Unless your home still has single-pane windows, your windows have seals and those seals have the potential to fail. Understanding what window seals are and how to tell if they have failed will help you to catch any problems right when they happen.
The presence of window seals is one of the key differences between single and double or triple pane windows. Windows with seals are constructed from 2 or 3 panes of glass which are separated by a thermal spacer of inert gas or a partial vacuum. The series of panes and spacers are sealed together at the edges to prevent the gas/vacuum from escaping and contaminants from infiltrating.
A broken window seal is no longer able to keep out dust and dirt. On windy days, small particles get blown in between the panes and become trapped there. Small bugs may also work their way in.
If you have cleaned both the inside and the outside of your windows, but they still look dirty, the dirt is most likely lurking between the panes and is caused by seal failure.
The purpose of window seals is to create a thermal barrier between the inside and outside of the window so that heat transfer is lessened. When the seal fails, the space between the windows is directly exposed to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Moisture becomes trapped between the panes and is visible in the form of condensation. The condensation is likely to be most prevalent during periods of extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations.
Rather than waiting for the weather to change, you can test for condensation by intentionally creating a temperature differential and observing the results.
If you are seeing water droplets, fog or frost between your window panes, your window seal has likely failed.
The construction of sealed windows is such that the inert gas or vacuum pocket is designed to exist in a state of equilibrium with the glass panes. If the seal fails, the gas leaks out or the vacuum is replaced with air. This can alter the structural stability of the window pane itself, causing visual changes.
To check for this, stand outside and observe the window from various angles and distances to look for distortions. The most common area for distortions to initially form is in the center of the glass.
If your window seals have failed, it may be due to defective manufacturing or damage that occurred during shipping or installation.
Extreme weather conditions with accompanying temperature and humidity fluctuations are hard on windows and can also lead to seal failure.
Even if windows are manufactured, installed and maintenance perfectly, seals may still fail as the windows age.
The first step to take if you suspect your seals have failed is to pull out your warranty paperwork and confirm whether your windows are still covered. Many windows come with a lifetime warranty that helps protect you from a product failure.
Whether your windows are under warranty or not, we can inspect the windows and give you a no-obligation quote. Contact us today and we will be happy to help you get your home’s windows back to looking and functioning their best.