Dual-pane windows can help keep your home comfortable all year round and also give you savings on your energy costs. These units feature two sheets of glass with an inert gas fill in between the panes. They insulate and protect your home better than single-pane windows. With these windows, your living spaces will also become more peaceful as they have excellent sound-blocking properties.
A common problem in multi-pane windows is seal failure. Over time, window seals wear down and eventually need replacement. Find out what usually causes this issue here.
What Are Thermal Windows?
A window assembly with at least two panes of glass is called an insulated glazing unit (IGU). These windows are also called thermopanes or insulated windows. Manufacturers remove the air between the panes and fill it with a noble gas, such as krypton or argon. These gases halt heat transfer through windows, and they are also not as conductive as air.
When the seals around the edges of an IGU breaks, the gas fills can escape, and air and moisture will enter the panes. Once this occurs, the IGU will lose its insulating properties. You’ll know the gas seals have been compromised when there is fogginess inside the unit or the inside surface of the glass. This will not only harm the appearance of your windows, but also significantly reduce their energy efficiency.
What Are Window Seals?
A sealing material is embedded in the edges of the panes of IGU windows. It may look like a single seal, but it’s actually two seals working together. Usually, the inner sealant is made of polyisobutylene (PIB) while the outer sealant is an elastic rubber-like seal. The outer seal is what holds the glass units in place and keeps them weathertight throughout their service life.
Manufacturers designed these window seals to last long, but they can still fail. House painters using heat guns to strip paint or homeowners using power washers to clean windows can damage these seals. It’s the same for faulty installation. Even without these incidents, seals can still fail. According to experts, 1% of gas escapes windows under good conditions each year. This rate is even faster in poor quality units.
What Causes Them to Break?
While window seals are made to resist the elements, they can only handle so much. For instance, some prolonged rain exposure can easily compromise certain types of seal materials. Rainwater can seep through the seals. This kind of window seal failure is worse because the seal will not be flush with the window frame, allowing water and cold air to enter. Water can damage the metal components of your windows, resulting in rust, which can lead to corrosion when not addressed immediately.
Normal Wear or Age
It’s not common for older windows to come with a lifetime guarantee. Older methods of weather protection are also more likely to fail early. You can maintain the efficiency of your windows by replacing their weatherstripping as necessary. It pays to invest in quality replacement windows for your Tennessee home.
The weatherstripping needs to be positioned correctly for it to work properly. In some cases, window seals have not been fitted properly or have moved over time. A good window contractor knows the right tools and fasteners to secure weather stripping and when to replace them.
The closeness of your windows to your home’s external facade makes it more exposed to temperature extremes. Extended exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures as well as sudden temperature changes can cause certain types of window seals to crack, sag or shrink.
Mold will eventually develop in windows that regularly experience condensation, which aren’t wiped dry. These microorganisms can compromise the efficiency of the seal, especially if it’s made from rubber. Once you see mold or discoloration on your windows, make sure to clean them immediately using an alcohol-based cleaning solution to kill the spores. If you prefer something more natural, you can also use equal parts of water and vinegar.
Manufacturers normally include instructions on how to maintain the weatherstripping and keep it efficient. Most of the time, it just indicates wiping the material and keeping it dry and clean. However, it may also state which cleaning solutions you can and can’t use. Make sure that you read the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully and perform necessary maintenance.
What Can You Do?
Call In the Warranty
As much as possible, choose windows that come with comprehensive warranties. This can save you from stress if your windows experience issues. If your window’s warranty is still valid, call the manufacturer to have your problem addressed.
Have the Sealed Repaired
You can have your window seals repaired, but this doesn’t mean the unit will work the way it used to in the past. Your window will not have the same insulating properties because the insulating argon gas between the panes won’t be replaced. While it doesn’t cost as much as a complete replacement, your energy costs may increase.
Get New Windows
A window replacement is your first option if your warranty is past its validity. New windows may cost more than repairs, but energy efficiency will give you long-term protection and savings. These windows can help keep your home comfortable no matter the season, meaning your HVAC system doesn’t need to work hard.
To make the most of your investment, hire a skilled window installer. Choose a company with a proven reputation and many positive reviews. Always do your research before hiring a contractor and ask for proof of license and insurance.
Whether you’re looking for high-quality casement, picture or bay windows, you can rely on Renewal by Andersen® of Nashville. Our experienced team will make sure that you get the best windows and doors for your home. Also, all our products are backed by some of the most comprehensive warranties in the industry. Give us a call at (615) 238-9463, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We serve homeowners in Murfreesboro, TN, and the surrounding communities.