Milanese Remodeling
by Mark Milanese
March 5th, 2015

A “Surelock Homes” Mystery: The Case of the Watery Windows

The royal glazier was held captive in the tower of London awaiting his execution. Windows he replaced were making water in the grand ballroom of Buckingham Palace, and the tapestry drapes had been stained by the water on the glass. By royal decree, the window installer’s head would roll at the break of dawn.

The Queen herself had discovered the damage. When she saw what happened to the royal drapes, she was furious. They were priceless heirlooms! And so, the glazier’s gloomy fate was set, and his time on earth would meet a bloody end.

I was sitting with Surelock Homes’ in his study when inspector Barton came from Scotland Yard to enlist the great detective’s help. He wasn’t convinced of the glazier’s guilt, but he couldn’t prove his innocence either.

The glazier was known to be a respectable craftsman. His long track record for well-sealed windows had been impeccable. Furthermore, the London weather had been memorable because it was so unusual. Not a drop of water had fallen from the winter sky since the new windows were installed. For more than a month there had been only a freezing dry air that chilled the bone. Still, somehow there was water inside the glass the window man installed.

Scotland Yard was baffled by this mystery and they decided to seek the help of the great detective. When Homes heard case, the detective didn’t blink. He cried out, “Release the glazier! He is guilty of nothing, save installing a window that was a bit too air-tight.”

I was amazed by the detective’s ability to reason. I’d witnessed him use his expert deductive skills before, but I didn’t understand how he could determine the glazier’s innocence without even inspecting the ballroom.

When I questioned the great detective, he said, “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.”

To be continued …

Spoiler alert! Condensation is not caused by doors or windows. Condensation is caused by high levels of humidity and low glass surface temperatures.

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  1. Exactly.
    Common comment from homeowners with new windows installed:
    My old windows did not condensate as bad as our new windows.
    Most explanations from window retailers or manufacturers is a little evassive and not a satisfactory answer for the consumer.
    I have created what I believe to be a very informative and educational explanation in laymans terms.
    From my retail experience on dealing and solving this issue for 35 plus years now, I have listed all the possible reasons and solutions and how to solve the issue, by homeowner or by HVAC professional.
    It mostly comes down to changing and adjusting certain living habits that were OK on a less efficient, drafty home, to now suit a more efficient air tight home.
    By the way, we did not have one condensation call on our triple glass with krypton gas!!
    It’s worth the read on our website: , go to our “RESOURCES” tab, top right
    Hope this helps

  2. Terry, that is great!
    This is the first of 5 articles I wrote on how to understand and stop water condensation on windows. Future articles will explain the dew point, CRF, how to use the AAMA Condensatio. Resistant Calculator, how to use a sling psycrometer and how to explain window condensation to clients. The entire article will be available as a PDF file for readers to download and share on their own websites.

  3. My question would be- were the drapes open or closed? If closed, open the drapes so there is air circulation at the window- windows don’t create condensation, they only show it. They could open a window slightly to allow for air circulation.

  4. I truly appreciate creative minds that can turn an age old problem into interesting reading.
    I have been in the glass and/or window business for 45 years and yes this condition still presents itself each winter from typical the consumer that has not experienced it before.
    I have collected a lot of date of the years to share with the consumers.
    But I am always interested in any new approach.

  5. Lance,
    This is Dr Watson again.
    In answer to your question, I would have to presume the drapes were drawn tightly. As you are I am sure well aware, all Londoners do so in winter. Glass is much too expensive for London dwellers. Only monarchy, the church and aristocratic Lords of Manor homes have glass in windows. Those with window sash have those of waxed paper. We use wooden shutters to cut down on the draughts and blankets or drapes to hold in the heat.

    I should perhaps update you as to the goings on with the investigation at the Royal Palace…. Inspector Greenway from Scotland Yard entered soon after I last wrote and they are pursuing a new lead.
    It seems the Royal Glazier was a strapping lad with a proclivity for dallying with local wenches. One of the Queen’s washerwoman had a ribald, but short-lived romance with the window man. She had washed the Royal bedding – It seems even royal blankets and mattress can get buggy – In any case, she was in the ballroom hanging the Royal bedclothes to dry because of the winter freeze outdoors. She and the window man got into a heated argument about his level of commitment to their relationship….
    Scotland Yard now suspects she meant to injure the man’s reputation out of spite. It has been said before that Hell hath no fury such as a woman scorned.
    They suppose she snuck under the heavy tapestry drapes and placed the water on the glass. She professes her innocence, of course.
    Surelock apparently does not believe the washer woman is guilty either.
    When he heard Scotland Yard’s latest theory he simply muttered, “Balderdash”.
    He is preparing a wooden box with 2 thermometers one wrapped with a wet cotton cloth. He intends to swing the box in the air of each room in the palace to prove some scientific point which eludes me.

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