Wet windows are a mystifying concern for many Sarasota homeowners. The manner to deal with window condensation can be equally baffling and frustrating, as well. Before wet and drippy windows cause mold and other problems in your home, find out what causes the window condensation and how best to deal with the situation.
Demystifying Window Condensation
Window condensation occurs when humid indoor air comes into contact with a cool window. The problem with window condensation, as far as health and home are concerned, is that water drips down windows into framing, walls, doors and flooring. This invites mold, which can be quite difficult and expensive to eradicate.
Your strategy to rid window condensation is to boost indoor air quality by weatherization, ventilation, window treatments and dehumidification.
Weatherize Your Home
Home weatherization puts you in control of managing indoor humidity levels by minimizing the loss or gain of air, moisture and heat energy through the home’s envelope. Following are recommended steps for tightening up the envelope:
- Energy audit – A professional energy audit is a process that identifies how your home uses energy, where energy is being wasted and provides steps you can take to save energy through efficiency upgrades and conservation efforts.
- Looking for leaks – Your HVAC professional looks for air leaks around windows, entry doors, wall plates, attic door, piping and other apertures through the envelope. The home’s exterior wall is evaluated for holes, cracks and gaps, as well are crawl space, basements and attic space.
- Sealing the envelope – Basic sealing materials are practical, long lasting and make your home much more comfortable. Caulk, weatherstripping, foam gaskets and expandable spray-in foam are the basic air sealing materials needed to seal around doors, windows, attic hatch and anywhere air leaks through the envelope.
- Insulation – Insulating the home or portions of the home lacking insulation may be performed by the homeowner, such as adding attic insulation. However, if the walls need insulation, that is generally a job for a professional.
- Window treatments – Window treatments help keep moisture away from windows to prevent condensation. Heavy drapes, blinds and shades work well to prevent window condensation, and to help save energy.
Whole-home ventilation is an important tool in your indoor air quality strategy. Once you’ve sealed your home’s envelope and have air and moisture transfer under control, you’ll need an active means to properly ventilate the living spaces to replenish humid and stale air with fresh air. Following are types of ventilation techniques and systems:
- Natural – Natural ventilation is when you open up windows to let in fresh air. Natural ventilation is easy to incorporate when the weather is nice, but impractical when it’s too hot or stormy.
- Supply – A supply ventilation system uses fans to bring outside fresh air into the home. Supply ventilation may be incorporated with your HVAC system. However, this can get expensive by running the blower several hours a day if there’s no call for cooling or heating.
- Exhaust – Exhaust ventilation uses fans to force indoor air outside. The problems with exhaust and supply ventilation, as you may see, are that indoor temperatures are affected, which increases cooling and heating bills.
- Balanced – Two popular whole-home balanced ventilation systems are energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) and heat recovery ventilators (HRVs). ERVs and HRVs provide equal fresh intake air to stale discharge air, and they utilize a heat-exchange core to move heat energy between intake and discharge air streams. By recycling heat energy, you can cut down on cooling and heating fresh intake air.
A dehumidification plan must be in place in our warm and humid climate if you’re to achieve ideal indoor air quality. Ideal indoor humidity levels are widely considered to be 30 to 50 percent. So, a dehumidifier has its work cut out.
Like ventilation, the most effective dehumidification system is a whole-home option. Whole-home dehumidifiers are attached to existing ductwork by your HVAC technician and linked to the home’s plumbing for automatic water drainage. Indoor humidity levels are monitored by a built-in hygrometer inside the humidistat, which controls the dehumidifier according to your settings.
With a whole-home approach using different methods, techniques and mechanical systems, you can maintain superior indoor air quality, comfort and efficiency in your home and mitigate window condensation and mold threats.
Learn more about how the pros at Climatic Conditioning Co. can help prevent window condensation and improve indoor air quality in your Sarasota home, or call us today at 941-444-5399 to speak with one of our home comfort experts.
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