Welcome to January! As the cold weather rages on, snow and ice are becoming more of a nuisance here in Minnesota and Wisconsin. From lengthening our morning commutes to gunking up our gutters, the effects of this sort of weather are never to be underestimated. This line of thinking especially applies to your windows.
Yes, your windows! If you’re like many lucky Northerners, you may have noticed a layer of ice or frost building up on your windows on the inside of your house. While it may seem innocuous, this ice build-up can cause serious structural damage to your home, not to mention cost you tons of money in the long run. Smart homeowners know that it’s crucial to prevent this ice build-up, for the sake of both your home and your pocketbook.
However, preventing ice from forming is easier said than done. It’s literally a force of nature! Good luck taming that. Moreover, the cause of ice build-up on the insides of windows varies, which means that it’s difficult to determine exactly what is causing this unfortunate problem for your home.
C&T Siding, a window replacement company and window installer, dives into this complicated, nuanced topic below.
Ice Build-Up: A Primer
Understanding the root cause of this problem is essential to solving the issue, so your home stays intact. As stated above, the exact cause of an icy window is difficult to pin down, but there’s one thing that everyone can agree on: cold air is a necessity for ice build-up to occur! Many times, ice build-up can happen when the window’s glass dips below freezing, which interacts with the humidity levels inside of the house, and results in that all-too-familiar layer of ice. Even though the air temperature in your home may be well above the freezing point, the dual factors of household humidity and below-freezing glass can still work together to form ice and disastrous consequences.
So, what happens if you let ice hang around on your windows too long?
● Moisture damage | As frost and ice eventually melt, they drip down your windows and moistens whatever is next to it. This can be anything from your windowsill to your walls. Excessive moisture sets the stage for mold to grow, which, among other things, can quickly spiral into a health hazard for you and your family. Certain types of windows are more vulnerable to moisture damage caused by frost build-up than others. For example, fiberglass windows are strong against most types of moisture damage, but wood windows might not fare so well under the same circumstances. If you’ve recently gotten replacement wood windows, make sure you keep reading to discover how to hold off any sort of frost damage.
● Aesthetic damage | Window replacement is an investment, and you want to keep that investment looking nice as long as you can. Unfortunately, the water damage that ice build-up brings can cause problems for many types of windows. It can do everything from crack paint to rot windowsills if it’s left unchecked for a prolonged period of time. Water damage is a near surefire way to degrade your replacement window’s appearance, no matter what it’s made out of. If it doesn’t affect the windowsill itself, it can still render the surroundings a prime territory for mold growth, which is an aesthetic concern.
● Long-term structural damage | Have we scared you enough with what ice build-up can do? No? How about this: under the right circumstances, it also has the potential to cause your windowpanes to break. In particular, prolonged water damage to wood windowsills can cause warping and stretching of those window sills, which puts excessive strain on the glass and causes cracks. Aside from the obvious aesthetic concerns this poses, a cracked window can hike up your energy bill, so it’s best to keep ice levels low before they become a real hazard.
So, how do you stop ice from forming in your windows? There really isn’t a singular consensus. However, it might prove helpful to:
● Monitor humidity levels inside your home | The more water vapor in the air, the higher the humidity levels are, which generally creates a more optimal environment for ice to form. Keep your levels relatively low.
● Invest in a reputable window installer like C&T Siding | Poorly installed windows can cause air leakage, which makes the surrounding area colder and makes it easier for ice to form. If you’re looking to invest in replacement windows, an experienced installer like C&T Siding is your best bet.
● Increase the room temperature in areas prone to ice formation | As a last resort, a space heater in a particularly chilly room might be helpful in fighting ice formation.
As stated above, properly installed windows are key to ensuring your home can withstand the harsh weather we get in the Upper Midwest. If you find yourself in need of replacement windows, our contractors at C&T siding would be privileged to help you out. Give us a call now at 715-749-3162 for Southeast Wisconsin residents, or at 651-483-6146 for those in the Twin Cities metro.