How to keep your windows from fogging up in the winter

Sharon Stevens & Dwight Cole
Published on January 4, 2018

How to keep your windows from fogging up in the winter

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All those gorgeous windows that allow summertime sunshine to stream through the home are useless to view the winter wonderland outside if the glass is covered in fog.

When that frosty outdoor air hits the heated glass of a window, it’s inevitable that the result will be condensation. There is a way to foil this natural process, however.

What causes window fogging?

Condensation is the result of temperature and moisture. The amount of moisture the air inside our homes can hold is limited and it depends on the temperature of the air.

When the air becomes saturated, it becomes warm and moist. When it then comes into contact with the cold glass of a window, it condenses into liquid, according to the United States Department of the Interior.

The process is similar to how your iced-tea glass begins dripping on the outside when the weather is hot.

There are solutions to foggy windows

The first solution to try is to get rid of excess humidity in the home. This is no easy task, considering even our breath adds to a home’s humidity level.

The everyday indoor activities of a family of four “can add more than 18 gallons of water a week into the air in the home”

according to the pros at Thermal Windows, Inc.

No, we aren’t suggesting that you stop breathing but there are steps you can take to reduce interior humidity:

  • Houseplants contribute to the humidity level inside the home. Consider moving them to one room during the winter.
  • Use the exhaust fan in the laundry room, in the kitchen while cooking and in the bathroom while showering or bathing. Allow it to run for about five minutes after you’ve finished.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Open some windows for a few minutes, several times a day, or in the evening.

Then, check the crawl space and basement for moisture and use a plastic vapor barrier to keep moisture to a minimum, suggests Tom Feiza, author of “How to Operate your Home.”

The Family Handyman offers an easy-to-follow walkthrough of the installation process.

In spring, check the yard for correct grading and drainage.

If all else fails, use a dehumidifier

Excess humidity in the home does more than fog windows. It can cause paint to peel, floors to buckle, wood to rot and insulation to deteriorate. It also attracts dust mites to your clothing, rugs, carpeting and — yup — your bed.

A dehumidifier removes “between 10 pints and 50 pints of water from the air each day,” according to the experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Not only is this good for taking in that view outside your windows, but for your health as well, especially for those who suffer from allergies and asthma.

One of the disadvantages of using a dehumidifier is that these machines require consistent cleaning to discourage mold growth.

Also, small units may not work on a larger home, so the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests larger capacity units, rated at 50 pints a day or more.

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How to keep your windows from fogging up in the winter
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