Window positioning is paramount to your home’s ambient living space. Well-placed windows can offer invigorating views and make your home a peaceful retreat. Homes that are being remodelled can take advantage of repositioning or adding windows—taking advantage of optimum viewpoints. Perhaps a tree has grown in and a current view no longer offers advantageous sunshine, or maybe placement of some original windows in a ready-made home did not offer optimal views. Remodelling is the perfect opportunity to correct any placement issues, while designing and building a new home allows for making great choices, right from the beginning. There are a few tricks to obtaining best window placement. Situate yourself in the position where you’re thinking of placing a window. This simple exercise will allow you to visualize your view, so you can decide what you want to see, while avoiding less picturesque areas.
How much natural lighting is required in a particular room? What about heat gain? Is it a north-facing room in which you would like to maximize the amount of sunshine received? Consider how sunshine can reflect off metal, bodies of water, roof overhangs, and other surfaces that will affect the quality and positioning of your natural light at different times of the day. Enjoying a shower of morning sunlight across the breakfast table is possible if the window faces east. Southern light is direct and intense, and can be counterbalanced by roof overhangs or by positioning them under eaves. In this manner, intense sun is blocked in the summer and warmth is harnessed in the winter. The dazzling, sometimes blinding sun coming through a west-facing window is more difficult to regulate. Its low angle dips beneath any overhangs and eaves as the sun sets, so glare-resistant window glazing and window coverings are required. Deciduous trees planted on the west side act as defenders of fierce summer heat, while liberally allowing sunshine to caress your home in the fall and winter, after the leaves drop. Cool and blue indirect light can be expected of north-facing windows. This lighting is consistent and is a great location for an artist’s studio or any other room where direct light is not desired. Dedicate some time to window placement when remodelling or building a home. This exercise of deliberation will improve the living space of any home for current and future generations of homeowners. Condensation on inside window surfaces is a common wintertime complaint in most of Canada. Window condensation can be downright irritating, and in some cases, it can even damage your home, especially if you have older windows. It can be a warning sign and can lead to severe damage of surrounding construction from wetting. Through this article we have tried to explain how this situation can be reduced.
Simply put condensation is a process by which a gas cools and becomes a liquid. In the case of windows, when warm, moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces, the excess moisture in the air condenses. That’s because the cooled air next to the cool surface can’t hold as much moisture as the warmer surrounding air. An example of this is when a bathroom mirror “steams up” after a hot shower. Just like that mirror, the inside or outside of your window can sweat or fog because of temperature differentials. Another good analogy is when you have an iced drink on a warm summer day, and the glass has moisture on the outside of it. The warmer air meeting the cooler surface of the glass causes condensation to form.
Moisture in the air within the home is often the culprit. Condensation occurs on inside window surfaces whenever surface temperature falls below the dew-point temperature of the room. The window, therefore, determines the practical limit of humidity for the space in winter, and condensation may appear on the glass, frame, or sash, depending on relative thermal characteristics of these components. Excessive humidity is the cause of most window condensation. As the outside temperature drops, the window glass temperature also drops. When moist air comes in contact with the cold glass pane, the moisture condenses and forms water droplets. Determining when the condensation will occur and preventing it depends on the energy efficiency of the window, the relative indoor humidity of the home, and the exterior and interior temperature. There are primarily three causes for temporary window condensation. New Construction: Wood, plaster, cement and other building materials used in new construction and remodeling produce a great deal of moisture. When the heating season starts, this moisture will gradually flow out into the air in the home. It will usually disappear during the first heating season and not cause any further trouble. Heating Season: At the beginning of the heating season, there may be a certain amount of temporary condensation. During the humid summer months, your house can absorb some moisture. After the first few weeks of heating, this moisture should dissipate. Preceding Temperature Shifts: Sharp, quick drops in temperature can also create temporary condensation problems during the heating season.
It seems natural to blame the windows but they do not cause condensation. Window condensation is really an indication of excess humidity and moisture in your home. The glass simply provides a surface on which the moisture condenses visibly. It is usually the first place you notice condensation because glass surfaces have the lowest temperature of any surface in a house. The insulation and construction materials used today are designed to keep cold air outside. This is especially true of new windows. While energy-efficient designs and weather-stripping keep cold air outside, they also keep warm moist air inside. Older window designs were less efficient and consequently allow moisture to escape. The important thing to realize is that if excessive humidity is causing window condensation, it will also be causing other problems – sometimes hidden problems – elsewhere in your home such as peeling paint, rotting wood, buckling floors, deteriorating insulation, mildew or moisture spots on your walls and ceilings.
To prevent condensation on windows, you’ll have to be proactive in stopping the accumulation of moisture in your home. Read the following tips to learn how to reduce condensation on windows.
- Tie back your curtains and open blinds to circulate air
- Circulate the air inside your home. Open windows or doors if temperature permits. If the temperature is too cold, turn on your ceiling fans or furnace fan
- Place a dehumidifier in the room where condensation occurs. To get the most out of this tactic, place the dehumidifier as close to your window as possible
- Verify that your window’s caulking is adequate
- Recognize that your laundry room can be a source of moisture
- Repair unnecessary sources of moisture in your home such as cracks in walls and basement floors
- Check your vents for blockages and remove them if present
- Use your bathroom and kitchen fans every time you cook or shower. Showering and cooking releases a lot of moisture into the air, and sometimes this moisture cannot escape from your house easily. The exhaust fans in your kitchen and your bathroom help remove this moisture from the air. You want to run the fans for about 15 to 20 minutes after you shower or cook.
Window condensation should only occur when there are extreme temperature differences between indoor and outdoor spaces. In addition, there should only be a fairly small amount of water on the glass. Condensation will be seen on the inside of a window during winter months, and will present itself on the outside of a window during summer months. If you find condensation between the two layers of glass in an insulated window, the airtight seal has probably failed and the glass unit will need to be replaced. If there is too much moisture inside the home, you will see evidence during both the cold and warm seasons. Moisture spots on the ceiling or walls, peeling paint, rotting wood, delaminating plywood, moisture on exterior walls, and fungus, mold or mildew growth are signs of a more serious moisture problem. Should you experience these symptoms, an expert heating & cooling contractor should be contacted in order to solve the problem.