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How to Fix a Broken Window Seal

Got a broken window seal? Here is how you identify and fix it

Is your room more humid or colder than before? Are the windows of your room hazy? What can be the reason behind unnecessary humming in the room? Is it challenging to find the source of the problem?  

These are some of the questions that surface when you have a  broken window seal. It is surprising how many home-related problems come from windows. And how many problems get fixed for the long term if window-specific problems are addressed in a timely manner and with care. 

Identifying the source of the problem that is causing noise leakage and humidity can be difficult. You usually find it is a broken window seal that is causing issues. Replacement of window seals can be expensive. Therefore, it is wise to fix them before they start causing serious problems. You can seek consultation from one of the Window Liquidators experts for properly getting your window seal fixed if you don’t want to take the risk of fixing it yourself. 

However, fixing issues related to window seals can be too difficult for amateurs. If a homeowner enjoys home improvement projects, they might try and tackle window seal repair. If not fixed correctly, faulty seals continue to create issues for the entire home. That is why this particular renovation project is best left to experts.   

Why Fix Your Window Seals at All?

Source: Glassdoctor

It becomes vital for us to make a careful decision whether our windows, regardless of their type, need replacement or renovation. Usually, replacement comes into question in places where there are extreme climates. In states with milder climates vinyl windows last up to 15 years, that is with proper upkeep and maintenance.

Unfixed windows can cause multiple problems, including energy expenditure, high maintenance for cooling units, and more. Before you make a repair or replacement decision, it is wise to check the warranty on your window seal. It can save you a lot of money since the replacement of windows can be costly. 

If you decide to repair the issues, it is important to have detailed research on the problem at hand before beginning the process of fixing it. You need an overall understanding of different parts of a window. (You can read more about different windows and their parts here). Also, you should understand how to identify whether a broken seal is really causing your problem. Those issues caused by a broken window seal can include high humidity, improper insulation or noise leakage, plus other related problems like an air conditioner not functioning properly.

How to Identify a Broken Window Seal

Whether it is the excess moisture or cold breeze that is making indoors cooler than usual, it is essential to fix the issues relating to windows before they turn into something really expensive. Recognizing the source of the problem relating to windows can be tricky, but knowledge of some of the common identifiers helps. First, let us understand some of the basic kinds of windows that come with a seal such that we can differentiate better and come with a better solution for the same.  

The most windows that have a seal are single-pane windows, double-pane windows, and triple-pane windows. Panes are nothing but sheets of glass that are fit inside the frame of the window. Double pane windows have two panes and are the window style most used in residential construction. (Single pane windows that are almost outdated, and triple-pane windows are not a common option for homes.) They are also known as thermopane windows with two panes of glass for better insulation. Most manufacturers add the advantage of argon gas filling, which provides increased insulation. Argon gas is used instead of other gases because argon has 34% less thermal conductivity than the standard atmosphere.

Source: Glassdoctor

Now that the type of windows with window seals are identified, let’s move on to the issues caused by broken window seals. The following are signs that you might have a leaky window seal: 

  • Hazy appearance: When windows are covered with condensed water or moisture, it is usually caused by a broken window seal. The window should be blocking moisture from coming into the house, but with a broken seal the moisture finds its way inside. 
  • Peeling or rotting panes: Another way to identify a compromised window seal is through the appearance of the panes. When they begin to rot and deteriorate as a result of change in the temperature causing expansion and contraction, it is quite likely that the seal is damaged too.  
  • Cracks: A broken window seal causes the window to crack from inside due to improper installation/caulking or wear and tear of the window. This also happens when the argon gas that is filled in the window leaks.  
  • Unwashable scum on the window: When there is failure in window sealing, it causes the formation of scum on the window. Unlike other forms of scum that can be easily cleaned, this cannot be cleaned, and it settles quite prominently on the pane.  
  • High energy bills: Due to lack of insulation, it is obvious that energy bills will skyrocket. If you are receiving high energy bills, it is quite possible that it can be due to failure in window sealing causing the cooling units to work more than required consuming more power.
Source: greatinspector

Common causes of window seal failure

Now that you know about the most common identifiers of a broken window seal it is crucial that we know the reasons behind its failure. The following are some of the common causes of window seal breaks:  

  • Increased exposure to sunlight:  Increased exposure to sunlight is a common issue for windows that are sun-facing. It causes expansion and contraction of glass with the stiffening of the seal (also known as solar pumping), resulting in the seal’s breakage.  
  • Faulty installation: Incorrect installation can also result in the failure of window sealing. If you have had someone who isn’t experienced to check the insulation of the sealing of your windows or install your windows, this can happen. It can be due to the seal not given enough time to settle or damage caused to sealing while installing.  
Source: Caspersen
  • Moisture: If you live in a humid place with more rain, then this can also cause a breakage of the seal due to water being settled in the corners. When exposed to humidity, wood begins to dampen, and metal begins to rust. This causes the overall structural strength to degrade.  
  • Temperature: Temperature changes can ruin the window seal. Cycles in temperqture that cause exposure to heat and cold can cause the glass to expand and contract, affecting its structural integrity significantly.  
  • Lack of maintenance: When left for long periods without maintenance, windows can lose their structural quality, which is another cause of seal breakage.

How to fix and maintain window seals

If you have decided to fix your windows without any expert help, then you can follow some of the methods as listed below: 

  • Clean, replace and reinstall:  Remove the window panes in their entirety, be careful if you are working with something big in size. Clean the panes thoroughly. The next step would be finding the break in the seal. Once you have found the break in the seal, you can replace the seal and refill the argon gas in it. Finally, with all the insulation checks made, reinstall the windows. It can get pretty complex, from cleaning to reinstalling the windows. Therefore, it is best to leave the job wherever possible to experts.  
  • Defog: It is highly recommended that you hire an expert for this job. Defogging, as the name suggests, is treating the windows to resist the excess moisture that accumulates in them due to climate changes. This involves drilling the exterior of a windowpane with a small hole, injecting the panes with chemical, and using a vacuum to suck out all of the air. A typical defogging job costs only around $60 – $100.
  • Install weather stripping: Another method to treat broken window seals temporarily is to install weather strips on the windows, providing them with added insulation. Strips are divided into two kinds, nail-on and self-sticking strips. There are a lot of options window-strip options from which to choose, such as foam strips, compressible felt strips, and more.  
Source: WCMA

In conclusion, windows are a crucial part of our homes. Not only do they add an aesthetically pleasing value to our homes, but they are also a source of natural light and ventilation. To avoid the trouble of expensive repairs and replacement of the windows, it is recommended that you do preventive and timely maintenance of your windows, including window pane seals.

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