Window Replacement in Vancouver, Washington's Wet Climate

Answered by Brett ~ December 13, 2010 ~ Comments

Our kids have a field day drawing in the steamy windows of our 60-year old home. How can we be sure that window replacements we're planning to buy won't steam up?

Mindy T. ~ Vancouver, Washington

Brett Kulina

Mindy, unfortunately even new windows can have moisture problems when the humidity levels in your home are too high. Of course, if your window replacement project swaps out old inefficient single-pane windows for new double-pane models, then you'll be on a path to getting rid of wet, foggy windows in your house. A cold window can create condensation problems quicker, and at lower humidity levels, than an insulated, warmer window, which is why some windows can sweat at 40% humidity, while others may not start until 50% humidity.

In addition to purchasing quality replacement windows, you can help reduce window condensation by keeping the indoor humidity level of your home around 30%-40% during the winter months. Here are a few tips to help get excess moisture out of your house:

-When taking a shower or filling a tub with hot water, make sure to use the exhaust fan in your bathroom.

-Make sure your stove-top has a hood that is directly vented to the outside of your house. Cooking produces lots of steam, which can raise the indoor humidity levels in your home.

-If your home is sealed up tightly for energy efficiency reasons, consider adding an heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to your home's HVAC system. A HRV can expel stale indoor-air and bring fresh outside-air into your home.

-Consider adding a dehumidifier to your home's existing HVAC system.

When purchasing your new windows, make sure to ask the manufacturer what they recommend as an indoor humidity level. Then you can test the humidity levels in your house and make any improvements as needed.

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