Asked on Jan 07, 2014

Ice inside windows

Dee W
by Dee W
We replaced our home's windows about 9 years ago and have had no issues until these last few days when the temps are below 0. On about half of them we are getting a thin layer of ice along the bottom of the glass, with some windows having it also beginning to line the sides.
Because of the extreme cold, I do have blankets or towels added to the curtain for extra insulation, am I causing this, are the windows going bad or is this normal?
Oh, and the windows are the tinted, low E kind with the screen on the outside-meaning no storm window so the snow comes right up to the glass through the screen.
Any help or advice is welcome; thank-you.
icy build-up on the inside of my home's windows
  13 answers
  • Spheramid Enterprises Spheramid Enterprises on Jan 08, 2014
    Indoor humidity is too high, usually from not having adequate stove and bath vents, or a humidifier set too high.
  • Inside the house or inside the window? Inside the house, water was able to condense & due to the low temp... Between the panes, you have a seal issue In a way you could be as you are not allowing heat to reach the windows & the blankets can be collecting or are the source of the moisture - maybe consider an exterior or interior storm next year
  • Energy Wise Mfg. Energy Wise Mfg. on Jan 08, 2014
    The double glazed interior storm windows from Energy Wise Mfg. will eliminate the condensation.
  • M. K. Wilkie M. K. Wilkie on Jan 08, 2014
    In these extremely cold temperatures (we had -15 F. again last night) it may be a natural occurrence for you to get some frost inside the windows. The difference between the outside air and the inside is great and more so if you are keeping your thermostat at a warmer temperature. You will naturally have (and want) some humidity in your home when temperatures are so low. But too much is not good. This problem should clear itself up when the temps normalize. If you are getting any moisture it is best to mop that up as you see it, of course.
  • Dee W Dee W on Jan 08, 2014
    Thank-you everyone for your responses. The moisture is not between the panes of glass but on the inside of the home. We do not use humidifiers so I am assuming that the extra window coverings are the source. Temperatures are in the 20's, we had sun today and the windows cleared right up.
  • Rob Hayes Rob Hayes on Jan 08, 2014
    if your house is relatively tight you can have humidity levels that are to high on the cold days causing the RH (relative humidity) to be high causing the air to reach dew point causing condensation on the windows. It's not uncommon on tight homes to actually use high capacity dehumidifiers during the winter months ducted into the duct system if possible to help in these extremes temperature. Also have bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans duct to the outside will help remove possible sources of interior humidity generation further reducing interior humidity levels. I recommend an inexpensive hygrometer to monitor RH levels inside your home. Best of luck
  • Dee, great comments so far. I just want to add my three cents (inflation). You experienced a natural phenomena, known as condensation that occurs everyday in a normal weather cycle. Because of the extreme, sustained outside cold temperature, the temperature of the inside window pane that is in contact with the air in the room fell below the dew point. The water vapor in the air condensed and froze on the window; or it may have gone from water vapor directly to a solid which can also happen. This occurring in the extreme, sustained (and I emphasize sustained) cold temperatures you have experienced is not an accurate indicator that the humidity in your home is too high. If you are getting condensation in less extreme weather conditions, then you may want to evaluate the humidity level in your home. If the condensation was occurring inside your window (between the panes), then more than likely the seal failed in that window and the unit should be repaired or replaced. Average homes are built with "average" materials designed to handle "average" conditions. We have the technology, materials and techniques to build structures designed to handle the extremes (temperature, wind, etc...), but there is a financial cost associated.
  • Carla Seif Carla Seif on Jan 09, 2014
    We get the same thing with the windows with thermo curtains, it will be fine :)
    • Carla Seif Carla Seif on Jan 09, 2014
      @Carla Seif only when i have wood stove going as it gets pretty toasty in house , just the furnace does not do this and we have top of the line triple pane windows
  • Tegma Tegma on Jan 09, 2014
    In addition to the humidity possibility, it could be nothing more than the wind blowing the snow thru' the screens, and that is what is freezing. I've had that same thing happen and I find that's all it is. I live in the Erie, PA area when the storms are horrendous! If it's just cold, nothing happens, so I know it's not a humidity problem, even with temps in the minus figures. But, when it's snowing and the winds are blowing from Lake Erie, I will get snow inside the screens, and it sometimes freezes there. See if you have it still when there's no snow. This year has been a bad year here for snow..... perhaps in your area, too.
  • Dee W Dee W on Jan 11, 2014
    Boy, everyone has sure made me feel better about my windows and I learned so much; thank-you everyone. @Carla Seif do use the therma curtains in all the rooms and as @tegma mentioned the snow and its effects, the frost was on the Northwest windows--the direction the wind was blowing, it had even stuck to the siding. @Rob Hayes your input was very much appreciated and I plan on looking into a hygrometer @Hewitt Remodeling Services LLC thank you for adding your three cents, we've not had this happen since we sided and put in new windows, so I believe it is the "extreme" weather conditions that you are talking about which created this temporary condition.
  • Carla Seif Carla Seif on Jan 12, 2014
    we have the thermo curtains on some and blinds on others, but during that cold snap they all frosted
  • Val Val on Jan 12, 2014
    Hi Dee. Your frost problem is perfectly normal. We live in north central Alberta, Canada, and have dips as low as -40 without the wind chill! We have the same type of windows as you, but the patio doors frost up pretty bad. I was peeling frozen towels off the windows on a daily basis until I figured out that all I had to do was make sure the insulating blinds were raised 1/2" off the floor. It did let a tiny amount of cold air in at the bottom, but it took care of the frost! Val
    • Dee W Dee W on Jan 19, 2014
      @Val That is a wonderful idea!! Thank-you so much for sharing and I am grateful that you figured out how to deal with it and that my own weather does not usually get this cold.
  • Leanne Franson Leanne Franson on Oct 19, 2014
    Definitely all our windows in every room do this (we are in Saskatchewan, Canada, a few hundred miles east of Val there in North Central Alberta), and we get down to -45C (same as -45F) in winter. The best thing for the whole winter, is to clean the windows and then put insulating shrink-plastic on (sold in kits, depending on the size and number of windows you need to do). This creates an insulating layer of air between the warm inside air and the freezing window. I did it on all the windows of my house last year except for my illustration studio, and I had no ice on the inside of the windows with plastic insulation and half inch thick ice and thick frost on the bottoms of my studio windows (with the same inside air). We actually have pretty LOW humidity in winter inside, esp with forced air heating, but it is still so cold that any humidity at all will condense and freeze on such cold windows. Nb, I don't have insulating curtains, just blinds we pull down to block when it is too sunny, or for privacy, so that definitely isn't our cause. The insulating plastic, which is quick and easy to install, will cut your heating bills and make your home much more cozy.