Condensation on your aluminium windows – what is it, what to do with it, and is it always bad?

Most of us have experienced condensation on our windows at some point or another. It’s a very common occurrence, and often an unwanted one. With the potential to cause mould, which in turn is the breeding ground for spores that can trigger asthma symptoms, it’s generally something we would rather avoid. However, did you know that condensation isn’t always bad? Read on for the full facts about condensation, what it is and when it is isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

What is condensation?

The dictionary offers two definitions of condensation. The first: ‘water which collects on a cold surface when humid air is in contact with it,’ and the second: ‘the conversion of a vapour or gas to a liquid.’ Condensation in the home therefore is often caused by the vapour or gases we create through cooking, boiling the kettle, having a shower, or drying our washing inside. All of these things create steam or vapours that circulate around the room. Unfortunately, due to the great British climate we are exposed to, it is not always appropriate to open the window in all of these circumstances, to let the warm air and vapours out. This is why condensation typically forms on our windows as the warm air from inside the home meets the colder air from outside.

Is condensation ever good?

You may be surprised to hear that condensation isn’t always bad. It depends whether it is occurring inside or outside of your window. While older windows that suffer from condensation will always see its appearance on the inside of the property, some of the newer more energy efficient windows being installed today, may display condensation on the outside of the window. You may be concerned this means you have bought substandard windows, but in actual fact, it means quite the opposite.

More energy efficient double and triple glazed windows and doors usually contain Low-E glass inside the window, and this glass has specifically been designed to stop the transfer of heat across the unit. In other words, it is this glass that helps keep heat inside the home. However, one of the consequences of this is that the outer pane remains cooler, because the heat from inside isn’t reaching it like it used to. In turn, this means that any warmer air outside that comes into contact with the outer pane condenses. You can read more about the science of this process here.   

Although any type of condensation can be unsightly for the short period of time it is on the window, when it occurs outside, it doesn’t have the knock-on effect on the air inside the home, so is not harmful in any way.  

Top tips to get rid of condensation on your windows

How you handle condensation on your windows depends on where it is. If you have relatively new windows and it is occurring on the outside, there isn’t much you can do to prevent it. Keeping the windows clean helps because it is harder for water droplets to cling to spotless glass, but this isn’t always practical on windows that inevitably come into contact with the outside elements, including rain, birds, insects, leaves, and pollution. Hopefully though you can take comfort in the knowledge that this kind of condensation isn’t harmful, and means you have a warm home.

If you are suffering from condensation on the inside of your windows, however, there are a few steps you can take to limit its impact.

  1. Use extractor fans – Extractor fans are great for drawing away steam or excess moisture in areas of the home that are more prone to higher levels of vapour. For example, using a fan while in the shower, cooking in the kitchen, or when you have wet clothes drying inside the home, can help to keep the air well circulated.
  2. Open windows – This is perhaps the most obvious tip and the most difficult depending on the time of year, but opening the windows improves ventilation and reduces condensation. The more frequently you can open your windows to ventilate your home, the better, but even if you open a window for a small amount of time after higher levels of moisture have been released into the air, it will help get rid of that moisture.
  3. Use air vents – Again this is slightly weather dependent as most of us don’t want to give cold air any opportunity to get in through the winter months, but when the outside temperature allows, opening the vents at the top of your windows and doors can help with better ventilation.
  4. Keep the heating on – Not an ideal solution in light of the higher energy prices we are experiencing today, but if you are able to keep your heating on constantly this can help to reduce moisture in the home. If you turn the thermostat down, it may not cost any more or too much more than if your heating comes on twice a day at a higher temperature, but this would need researching depending on your current usage and energy supplier.
  5. Replace your windows – If the condensation on your windows is really bad and you are struggling to stay on top of it because you don’t want to open your windows that much or keep your heating on, it might be time to look into replacing your old windows with modern, energy efficient, aluminium home improvements. Also, if condensation is appearing in between the panes of glass, inside the window, this is a sign that the window may be faulty and will probably need to be replaced.
Beautiful aluminium slim line window

Next steps towards new aluminium windows and doors

Whether you have faulty windows, old windows that are causing problems with condensation, or you simply want to upgrade your home with more modern windows and doors, we are here to help. You may find some of our other Helpful Advice articles useful, such as why aluminium is proving a smart choice for energy efficiency, and home improvements that add value to your home, or perhaps you are ready to contact a local installation company to discuss your needs further. We have a network of Reynaers at Home installers that would be happy to answer any questions you have on replacing your windows and doors, and you can find your local dealer here.   

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