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If you live in the UK you will almost certainly be used to living with some form of condensation in your home, be it in your bathroom after a bath or shower, in your kitchen after cooking or on your windows.

Bad condensation on window

Bad condensation buildup on the inside of a double glazed unit

If you regularly indulge in the first two points above, chances are that this is one of, if not, the main cause for condensation buildup on your windows (along with a few other things) and in most cases this can be easily cured by following some simple steps:

  • During cooking, make sure that all pans and pots are covered with a lid and open a window near to your cooking area
  • If you have a hood extractor over your cooker, use it as this will help to shift any moist air outside
  • When bathing or showering, again, open a window and use an extractor fan if you have one
  • Avoid drying any cloths inside your home. As they dry, the moist air will be released into your home
  • Use your heating system to maintain a constant and stable temperature to ensure surfaces are kept warm, reducing the possibility of condensation
  • Open your windows for at least an hour a day as this will allow clean air in to replace the warm moist air in your rooms
  • Where condensation does form, wipe it off as soon as possible to reduce the risk of it evaporating back in the air

These are some basic steps to take to at least reduce the risk of condensation, not just on your windows but also within your home as a whole. If moisture is kept to a minimum and your surfaces are kept at a constant temperature this should go quite a way to reducing any condensation buildup risks.

If however the majority of your condensation problems exit in, on or around your windows then this may be a sign that this is where the issue lies.

Condensation In, On and Around Windows

When dealing with your double glazed units, condensation normally forms in one of 3 places:

  • On internal glazed faces
  • On external glazed faces
  • In-between glazed sections of the sealed double glazed unit

Fixing Condensation Internally

As we have discussed above, if you main issue is moisture on the internal areas of your glazing, try to reduce the amount of moisture that is present in your home by regularly opening windows and doors and allowing fresh air to replace stale, moisture-laden air, cook and shower with windows open and extractor fans on if you have them (if not, consider getting them fitted), dry clothes outside etc….

By doing this you should see a drastic reduction in moisture buildup, maybe not clearing it all completely but certainly reducing it to a more manageable level.

After taking our suggested steps and you see no or very little difference, this may be a sign that your double-glazing is not what it once was and is now allowing the cold air outside to lower the temperature of the inner glass pane, creating ideal conditions for condensation.

If this is the case there is really very little you can do other than replace the sealed unit (glazed section) and frame and although this sounds expensive (in reality it is), it may not only cure your condensation issues but help to save on your heating costs!

Condensation on outside of window

Condensation buildup on the outside of a double glazed unit

Fixing Condensation Externally

This particular issue is really rather rare and is in most cases a good thing! This is a sign that your windows are well thermally insulated. In failing or poor quality units, thermal transfer takes place whereby heat from the internal pane travels across the air gap and heats the outer pane.

Where the heat transfer process is prevented from taking place due to the thermal qualities of the sealed unit, moisture can condense causing condensation.

Although this can be quite annoying as it obviously obscures your vision out of the window, it’s a good problem to have and a sign that your windows are in good condition and preventing too much heat loss.

Fixing Condensation Between Glazed Units

There is normally only one cause of condensation and moisture between glazing and this is that the seal that seals the two glass panes has failed.

Occasionally there can be other causes such as unusually cold or humid weather, high presence of moisture from fresh paint, plaster or large scale construction work to the property or that the base of the frame is filled with water and over time this will gradually seep in, but in pretty much all cases it’s down to the sealed unit itself failing.

At this point you really only have two choices:

  • Get the faulty sealed unit replaced with new
  • Get the unit repaired

The first point is pretty self explanatory – Get the professionals in to install a new sealed unit or if your double glazing is particularly old, an entire new frame and unit.

In respect to the second option, this is certainly one to consider. Over the past few years various companies have emerged that specialize in the repair of sealed units.

Before and after repair

Before and after sealed unit repair – Image courtesy of

The repair process normally goes something like this – A small hole is drilled in either one or both of the panes or in the spacer bar. A special drying agent is then pumped or injected into the unit drying it out and then it is cleaned and resealed.

Different companies will use different techniques and methods to achieve the repair but in essence the moisture is removed and the unit resealed.

As with most things you get what you pay for and some of the cheaper fixes often fail quickly, so do your research first if you are considering going down this route

This is a brief overview of the causes and cures of condensation in and on double glazed units, so if you would like to find out more then check out our condensation in double glazing project here.

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