If you want to reduce energy loss in the home, then it may be wise to replace your windows. A simple window replacement can save you over $450 a year. Your savings will be highest if you choose the most insulated windows, and double paned varieties are often considered the best. Double paned windows feature two layers of glass, and insulating air or argon sits in between the glass. The windows can last a long time, but condensation can build in between the two glass panes. You should prevent this from happening to make sure your windows stay in great condition for as long as possible.
Dehumidify Your Home
Condensation will often build within double paned windows, because humidity in the home is allowed to remain high. As humidity builds, the moist air comes into contact with the cold window surface and the air cools suddenly. The moisture is then pulled out of the air and water droplets form on the window pane. This same type of condensation can occur inside the window, and water can also seep between the panes through small gaps in the frame.
You can easily prevent window condensation by making sure that indoor humidity is controlled. Monitoring humidity is the first step in controlling it, so purchase a hygrometer that will calculate the relative humidity in your home. If this device indicates that home humidity is above 50%, then you are likely to have a window condensation issue. Levels should be lowered to between 25% and 40%. Low home humidity is considered best once outside temperatures drop close to or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Choosing a Dehumidifier
The easiest way to lower the humidity in your home is to purchase a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is a device that forces humid air over cold metal coils. Water condenses on the coils and the fluid drops into a collection bucket. The appliances are extremely efficient in removing water from the air, but you need to make sure to purchase the right sized unit for your home.
Dehumidifiers are rated based on the number of pints that can be released from the air in one day. If you have a very humid or large home, then it is best to find a device that can remove between 50 and 70 pints in 24 hours. If your house is moderately damp or small, then a dehumidifier that can remove 30 to 50 pints a day is a good choice.
Use Silica Desiccants
The window frames that encase your double pane windows will be lined with silica desiccants. These small pellets help to absorb the moisture from the air that may enter the space between the double pane windows. The silica material also keeps water from around the frame from increasing the humidity inside the window.
If excessive water sits around the window or if pressure causes openings to form in the window frame, then the gel may not be capable of removing all the moisture. Condensation can then form. You can help draw moisture away from the windows by placing your own packets of silica gel near your windows.
Making Silica Packets
To make silica gel packets, purchase a large container of silica pellets from your local home store. Place about one-quarter cup of the pellets in a silk, nylon, or cheesecloth bag. A folded coffee filter will work as well. All of these materials are porous and this allows air to flow freely through the bag so the silica can absorb moisture. Place one bag on each window sill or hang it from your curtain rod.
Check on each silica bag every few months. Once the silica pellets have increased substantially in size, spread them on a cookie sheet. Turn your oven on to its lowest temperature and place the cookie sheet in the oven. Allow the gel to heat up for 15 to 20 minutes. The moisture will evaporate from the pellets and they can be reused afterwards.
Window replacements can provide you with substantial energy savings, and double paned windows are a great option. Condensation may build within the windows though, and this will reduce their effectiveness. You can minimize this concern by controlling the humidity in your home and by using silica gel to pull moisture away.
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