Window technology has come a long way in the past 100 years. Double- and even triple-pane windows filled with insulating gas improve home efficiency and help prevent condensation and ice from forming on the glass. However, if you live in an older home and still have single-pane windows, you could still experience ice on windows following a particularly bitter cold night.
Why Does Ice Form on Windows?
Glass is a cold surface that makes the air around it chilly. During the winter, warm indoor air has more moisture in it than cold outdoor air. Since cold air can’t hold as much water vapor, droplets condense on the window pane as the air around it cools. This is the same reason water droplets form on the outside of your lemonade glass on a hot summer day.
If outdoor temperatures get low enough and your windows allow enough of that cold air to pass through them, the condensation can freeze. This is how ice can form on the inside of your windows.
What’s the Problem with Ice on Windows?
Frosty glass is beautiful, but you shouldn’t welcome it. After all, when the ice melts as temperatures warms up outside, it drips down the glass and onto the sill. Water can rot wood windowsills or seep down into the wall, promoting mold and mildew that can rot away the structural integrity of your home.
How to Help Prevent Ice Buildup on Windows
Clearly, you don’t want ice on your windows. Here’s how to help prevent it:
- Weatherize your windows: Every fall, install storm windows to give your home an extra buffer against freezing outside air. Caulk any leaks that could allow cold air to enter.
- Run exhaust fans: Additional moisture in indoor air increases the likelihood of condensation and ice on windows. To remove excess moisture, run the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fan when you cook and shower.
- Keep the interior warm enough: Air near the windows won’t get cold enough for ice to form if you keep the thermostat turned up. If one room has a particular problem with ice forming on windows, run a space heater on cold nights to hopefully solve the problem.
- Replace your windows: If your efforts don’t pan out, or you simply want to improve your home’s energy efficiency, consider upgrading to double-pane windows.