How to prevent condensation on your windows

3 minutes

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Condensation on windows can be problematic, but there are steps you can take to prevent mould and damp...

  • Learn how to identify the signs of condensation and the damage it can cause.
  • Identify the cause of condensation in your home. 
  • Discover short and long-term solutions to your condensation problems. 

Condensation is common, so let's get to know it a little better

Whether your home is old or new, if you’ve got condensation on your windows, it’s best to sort it before it gets worse. Read our tips on how to stop condensation on windows and the steps you can take to prevent it happening again.

What causes condensation?

Condensation forms on windows when water vapour from the air comes into contact with cold glass. It’s  deposited as water droplets, which can then pool on windowsills causing damp and mould. This can damage your walls and furniture and may even become a danger to your health if left untreated. Condensation becomes more common in winter when central heating in the house increases the difference in air temperature.

With modern insulation and double-glazing, this moist air has no way of escaping. Condensation can appear on kitchen windows when cooking or washing up, laundry areas when you’re using a tumble dryer, when drying washing inside or when showering and bathing. 

What are the signs of condensation?

Condensation is essentially water droplets that form on a hard surface. Look out for water drips on your windows or even pools of water on the windowsills. If condensation has been occurring for a while,  black mould may form around the window frame or on walls in unventilated areas. This excess moisture on walls and window frames can lead to damp forming.  

Types of condensation on windows

There are three main types of condensation 

Condensation on the inside of windows shows there could be a ventilation issue inside your home. 

If condensation appears on the outside of your windows, this shows your double-glazing is working as it should and keeping the heat inside your home. This type of condensation is caused by cold air from outside hitting the warm window.

Condensation between panes of glass in a window suggests there’s a problem with your double-glazing. It’s likely that the seals on the window have failed and ideally the window should be replaced. 

How to stop condensation on windows

It’s important to dry up any water that forms as a result of condensation. Using a window cleaning tool such as a squeegee or an old towel, mop up the excess water from the surface. Ensure you pay particular attention to any wooden or fabric surfaces that could be damaged by the water. Once the area is dry, you can start to think about ways to prevent the condensation.

Quick fixes

Simple measures like keeping lids on pans and drying your washing outside where possible will help to reduce condensation. Plants can also add to the water vapour in your house so consider if these could be adding to your issue. Improved ventilation, such as opening windows, is by far the best quick fix to reduce condensation.

Increasing ventilation 

Making sure your home is well ventilated is crucial when reducing condensation. This can be as quick and simple as leaving windows open when you're at home. When cooking or using the bathroom, try opening the windows until the excess water or steam has gone. 

Extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom can be highly effective as these rooms are often responsible for most of the moisture in your home. If you don’t already have them, you may want to consider installing some. 

If extractor fans aren’t enough, you might want to consider a dehumidifier to draw out the additional moisture. These can be particularly useful as you can move them around to where they’re most needed, for example, near drying clothes inside the house or in the bedroom at night.  

Improve insulation 

Consider improving the insulation in your home to make sure the temperature in your home is consistently kept above dew point (the temperature at which moisture in the air turns into a liquid). Upgrading to double-glazing or even triple-glazing will also help reduce condensation as the panes stay much warmer than single-glazed windows, and therefore don’t experience as much condensation.

Moderate the heating

Instead of quickly turning up the heating in your home to a high temperature, try putting your boiler on at a lower setting for longer. This can help prevent condensation in your house by reducing large temperature fluctuations. Try keeping doors closed in rooms you are using and attempt to keep the thermostat at the same temperature in every room. Whilst these short-term fixes may alleviate some issues, you may want to consider some of these long-term solutions to prevent further problems.

Long-term solutions to condensation problems

Increased ventilation can drastically improve  condensation. Building airbricks into external walls and installing air vents in internal walls will allow airflow through the house. Fitting roof ventilation tiles in and under the roof and guttering will increase ventilation into the loft. Window vents on the tops of window frames should alleviate condensation on windows.

You may want to consider a heat recovery system that keeps your home fully ventilated. Installing a heat recovery system can also reduce condensation due to its de-humidification effects and temperature regulation. 

Condensation on windows can cause damage to your home if it’s not addressed. Window frames can become damp and rot, soft furnishings around the window like blinds and curtains may become stained and mould growth can lead to respiratory problems. However, there are steps you can take to alleviate or eradicate the effects of condensation.  

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