How a window steams up and how to solve it

How a window steams up and how to solve it

Steam is something we see a fair bit of. Boil a kettle and we get steam before it turns off. Breathing put on a cold, frosty morning and we get a sort of steam. Old trains ran on steam.

Steam is basically hot air which has come into contact with cold air and condenses so we can see it. 


According to the dictionary ….

Steam is the vapour into which water is converted when heated, forming a white mist of minute water droplets in the air.

“a cloud of steam”

It does not necessarily have to be water which is converted, maybe this should read liquid. After all it is how some alcohols are created.


So what has this to do with windows?

We can convert steam into liquid again by reversing the process. If we cool the steam then the result is water. So we get steamed up glass units on those cold and frosty mornings when there is warm moisture laden air inside the house and the glass unit acts as the cooling surface.  At first we can see nothing of the outside world as we have condensation on the window until we wipe it clean. These steamed up glass units can be so annoying.


But why did this happen on the first place?

Normal glazing is a single pane so this can happen on a daily basis. Simply use a dry cloth and you are back to viewing the world again.

A double glazing unit has, by its name, 2 panes of glass separated by an air gap which can be filled with a gas. This has acts a barrier to prevent the hot and cold getting together. Fantastic, unless the window has blown, which means the seal has failed and the gas escaped and there is no longer thermal protection from the cold on the outside for the warmth on the inside.  The result is we get steamed up glass units. The worst of it is, the resulting condensation is usually between the panes of glass and we cannot wipe the moisture away.  Usually it will clear but not till later in the day when temperatures may have balanced a little, or the sun, if any, and we have to agree that in Blackpool or Preston we get precious little, has warmed the glass unit.

The same situation can occur if there is damage to a glass pane too. So it may be worth checking to make sure the glass is not damaged.


So what can we do about it?

Not a great deal.  The only solution for this type of failure is to replace things.  The good news is that a damaged glass unit can be replaced quite easily and the costs are quite reasonable too.  A professional glazing company will be able to quickly measure your frame, or current glass unit and place the order. On their return the replacement glass unit will be in the frame in very little time. 

So at this point you will be back to watching the world pass by without viewing it through the condensation, and your thermal efficiency will be back to the efficiency it used to be.  So as the damp weather approaches you can then be assured of a snug, warm house that is not leaking precious heat which has cost a small fortune to obtain in the first place.

The other item to look for may be worn out or damaged frames. Older wooden frames may rot and allow draughts to sneak through the newly created gaps. In these cases, unfortunately, a replacement frame may be the only option.  Get in touch with your local professional team and they will be able to advise you and give you some options for the repair.

If you’re interested in replacing a window for your home, take a look at our New Window packages. Alternatively, just take a look at our other services for more!

Also, follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with all our news, blogs and offers.