How to Prevent Condensation Buildup on Your Office Windows

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Insights by Continental Blinds

There’s no better feeling than stepping out of the intense heat and into a strongly air-conditioned building, but these conditions can mean condensation on your office windows which can cause unsightly streaks, buildup, and damage. Avoiding condensation requires some pre-planning, window maintenance, and a little environmental manipulation.

Windows are the most significant location of heat exchange in your building. Often, they are the coldest surface in your office, especially in the corners where conduction is greatest. When the temperature difference between indoor and outdoor air temperatures reaches a certain level (dew point), the humidity causes water vapor to form into droplets. Excessive moisture on either side of your window can cause water damage to windowsills, peel paint from walls, and leave behind mildew and mold.

The first step to preventing condensation and buildup is to clean the windows. Knock all dirt and grime loose and protect fragile woodwork before spraying windows. Use a sudsy cleaner and a soft cloth or window mop to reach every corner. A squeegee is the best tool for removing the cleaning solution and should be swiped side-to-side, starting at the top of the window working down. Next, use Rain X or another water-repellant solution to thinly coat the windows (inside and out). This will help condensation run off the window instead of gathering and causing damage.

Although it may look to be on the window, the foggy glass could be a result of condensation building up between the panes of glass. If this is the case, you should consider replacing your windows with a double glazed or high-performance glass. Another easy way to prevent condensation from building up on your windows is to control the temperature, ventilation, circulation, and humidity of the space.

Temperature and humidity are the two main causes of condensation. Since you can’t change the temperature outside, this means keeping the indoor temperature around the windows warmer. Point cold air vents and fans away from windows. Use outdoor shutters to keep windows covered from direct sunlight. Indoor temperatures should be adjusted to remain proportional to outdoor conditions and align with the comfort of your workers. Try raising the temperature a couple of degrees; chances are, your staff won’t notice.

Improving ventilation and circulation of air can also help prevent condensation.  If it’s a mild day outside, keep the windows cracked. Use personal fans for employees rather than cranking down the A/C. Run bathroom and breakroom (microwave) fans for longer than normal to move new air around. Ensure everything is venting to the outside and not adding humidity to your office.

Perhaps the best thing you can do to reduce condensation is to reduce humidity. Some humidity is necessary for a comfortable atmosphere, but too much can cause excessive condensation. Plants hold a lot of moisture so move any office plants to the interior edges of rooms and reduce the amount of landscaping around the outside of windows. Use dehumidifiers throughout the office if necessary. A comfortable humidity range is between 45 and 55%.

If you want to avoid streaks, buildup, and window damage from condensation, start with a good cleaning with a moisture-repellant finish and adjust the temperature, circulation, and humidity of your office. Do this and you’ll have shiny, clear windows all summer long.