Most, if not all, double-pane windows contain an insulating gas, usually argon, to minimize heat transfer. Achieving this energy-efficient goal is one of the common motivations of homeowners for tackling window replacement in Utah, Idaho, and other parts of the United States.
The problem is that the gas leaks out all the time. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, an insulated window loses 1% of its gas fill every year. Although ENERGY STAR–approved windows can still perform as expected after 20 years of gas leakage, some of them can lose their insulating value more quickly.
Condensation in the center of the glass and pane distortion are some of the major red flags of window gas leakage. If you feel that your unit’s seal has failed, there are several courses of actions you can take. Below are some of them.
Claim a Repair
Window manufacturers warrant that their products will not suffer from seal failure for a specified period. Typically, the coverage is good up for 20 years.
If your window is defective, you should file a claim the moment you notice the problem. This will trigger an investigation, allowing your window manufacturer to get to the bottom of the issue. When the culprit in the gas leakage is a manufacturing or material defect or an installation error, the party liable for the problem could repair the unit or replace it altogether at no cost.
Turn to Window Defogging
If the problem unit’s warranty does not cover the cause of the seal failure, you can use a window-defogging service instead.
A window defogging company specializes in removing moisture buildup on the interior surface of the panes. A tiny hole will be drilled in the glass to let the moisture get out and clear the glass. Then, a valve and a seal is installed.
Window defogging might be effective in restoring the clarity of the glass. However, service does not include replacing the insulating gas that can be lost during or before the process.
In other words, it does not guarantee to resolve any under-insulation problem. You might still feel discomfort, and your HVAC equipment might work extra harder to improve the indoor climate of the room where the window is located.
Buy New Glass
There are companies with expertise in glass-only replacement. One can custom-manufacture the replacement panes and install them in the original frames.
This route seems more financially sensible than replacing the entire window itself, but it is not necessarily economical. The cost of the whole process can be just as high as the cost of an entirely new window.
Yes, you can choose to live with it, especially if you can tolerate it. But then again, the gas leakage only worsens over time, so you might not be able to bear the extreme temperature in the room in question when the faulty window becomes significantly useless as an insulator.
Window seal failure can be a stressful problem, so choose your windows wisely. If you buy from a trusted brand, you are less likely to deal with this problem or be severely inconvenienced when you encounter it.