Condensation and Windows
What Is Condensation?
The occupants of a house rightly feel that condensation on the inside surfaces of windows is not good. They immediately think of obstructed visibility, reduction of theintensity of natural lighting and, above all, deterioration of interior finishes (rings, stains,peeling paint) and mould.Superficial condensation occurs when the surface temperature of a solid (glass, sash,frame) is lower than the dew point of the humid air in its immediate vicinity. Themoisture, naturally present in the air in the form of vapour, changes into liquid water oncontact with these cold surfaces. The resulting droplets form a film of water and rundown the glass when the condensation is heavy or does not evaporate fast enough. Inthe case of windows, condensation will often occur at the edge of the glazing because of conduction through the spacer and air convection within the glazing cavity. Suchcondensation can be decreased or eliminated by raising the inside surface temperatureand/or decreasing the relative humidity of the indoor air.
Reducing or eliminating condensation often means using several complementarytechniques.These techniques concern the window itself, the method of installation, the interiorwindow accessories (curtains, blinds, valances), the arrangement of heat sources (hotair registers, baseboard heating, convection heaters) and the relative humidity of theindoor air. The overall condensation resistance of a window depends on each of thesefactors.
Condensation Resistance of Windows
Several techniques are used by manufacturers toincrease the condensation resistance of windows.These include windows filled with a onvection-limiting inert gas, low-emissivity coatings thatincrease the temperature of the glass, insulatingspacers that reduce heat conduction, and non-conducting sashes and frames.Energy-efficient windows are least likely to havecondensation. Their resistance to condensation,however, depends on the indoor humidity level. A humidity level of more than 40 percent, when the outside temperature is -20°C orcolder, may cause condensation even on a well performing window