Why Are My Windows Cloudy? 4 Common Causes

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Are your windows cloudy? There are four common causes for this situation, and it's something you will have to remedy for the betterment of your home. When it comes time for a window replacement, trust the experts at Budget Windows & Doors. We can make sure you are kept safe from the elements while receiving a good amount of sunlight into your home. For a no-obligation estimate, contact us today!

Why Are My Windows Cloudy? 4 Common Causes

If your windows are cloudy, it's important to recognize what you're dealing with as condensation is a sign that your windows may need to be replaced.

Exterior window condensation is simply dew, and occurs when the window is colder than the dew point, and it's not really anything to worry about. Interior window condensation is caused by excessive moisture in the house, and it often occurs in the winter.

In the winter, the warm air inside the house condenses on the cold windows. Condensation between window panes occurs when the seal between the panes is broken or when the desiccant inside the windows is saturated.

It's important to know why your windows are cloudy to get to the root of the problem.

1. Faulty insulation

Your window's insulation seals must be able to withstand the onslaught of heat, cold, rain, and wind, as well as various other impacts.

According to The Family Handyman, "Most high-quality double-pane windows manufactured today have two perimeter seals, an inner seal that resists water, aging and corrosion, and an outer seal that provides rigidity and strength. If one seal fails, the other can - at least for a while - pick up the slack." Over time, however, the weakened infrastructure will lead to condensation between the panes, and that becomes a real pain!

A hollow, usually aluminum, tube or spacer is an element in seals. This tube, known as the desiccant, is full of an extremely porous crystalline substance used to absorb moisture from within the sealed air space of an insulating glass unit. Once the desiccant is saturated and moist air starts entering through a bad or broken seal, it's only a matter of time before your window starts to fog.

Insulation seals must be able to withstand the onslaught of heat, cold, rain, and wind, as well as various other impacts.

2. Extended water damage

Window seals deteriorate when they sit in water, and bottom seals are particularly vulnerable. Windows without proper safeguards to keep water from puddling around the perimeter seals will therefore fail sooner than others.

Weep holes - small holes located on the bottom edge of storm-window frames - should be included to promote drainage. If they become blocked by debris, paint or caulk, they won't be able to serve this vital function.

  • Check weep holes at least once a year, before the rainiest season.

  • If they're clogged, open them up with a brush, a screwdriver, or a toothpick.

  • Clear away leaves, twigs, and dirt that accumulate on the windowsill.

Window seals deteriorate when they sit in water.

3. Heat damage

Heat causes the panes to expand and contract, and it softens and weakens the seals until they develop cracks and allow moist air to pass through. This typically occurs on windows with direct and extended sun exposure.

When perimeter seals soften, window panes can literally bow outward from hot air expansion between panes. All that expansion and contraction can actually turn windows into “mini-pumps” that pull in air from outside the home, which can be a real problem if the air is moist.

South-facing windows are the hardest hit by heat damage.

4. Age of window

The passage of time is unavoidable, and it affects even our windows. Most window design professionals agree that new, quality windows should last at least 15 and 20 years before you should consider replacing them. Windows built to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) guidelines can be expected to last 25 years.

At around the 15-year mark, you can expect to repair your windows, adding caulking and insulation, and performing a number of other temporary fixes. Perimeter seals will eventually dry out, crack, and allow moist outside air to infiltrate. In that case, you will need to replace the entire unit.

If the windows in your home are older, their seals are likely held in place with caulk. Due to seasonal shifts in weather, caulk can weaken over time, which may lead the seals to fail.

For more, read our article called "When Should You Replace Windows and Doors?"

Windows built to the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) guidelines can be expected to last 25 years.

Windows cloudy? Trust Budget Windows & Doors

Budget Home Windows & Doors is pleased to be your source for all your window replacement needs in the Kitchener area. We ensure our services are tailored to meet your requirements. 

We pride ourselves on our experience; we've seen it all, and we will recommend the right solution to maximize the value you get from your home improvement dollar. Backed by superior quality products, service and knowledge, we are able to deliver flawless results time and time again.

"Budget's team installed a new bay window for us last winter and updated the insulation around the window. The windows are high quality and made locally in Ontario. We have noticed a significant difference in the temperature control in our room and we love our new window! The owner took the time to review our options and provided us a great price (he was the best of the 3 quotes we received). His installer was very professional and we couldn't be happier!" - Aaron Bruce

Read more customer reviews here.

Budget Windows & Doors services Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Stratford, and the surrounding areas. Our success stems from the quality service we provide with every job completed. After all, that’s why our customers keep coming back and referring us to friends and family.

For a no-obligation estimate, call us today!



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