In this article, you will learn:
1. The causes of ice buildup inside your glass windows
2. Possible concerns for frost on windows
3. 10 Ways to Prevent Frost and Ice Buildup on The Inside of Your Windows
While frosted windows and smiley faces may bring up warm childhood memories, they are not as enjoyable for Canadian homeowners.
With the cold winter temperatures on their way, it is important to keep an eye out for any condensation, frost or ice buildup that may appear on the inside of your windows!
Caused by a variety of factors, icy windows can often signal a problem with inefficient windows, air leakage, excess humidity or even poor ventilation within your home.
At Stouffville Glass, we pride ourselves on helping our clients maintain and enjoy their windows long after installation.
With a long winter ahead of us, the following guide will help you understand the causes of ice buildup inside your windows, the potential impacts and concerns, and our top 10 recommended tips for ice and frost prevention.
What Causes Ice Buildup on the Inside of Glass Windows?
While waking up to a fresh blanket of snow may be a magical way to start the day, there is far less sparkly appeal when the ice starts to form indoors.
As manufacturers have developed a variety of energy efficient products to help combat the harsh Canadian climate, there are a few reasons that can explain the presence of ice or frost on the inside of your glass windows:
1. Water Vapour/Condensation:
The moisture in our air is referred to as water vapour.
When the winter climate drops below zero, the moisture trapped inside our homes is drawn towards the window pane where it makes contact with the cold glass.
When the window surface has gone below the “dew” point, the water vapour quickly changes from gas to water droplets upon impact.
This change appears as condensation and can quickly freeze into ice crystals on the inside of your windows.
While this mainly occurs in single paned windows, colder climates can have this effect on double paned windows as well.
Humidity is the actual measurement of water vapour in the air.
While the air can hold water or moisture in a gaseous state, the amount it can hold is greatly reduced as the temperatures get colder!
Here are a few common reasons your home might be more humid than usual:
• Improper laundry room ventilation
• The furnace humidifier is not set correctly
The typical comfort range is 30-50%, but too much humidity within the home will increase the amount of ice and condensation on the inside of your home windows.
3. Air Leakage:
While windows play an important role in protecting your home from the elements, there are a variety of reasons they might start to leak air, such as:
• Windows were not installed properly
• The weatherstripping is worn down or missing
• The windows are old, worn down or damaged
• There is poor or no insulation around the window frame
While horizontal sliders, single hung or double hung windows are the most prone to air leakage problems, this air leakage also enables frost and ice to form on the inside of your home windows.
If you are looking for window options with low air leakage ratings, we highly recommend tilt turn, casement, awning and hopper window types for your consideration.
4. Poorly Performing Windows:
ENERGY STAR products have been the standard for energy efficiency windows for many years.
While a poorly performing window will not be able to properly insulate against the cold air, this can also allow ice to form on the inside of your windows.
From frames and glass to glazing and installation – there are a variety of factors that go into making a window as efficient as possible.
What Are The Potential Impacts and Concerns for Ice Buildup On Windows?
Prolonged exposure to ice buildup can cause a variety of problems for homeowners, including:
1. Heat Loss:
When the inside pane of the glass is frozen, this means the window has poor thermal protection and is allowing heat to escape from your home.
2. Window Damage:
Water and ice can cause shrinking, swelling, warping, and discolouration of your windows, which can also lead to glass cracks and air leakage problems.
As the frost begins to melt, the water can begin to crack the paint, rot the wood and potentially cause mold and mildew to grow around your windows.
4. Health Issues:
The presence of mold and other lung/sinus irritants can negatively impact our health.
Cold surfaces, drafts and ice can make the inside of your home feel cold and uncomfortable during the harsh winter months.
6. Energy Expenses:
With the inability to regulate internal temperature, you may find that your energy expenses have increased in the efforts to keep your home feeling warm and comfortable.
While single pane windows are the most vulnerable to damage, double or triple pane windows can help capture any excess moisture and increase their ability to insulate your home.
10 Ways to Prevent Frost and Ice Buildup on The Inside of Your Windows:
While it may be tempting to pull out your hair dryer or ice scraper to remove the ice, doing so can really damage your windows.
Instead, consider a few of these helpful tips in preventing frost and ice buildup on the inside of your home windows:
1. Turn on Your Exhaust Fans:
When cooking or showering, be sure to turn on your exhaust fans! Cracking open a window can also expel excess moisture from the air, reducing the risk of ice buildup.
2. Consider Two or Three Paned Glass Windows:
As these high quality windows contain argon gas to prevent frosting and ice buildup, these windows will be very helpful in preserving your energy and keeping energy expenses low.
3. Use a Dehumidifier:
Although dehumidifiers are more commonly used during the summer months to pull hot, sticky moisture out of the air – the same thing can be achieved for reducing condensation in the winter.
While modern homes are extremely well-sealed, all of the moisture from cooking, showering or even making tea can remain trapped in the house and cause frost to form on cold windows.
4. Check on Your Furnace/Water Heater:
While it is easy to forget about, furnaces and water heaters can sometimes run into problems.
If they haven’t been checked in a while, it may be a good time to call a serviceperson to make sure everything is running up to speed.
5. Keep Your Home Sufficiently Warm:
To prevent frost from forming on your windows, it may be helpful to increase the room temperature – especially during the night!
Consider placing a space heater in any room that is prone to frost.
6. Open The Curtains/Blinds:
Allow air to circulate against your windows by opening the curtains or blinds.
By ventilating the windows, you have a better chance of reducing moisture that might result in condensation or frost.
7. Seal with Caulking:
A temporary solution for any small window leaks or gaps is to carefully seal all around the windows and baseboards with foam sealant.
Caulking can also be used to seal all the joints where the sashes meet the frame.
8. Install a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HVR) System:
An HVR system can bring in fresh air for a pre-programmed time period and circulate the air inside your home.
This function allows your home to remain sufficiently ventilated to reduce condensation.
9. Consider Upgrading Your Windows:
With plenty of Energy Star certified windows on the market, there are a variety of ways to upgrade your windows and prevent frost and ice buildup from occurring.
With the insulating qualities of a vinyl frame, double or triple-paned glass units and a professional installation process – you can be sure your home will be warm, dry and comfortable throughout the winter months.
10. Consult a Professional:
Unsure of what’s causing ice buildup on your windows?
While the source of the problem could vary, sometimes a trained set of eyes can help solve the mystery.
Allow our professionals at Stouffville Glass to step in and help find a solution.
If you are interested in learning more about our energy efficient window options, our experts are always ready to help!
Click here or call us at (905) 640-4016 for a complimentary consultation.