Ice on the Inside of Your Windows Doesn’t Mean You Need to Replace Them

updated Jan 2, 2024
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In the cold of winter, it can feel like harsh weather tries to sneak its way indoors in invisible ways, like through drafty doors and leaky windows. But sometimes, you can actually see the effect of cold temperatures indoors, like with condensation and ice on windows.

While foggy windows are a frequent occurrence — and no big deal — in cars, spotting this same temperature fluctuation on your home’s panes can be a problem. That’s because it means that you’re paying for heat that you’re not using, for one, and because that extra moisture can cause secondary issues like mold, mildew, and even bugs.

“Condensation on the inside of your window can usually be an easy fix, but it’s important to address it quickly,” says Mallory Micetich, Angi Home Expert. (Of course, there are some times that you’ll need pro intervention, so you should know what to look for in those cases, too.)

Here’s what you need to do if you’ve spotted ice on the inside of your windows.

Quick Overview

Why Is There Ice on My Windows, and How Do I Fix It?

Ice forms on the insides of windows when the inside air is much warmer than the outside air, which leads to condensation. Once condensation forms on the glass, cold enough exterior temperatures can cause it to freeze.

The best ways to fix ice on the inside of windows are to lower the humidity inside your home and to increase ventilation.

Why Is There Ice On The Inside of My Windows?

“Condensation happens when warm, humid air comes into contact with a cold surface like your window,” says Micetich. “If you notice this on the outside of your windows, there is no need to worry. However, if you notice condensation on the inside of your windows or between glass panes on double- or triple-paned windows, then this can be a sign of a worn-out window seal or excessive humidity within your home.”

While you might see condensation as fog or water droplets, cold enough temperatures could also cause this condensation to freeze — leading to ice on your windows.

Where Do You See Ice on Windows?

Condensation could happen in various areas of a home, but window condensation or ice usually occurs in kitchens, laundry rooms, or bathrooms — anywhere moisture and temperature changes intermingle.

If you’ve noticed the window above your kitchen sink or in your bathroom fogging over and not dissipating, then the Micetich recommends making use of ventilation (more on that below).

Noticing the condensation on your living room windows? “There could just be too big of a temperature difference between the inside and outside of your home,” Micetich notes. “In winter, if you’re able to, grab a blanket and try turning down the heat in your home. In the summer, turn the heat slightly up. This can even help you to save on your utility bills.”

What To Do About Ice On Inside of Windows? 

While it can be startling to witness ice forming inside your home, fear not. There are things you can do to cut down on this happening (and prevent the damage that can come with, like mold, mildew, warped wood, and even infestation of moisture-loving bugs). Taking these steps now could save you thousands in window replacement costs later.

Below, five tried and true methods for preventing or cutting down on ice on the inside of your windows. 

1. Use a dehumidifier. 

You might generally think of winter as a dry season, with the use of indoor heating contributing to lower air moisture overall. But there are rooms where the humidity might be too high (like the aforementioned kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom).

“Try to limit the humidity in these spaces either with a dehumidifier, or by taking shorter showers, running a dishwasher less, and making sure to use exhaust fans,” Micetich says.

2. Use your exhaust fans.

Speaking of exhaust fans: Another way to cut down on excess moisture in your home and ice on your windows is to increase ventilation by operating bath and kitchen exhaust fans. Even when you’re not cooking or showering, these fans can cut down on inside humidity. Just be sure that exhaust fans are blowing directly outside of your home instead of into an attic space.

3. Seal all joints.

Leaky window frames and door frames can cause cold air to come inside, where it hits warm air and creates condensation and ice on windows. The solution? Make sure any cracks are sealed up by using caulk or other insulation.

A more temporary solution is to install a plastic film over the windows, making sure to wrap it around the frame. This is a simple DIY that can be done with plastic film and a hairdryer, and is easily removed when temps start to rise outside. 

4. Use heavy drapes.

Another easy to way to prevent cold air from getting inside is to hang heavy drapes or thermal curtains, which provide an additional barrier between the cold outside air and the warm inside air.

5. Keep consistent temperatures.

Again, the culprit for condensation and ice on your windows is a difference between outdoor and indoor air. One way to combat it without much effort is by keeping your home a consistent temperature. Micetich says there are a few things to remember in order to keep your space comfortable and condensation-free. 

“To help prevent moisture on the insides of your windows, you’ll want to keep your home’s interior temperature to around 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit,” she says. “Additionally, you’ll want to keep the humidity levels within your home in check. Humidity levels inside should always be below 60 percent, but the ideal humidity should be around 30 percent in winter and 50 percent in summer.”

Investing in a hygrometer to check your levels can be worth it, just to make sure, she adds.

What to Do If the Condensation Remains 

While the tips mentioned above will likely solve your issue, the problem of ice on the inside of windows could also be too far gone for simple tricks. If you notice that the condensation is between the panes of your window, then you might need to call in a professional.

“You may be able to save the window by calling in a pro who can drill a small hole in the window, insert a chemical between the panes to eliminate moisture, remove the air with a valve and pump, and then apply a new seal,” Micetich says. “If this isn’t done quickly enough, it can lead to mold or warping of the window frame, which will require a pro to replace the window.”

Overall, by putting some low-lift measures in place, ice on the inside of windows doesn’t have to be much more than a passing issue. Just make sure to keep an eye on the temperature shifts and address them quickly, and you can avoid a larger problem down the road.