Windows let in light, and during winter they can also let in the cold, and they can be wet and frosty – sometimes encouraging the growth of mold, and damaging interior trim and finishes. Here's some tips on how to tame your windows and save money!
Why Do Windows Get Frosty?
During freezing conditions – and during periods of warm days and cooler nights, like late fall and early winter – windows of any age, type or style can condense moisture, if the interior and exterior conditions are right. Windows get wet when humid air comes in contact with cold windows, and if its’s cold enough, this sometimes turns to frost on the glass or window frame.
What to do?
Older windows – even double-pane windows can be drafty, with cold air coming in around the edges. Short of investing in new windows, replacing or improving weather stripping can often solve this issue. Storm windows can be an effective solution - however shop carefully and consider the age and condition of the existing windows, with respect to the overall cost and benefits of new windows.
There should be a heat source in every room, ideally at floor level right below the window. Bathing the exterior walls with warm air, especially in vicinity of windows will help reduce condensation. Air deflectors do nothing to help warm a room, or save money - and in fact exacerbate the problem by directing heat away from windows and into the already warmer areas further inside the house!
Shutters, drapes, blinds and every manner of window dressing can also cause problems by keeping windows cold, and by trapping indoor air until it finally condenses on the cold window.
In extreme conditions plastic sheeting, available at most hardware stores can be used as a temporary solution, until you upgrade the windows or find other remedies to reduce humidity.
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.