Q: We recently moved into a newly constructed home and have a huge problem with our double-pane windows sweating all the way around the metal frames during the winter months. (We live in Texas.) What can we do?
A: The condensation you described is, unfortunately, quite common because of the extreme temperature gradient and high humidity. To help reduce this problem, some window manufacturers are installing a vinyl thermal between the inside and outside portion of the window frame. This seems to help quite a bit. You probably can’t tell if your windows have this unless you contact the supplier or take the window unit out.
The problem of window condensation most frequently occurs on windows exposed to the extreme temperatures (usually the north) or those with curtains. The problem is also increased because furnaces in the south don’t work as hard as they do up north. With milder temperatures the furnace doesn’t have to run as long so the air is not dried out as much as in homes up north.
There are several things you can try. First, if you have drapes, be sure to leave them open. In my own house, I have removed all drapes and use mini-blinds.
The second thing is to check to be sure that the heating system is working properly with adequate air flow into each room and the vents are directing the air toward the outside walls.
Thirdly, if you have ceiling fans, use them to circulate the air. If the fan motor or blades are reversible, it will help circulate the air without creating a hard down draft.
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Weep holes are designed to drain out any water that seeps through the brick or mortar. The only problem is that 95 percent of the time, as the brick wall is built, the excess mortar falls down the back wall and covers them up. You could drill out weep holes if you want, taking care not to chip the brick as you drill, but they may not be functional if there is excess mortar behind the veneer.