seal failure.

How to Fix It

Window condensation might not seem like a big problem right now—but it can cause serious damage over time. Excess water can cause major damage, rotting the window frame, the walls, and their finishes. Over time, condensation can even cause mold growth that can be hazardous to your health.

That’s why it’s important to fix condensation: you want to nip this problem in the bud, before it becomes an expensive home repair project!

Luckily, this is often a pretty easy fix.

If your home’s moisture levels are too high, you can purchase one or more room dehumidifiers or have an HVAC professional install a furnace dehumidifier.

If your home isn’t ventilating properly, the problem can sometimes be fixed by clearing the vents around your house! You might also consider installing exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom—the rooms where you create the most moisture and heat.

Window Seal Failure

What It Is

Today’s double-pane and triple-pane windows are a more technologically advanced, more energy efficient, and generally superior alternative to old, single-pane windows.

These windows are designed with two or three panes of gas in the window frame. In between each pane of glass is a layer of gas (usually argon), and the whole thing has an airtight seal. This makes double-pane windows better insulators—reducing air leakage and heat transfer.

Problems come up, however, when the seal in a double or triple-pane window fails. A broken seal allows the argon gas to escape, and air and moisture can get inside (between the panes).

How does this happen? Well, a couple of different things can occur:

When your window’s seal fails, it will often look like there is fog or moisture on the window, especially in the middle of the pane. The glass panes may also look distorted.

Is This the Problem?

Of course, if you don’t have double-pane or triple-pane windows, this isn’t the problem.

If you do, you can check by taking a close look at the glass panes. While window seal failure looks very similar to condensation at first glance, there are several tell-tale signs.

  • The condensation problem starts out small and gets worse over time
  • Nothing happens when you try to wipe away the condensation (because the condensation is inside the widow)

How to Fix It

Unfortunately, window seal failure isn’t as easy a fix as a condensation problem. When a window seal fails, the best thing to do is replace the window.

We don’t generally recommend “defogging” the window (where a company drills a tiny hole in the glass, removes the condensation, and installs a new seal). This is because the results are debatable, and the process can often be as expensive as getting a new window.

You’ll want to check your warranty, especially if your windows are not that old. You might be able to get a reimbursement from the manufacturer for all or most of the window’s cost!

Call Us Today

If your windows start to weep this fall and winter, call Jack’s Glass! We’ll help you figure out the problem and let you know your options.

Our local, family-owned and -operated business has been helping Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners with their commercial glass, auto glass, glass shower and window needs for more than 70 years. Contact us today at our Elsmere, Covington, or Dry Ridge locations.