Most likely, losing a seal means that a double-paned window will need to have one or both panes replaced. You may be able to find a contractor who will repair the seal without replacing the glass; however, you'll need to balance the cost savings against the fact that a repaired seal is more likely to fail again than a new seal is. But why do these failings occur? Here are four reasons why it may happen to you.
1. Incorrect installation
If the window was originally installed with poor drainage, any condensation that gathers won't have anywhere to go and will just sit at the bottom of the window. Unfortunately, exposure to water is likely to cause early seal failure. This is especially likely to be the outcome if there is a lot of condensation on your windows regularly.
As a general rule, you should keep the humidity level in your house fairly low (using dehumidifiers if necessary) and keep air around the windows circulating so that the window can't cool the air enough to cause condensation to form. This is especially important if you notice that your windows were installed incorrectly with insufficient drainage around the windowpanes.
2. Exposure to elements
In addition to water, sun exposure can also be a problem. This is because it heats up the air inside the window during the day and, because the air cools off each night, the widely varied temperature extremes can eventually cause damage, similar to how the freeze-thaw cycle can cause cracks in asphalt pavement.
3. Loss of elasticity
Nothing lasts forever, and window seals are no different. No matter how great the mechanics of the seal are, eventually the seal itself is likely to become worn and cracked from age after many years, allowing tiny bits of air in and abdicating its effectiveness entirely. If your windows are quite old, this could be what happened to them.
4. Manufacturing defect
Sometimes a window suffers a manufacturing defect that makes it less able to hold up to environmental factors like heating and cooling. In this case, the window could fail early. If your windows are very new, this could be the case, and hopefully your warranty will cover the cost of replacement windows.
These four reasons show that loss of window seals isn't black and white. It could be the fault of your window installation contractor, or it could be simply a factory defect. You'll want to have a residential glass replacement company take a look to find out which cause is most likely and let you know whether your warranty is likely to cover a new window.
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