“Why Is There Moisture on My Windows?”

“Why is There Moisture on My Windows?”

“Why is There Moisture on My Windows?”

This is a common question asked by many homeowners annually in the winter when the temperature drops. More often than not, people with homes that are less than 20 years old ask the question, or people with homes that are much older with newly installed windows. While the simple answer would be to just blame the windows, it is actually much more complicated than that.

For those of you that are not meteorologists, Wikipedia defines the dew point as “the temperature below which the water vapor in a volume of humid air at a constant barometric pressure will condense into liquid water.” Have you ever had an ice-cold glass of lemonade outside on a warm, humid day? Did you notice how the outside of the glass accumulated moisture? The reason that the water collected on the outside of the glass has everything to do with the dew point.

“So what does this have to do with my windows?” you might ask.

When discussing window condensation with homeowners, I always tell them there are two parts to solving their window moisture problems.  One part is my job, and one part is their job.

The first part (my job) is to make sure that the home has windows with a high quality glass package that will keep that glass temperature as high as possible. It is important to set realistic expectations at this point. When the temperature outside is 0° and the inside temperature is 70°, it is unrealistic to expect your inside glass temperature to be 70°. Typically, depending on the quality of the window, the inside glass temperature will be somewhere between 30° and 55°. Obviously, the warmer it is, the better. This is important because, if that glass drops below the dew point, you will see moisture appear on the glass.

The second part (the homeowner’s job) is to control the humidity levels in the home in order to keep the dew point as low as possible. There are many sources of humidity in the home, including humidifiers, heating systems, cooking, showers and baths, plants, pets, and even our bodies. All of these things contribute to the amount of moisture in the air inside our homes. As newer homes have been built tighter with less air leakage, and older homes are being retrofitted with tighter energy efficient products, this moisture cannot escape to the outside like it used to be able to.

So what can a homeowner do?

During the winter months, carefully monitor the humidity levels in the home. The following chart shows where your indoor humidity levels should be based on the outdoor air temperature.


Outside Temperature (°F) Inside Relative Humidity (%)
-20 15-20%
-10 15-20%
0 20-25%
10 25-30%
20 30-35%


Another solution that has proven to be very effective is to use a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to exchange the moist inside air with the dry outside air. These systems work by drawing the warm moist air from the house into the unit through your cold air returns, sending it to the outside of the home through a duct, and then drawing cool dry air from the outside back into the house to replace it. An HRV can be purchased from your local heating and cooling contractor, who will typically do the installation and adjustments required.

In addition to maintaining lower humidity levels, open any heavy curtains and move furniture away from windows that may block air circulation. Also, keep plants out of your bow and bay windows in the winter.  Be sure to use an exhaust fan in any bath or shower areas to take the moisture outside of the home, because that moisture doesn’t just stay in the bathroom.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, or if you like to have a little more humidity in the air than what is listed above, you should expect to see some moisture on your glass. If you have wood windows, you can expect this moisture to seep into the sash frames and damage the finish, rot the wood, or grow mold along the edge of the glass.

However, if you have windows that are made of fiberglass or vinyl, this moisture will typically dry up once the weather outside warms up or the humidity level in the home drops, without causing damage to the finish or function of your window.

To alleviate the issue of window condensation, consider installing Infinity Fiberglass Replacement Windows. Contact Callen to schedule a free consultation.

by Mike Wood, Sales Manager



4 Super-Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating Ideas

4 Super-Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating IdeasFor many people, decorating is one of the most enjoyable parts of the Christmas season. With so many different types of holiday decorations available, from cute and quaint to glittering and elegant, your holiday decorating budget can quickly start encroaching on your gift-buying budget if you’re not careful.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on fancy decorations for your house to look festive and inviting. This holiday season, keep things simple and try out a few of these easy ideas for decorating your front porch, shared by your favorite remodeling company, Callen Construction.

Mini Christmas Trees

What could be cuter than miniature Christmas trees standing sentinel at your front door? Add some bows and a few shiny ornaments, and you’ll have the perfect pair to frame the entryway.


Another plant that looks great flanking the porch steps or the front door is the poinsettia. A pair of colorful, artificial poinsettia plants add a classic element that is quintessentially Christmas, and is an inexpensive way to dress up your porch and bring some holiday cheer.

Garland Green

Whether embellished with ribbons and lights or left in its natural glory, a pine garland adds the perfect wintry touch to any holiday setting. Wind some around the porch banisters to enhance your outdoor decor, and don’t forget to add some around the doorway as well.


If you do nothing else when it comes to decorating, at least hang a cheery holiday wreath on your door. Start with a simple grapevine wreath and add whatever embellishments you prefer, or perhaps a fragrant pine wreath to match your garland is the way to go. Whichever style you choose, a beautiful wreath is sure to lift the spirits of any visitor.

If you’re hosting the big family dinner next year and want your house to look its best, some exterior remodeling or basement finishing may be in order. Give Callen a call today at 414-765-2585 and let’s start planning your next remodeling project!



Siding in Colder Climates

Siding in Colder Climates

If you are looking for new siding, cost, style, and color are probably the first three factors that come to mind. However, the elements should actually be at the forefront of your thoughts because you want to choose siding that is well suited for any type of weather. As we rapidly approach the official start of the winter season, it’s especially important to ensure your home’s siding is durable enough to withstand freezing temperatures.

Your home’s siding is the first line of defense against inclement weather conditions. Since we live in a climate that experiences very cold weather, it’s natural to have some concerns about the material you’re putting on your home. If they aren’t installed or maintained properly, any siding material can experience issues caused by the cold weather.

A primary concern when selecting siding for cold climates is insulation. You want to ensure that your siding can help keep out the winter elements that can drive your utility bills through the roof. Products like composite wood siding paired with rigid foam board insulation or premium insulated vinyl siding are made just for this purpose and create an excellent barrier against the cold. Most types of insulation used with these siding options are formed to fit perfectly behind the siding, leaving no gaps where air or moisture can infiltrate your home. Installing a rigid insulation board under the new siding will also reduce “thermal bridging” where cold temperatures can pass through conductive materials such as wall sheathing and more importantly, wall studs, causing considerable heat loss and discomfort.

Another concern most people have is the freeze/thaw cycle. In cold climates, any moisture that seeps into a material can freeze very quickly when temperatures drop. When water freezes, it expands, which can do serious damage to siding and the structure of a home. While most siding in good condition is fairly watertight, products like cedar wood that is losing its paint or mortar that has some cracks in it can become problematic because water can seep in just enough to freeze and expand. Composite wood siding and premium insulated vinyl siding are made up of elements that are water resistant. These products don’t absorb water, swell, or expand, so you don’t have to worry about how a freeze/thaw cycle will affect your siding over time. In addition to these products, the installation of a weather-resistant barrier, otherwise known as a house-wrap, will minimize moisture intrusion and ensure the materials behind the wall cladding remain dry.

Be sure your home’s defenses are up this winter with proper insulation and siding. Remember, even though the exterior style, color, and look of your home is important, protecting your home from the elements using high quality, durable materials should be number one on your list. Not only will new siding extend the life of the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal, but it can also save you money on your energy bills.



What Is Ice Damming and How Do I Prevent It?

What Is Ice Damming and How Do I Prevent It?Ice damming is the result of a continuous cycle where snow on your roof is melted by the sun or heat from inside your home escaping, possibly due to inadequate attic insulation and/or roof ventilation. The ice dam occurs when water runs down to the roof edge where it refreezes, then continues to build up higher until it eventually backs up under your roof shingles. Ice dams can be very dangerous and costly. Plus, some damage may not be easily seen, sometimes for years.

When the outside temperature warms up, the ice buildup will begin to melt. Since the ice buildup has worked its way up under the shingles, the water from the ice melting can work its way into your home, damaging the attic walls, floors, furniture, and eventually your basement. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, cars, and people.

Proper roof ventilation and adequate attic insulation are vital to maintaining your home and reducing ice damming. Homeowners can also reduce ice dams by raking the roof with a snow rake to expose the shingles at the eaves. A good rule of thumb is to clear off your roof after every 4-6 inches of snowfall. Snow raking will also lessen the weight on your roof, which will ease stress on the structure and reduce any leaks or weak points.

If the condition of your roof or adequate insulation are a concern, a quick call to Callen Construction at 414-765-2585 will get you a FREE estimate, as well as the knowledge and advice of seasoned professionals.