I live by the sea in a house that was built 120 years ago. This makes for great views, great room proportions – and condensation. The moisture-rich air of my coastal location plays a role, as does the cool temperature of our home (it’s a period property so quite drafty and hard to heat), and the fact is built to from a material locally known as “bungaroosh” – basically stones, pebbles, flint and wood set in a moisture-loving lime mortar.
Moisture building up on my windows is not a problem for most of the year. But as soon as the weather gets colder and the rates of rain, snow, and fog increase, I start to notice condensation building up on the glass.
While the weather is still relatively warm, the condensation evaporates as the sun rises and hits the glass. But as fall and winter set in and temperatures drop, condensation gets worse. On a very cold, humid day, it can drip from the window onto the windowsill, where it collects in small puddles.
I have tried various measures to eliminate the condensation inside the windows. But I needed a serious solution to the problem, and I found it in a window vacuum. Mine is the Karcher WV 1 Plus Window Vacuum Squeegee – currently for sale on Amazon (opens in a new tab) (details below), which I really recommend, but also great buys on Amazon, from Eave (opens in a new tab)Kiato (opens in a new tab) and Karcher (opens in a new tab). It made a huge difference to our home’s humidity problem, and that’s why.
Why I vacuum my windows to get rid of condensation
Condensation occurs when water vapor in the air comes into contact with a cooler surface and then condenses into water droplets. This happens frequently with windows, as the glazing is usually cooler than the room itself. Opening windows and curtains, installing vents and installing double glazing help reduce condensation.
We have double glazing on the ground floor in our living room and the extra insulation means condensation is not an issue in this space. This is also not a problem at the back of the house, which faces east and therefore receives the light first. Even a weak winter sun seems to warm the windows enough to cause nighttime condensation to evaporate. It needs to be really cold before condensation becomes a problem.
Our bedroom and bathroom, which are at the front of the house, is where the problem lies. I needed an effective remedy to cure the condensation on the windows here. All that water buildup on the sills of our sash windows exposed them to water damage and rot, which would require expensive repairs.
I used an absorbent cloth to wipe the condensation off the windows every morning, but it was time consuming and a lot of effort – it wasn’t the best way to start the day. So, on the recommendation of my sister-in-law, I bought a window vacuum cleaner.
Tips and tricks for using a window vacuum
A window vacuum is a motorized suction squeegee. You stroke the window pane with the head of the vacuum cleaner, and the water is sucked into a collection cup that you unclip to empty it. My version is cordless, so I leave it in its charging base so it’s powered up and ready when I need to use it.
It’s quick and easy to use – and really effective at removing condensation from windows – but through trial and error I’ve identified a few tricks to get the best results.
First, start at the top of the windows and work down, making sure to get into the corners of the windows and all the way to the edges of the frames.
Most window vacuums can be used both horizontally and vertically, giving you access to those delicate edges. However, if the water reservoir is full or nearly full, it can cause the water collected through the vents to release, undoing some of your good work. My advice is therefore to empty the water tank frequently.
When working on the window, you may need to change the angle at which you hold the vacuum head to maintain contact with the window surface. A model with a flexible neck facilitates this.
To collect accumulated water at the bottom of the frame, flatten the head of the vacuum cleaner against the frame. In this way, it can suck the moisture directly.
My final tip is to use the window vacuum regularly in cold, wet weather, even if the condensation doesn’t seem particularly bad. I found that there was less water to remove from windows when I used the vacuum daily. It makes the job even faster, and I also think it means less humidity in the air in my house, which improves damp and mold problems.
Using a window vacuum on the walls
Condensation can also collect on cold walls – a factor in my house, where some of the exterior walls can be cold to the touch during the winter months. Although I can’t see the water pooling on the walls, as some people report, mold spots do appear during the winter months if I don’t get the condensation and dampness issues under control.
I’ve written about how to get rid of black mold, but I find I need to do it less if I vacuum my windows regularly. Some people also use a window vacuum to remove condensation from their bathroom walls after a bath or shower.
My dehumidifier and window vacuum combo
A window vacuum can help remove condensation from windows, but the best trick to minimizing the problem is to prevent moisture from reaching your glass in the first place. That’s why I researched the best dehumidifier and chose the ideal option for our home, based on its size and the rooms affected by condensation.
I wanted to know how much it costs to run a dehumidifier and decided on a smart model that only turns on when needed to reduce our energy consumption. Like my colleague Chiana, I bought a dehumidifier and I wouldn’t want to be without it.
Running the dehumidifier on our second floor landing, where it can draw moisture from inner tubes and bathrooms, has greatly reduced the amount of condensation – especially since I can switch it to laundry mode when drying clothes.
As a result, I still use my window vacuum to remove condensation from my windows but there is less moisture to collect and I have to use it less often. I think I’ve found my ultimate remedy for condensation.