(Photo: Flickr/Rachel Medina)
Q: How can I stop condensation on my windows at night?
A: The condensation is caused by low temperatures on the glass, and high relative humidity in the home. The lower the temperature of the glass and the higher the humidity, the more condensation. If you currently have single-pane windows, or older aluminum windows, then the glass will get colder easier than with modern windows.
Adding storm windows on the outside of the home is like using a windbreaker to keep a little warmer. Using plastic sheets on the inside to seal over the glass in effect gives a dual-pane type effect and can help also. 3M sells window kits for winter use that are applied using tape and a hair dryer and look really good. The downside? You can't open that window. On the other hand, replacing windows is expensive but maybe worth it.
To reduce humidity, the other side of the equation, make sure that you use the fan in your bathroom during and after showering, and that the dryer and bath fans both vent to the outside. You can use a dehumidifier also, a machine that removes water from the air. Common complaints about this are that dry air might irritate the sinuses and make skin feel dry. The window kits should be sold at Home Depot, Lowes, Ace, and other hardware stores in most areas of the country.
The idea of using thick curtains sounds good, and will keep the room warmer, but the glass will actually get colder, because warm air is not circulating over the glass, so this will likely cause more condensation. Frustrating, huh?
I worked for many years with Andersen Windows, and have seen this very many times. When people bought our product (very pricey) they were generally very happy, and if you are looking to maybe replace windows, look for "u values" that are very small, like 29 or less. "U value" is a measure of how much heat the whole window loses, kind of like the opposite of "r value." Look for low e glass and argon gas between the panes to make the glass insulate better. There are several reputable brands out there, with Andersen, Marvin, Pella, and a few others at the top of the heap. Most plastic windows are of lower quality in my opinion, and not always cheaper.
-- Answer from David L., a handyman on JustAnswer
Daily Answer is excerpted from the JustAnswer archives and features information provided by a Expert on JustAnswer.