Ah, frost. Frost is a sign that ’tis the season to be jolly and all that holiday jazz, but frost in between your double-paned windows is a sign of a problem. Here’s what you should know if you can’t see through your window due to frost in between the panes.
Frost is trapped, frozen moisture
While it’s obvious that frost is frozen moisture, many people do not realize that there should not be any moisture in between the panes of a double-paned window. This enclosed space should be sealed tight so no moisture can get inside. A tightly sealed space in between the panes is what gives the window the insulation capabilities that this design was created for. Frost, which is simply frozen condensation, won’t clear up when it’s trapped inside this space until the temperature on both sides of the window is the same as the temperature inside the space, which would mean there is no dew point.
The dew point is the temperature at which water vapor in air forms into visible water droplets, which happens because water vapor moves closer together when the air cools until the droplets become large. During the winter months, the exterior pane would collect condensation that would turn into frost. During the summer months, the condensation would form on the interior pane due to the cooler indoor temperatures from air conditioning.
Banish moisture and frost for good
Therefore, the only way to clear things up and keep them clear year-long is to remove the moisture from in between the window panes. One way to do this is by installing one-way valves on both sides of the window so a small amount of fresh air can enter the space, which will push the same amount of air (and moisture) out of the space on the other side. While this will work to prevent moisture from getting trapped, it will reduce the insulation capabilities of the double-paned window.
You can also reglaze the window or replace the entire window, especially if you live in a cold weather climate and are looking for cost-savings in your heating bill. If you consider either of these options and have an older house with wood-framed windows, consider installing new vinyl windows to avoid condensation and frost problems in the future. Wooden windows are more susceptible to breakages in the moisture-barrier seals since wood is more prone to water damage than vinyl; have a peek here for more information on vinyl windows.