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Window Seals: Why They Are Important, How To Fix Them
Posted on Monday, November 15th 2021

Window Seals: Why They Are Important, How To Fix Them

Window seals. When it comes to the upkeep of your home, they might be something you never think about — until cold weather sets in and it starts getting a little drafty inside.

Window seals can be found in modern windows, which often have double or triple panes of glass. Compared to older windows with one pane of glass, manufacturers insert air or an inert gas, such as argon, between these multiple layers before sealing up everything with an elastic sealant. These windows are known as insulated windows, thermal windows, thermopanes, or IGUs (insulated glass units).

When working properly, window seals create a temperature barricade around your house that prevents outside temperatures from entering — ultimately keeping you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Close Up of Condensation Between Window PanesWhy window seal failures happen

Window seal failures can occur in a variety of ways. If you notice fogged-up glass within a few years (or less) of getting new windows, the windows may have been installed incorrectly — or it could be a manufacturing error, such as a faulty sealant.

If the seal failure appears over a much longer period of time, then there are several other possibilities to consider. If you recently painted near the windows, chemicals from the paint could possibly erode the seal away.

Mold can also form on windows if condensation is not wiped away from them on a consistent basis. The mold, in turn, can break the seal.

Additionally, the natural settling of a house’s foundation can exert pressure on the panes as well, causing the seal to break.

Lastly, the outside elements can also compromise the seal over time, such as when high winds place a large amount of pressure on the window panes.

What to look for with faulty window seals

Like all things in your house, sometimes window seals need to be replaced. A broken window seal lets moisture and humidity into unwanted places. It also can create foggy glass on the window pane.

Aside from fog, once-clean windows can also become covered with a variety of other residues from the outside, such as dirt and mineral deposits.

In addition, windows that have inert gas insulation with compromised seals can crack and warp over time, as the gas is what gives the windows structural stability.

Two Contractors Installing a New WindowPreventing window seal failure

To prevent window seal issues, it is best to initially buy insulated windows with a long warranty from the manufacturer (somewhere between 10 to 20 years or even a lifetime warranty, if available). Furthermore, you want to make sure that a technician directly from the window’s manufacturer installs the window, ensuring it is done correctly and upholding the warranty to its maximum value.

After insulation, it is important to monitor the window(s) from time to time. If you see any gaps between the windows and window frames, apply a bit of caulk.

When working around the windows, refrain from ever using a pressure washer on the windows to clean them.

Fixing window seals

Luckily, broken window seals can be repaired. Given the delicate nature of windows — and how faulty work can lead you right back to where you started with a bad seal — it is recommended to leave the job to a trained professional. Depending on the size of the windows, it can typically cost in the range of $30 to $90 per window to hire someone for the job.

If the window panes can easily come apart, it is possible to turn window seal replacement into a DIY project, albeit a bit of a challenging one. Depending on the window, a DIYer may be able to unscrew the frame pieces together. Other windows have removable stop moldings that hold the glass in place.

Fish Window Cleaner Holding PoleIn some cases, such as the window cracking or warping, the entire window(s) may need to be replaced.

At FISH, our window experts will point out any issues they find regarding window seal failures during a window cleaning session, allowing you to address the problem before it becomes a bigger issue, and save some money on utility bills in the long run.

Contact us today for a free estimate to have your windows cleaned!

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