Why Windows Seal Fail And What To Do

This is a collection of helpful information we have learn though our years of servicing many windows and information from many different window manufactures about window seal fails.

What is a seal fail?

An insulating glass unit consists of two or more sheets of glass separated by a spacer and sealant system creating a sealed airspace. A break in this seal anywhere along the edge can allow moisture between the glass panes. The actual point of failure is not usually visible because the seal is hidden inside the sash of frame. – source: Jeld Wen Windows & Doors

Unfortunately all dual insulated glass can at some point seal fail. It can look different depending on the type of glass you have. Glass can look foggy, get a purplish hue, have condensation or show spots. Here are some photos of examples of seal fails:

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What to do if you have a seal failed window:

1. Make sure that your window is not just dirty. Clean the inside and outside of your window with a damp rag. If the fog or spots are still there in the inside of the insolated unit. You will need to take the following steps:

2. Don’t panic! Rest assure that this is not an emergency situation, a seal failed glass unit is still doing its job with energy efficiency but is not aesthetically pleasing to look at and it can obstructs your view. In most cases you DO NOT have to replace the whole window. A seal failed unit does not mean that your windows are junk or that there is a manufactures defect. All glass units no matter what brand of windows you have can have a seal fail. You will either need a new sash (a sash is the glass part of the window and the wood/vinyl/mental around the glass. A sash does not include the frame of the window). Or if your window is re-glazable then you will only need a new insulated glass unit.

3. You need to determine  what Brand of window you have and if you have a warranty. A standard warranty today is 20 years on seal fails (keep in mind that if you are not the original purchaser of the windows i.e. 2nd owner of the home the warranty terms can change). In most cases it will only cover the cost of the glass and not include labor. If you windows are between 10-30 years old you may no longer have a warranty has the glass technology is always improving.

4. If you know the windowdealer you purchased the windows from call them 1st to help you with your seal fail they may have a window service department or have a recommendation. If you know what brand of windows you have in your home, you can call the window manufacture ask for customer service and they will be able to help you find a local window dealer in your area to fix your window. If you do not know what your window brand is or if they have unfortunately gone out of business you can look up a local glazer or window service technician. You can also call other local window dealers in your area and they may have a recommendation of a window service technician for you to use.

Finding the Right Widnow Servcie Technicion:

If you are using an independant window service techniction its always best to have them recommened by a window dealer. Get at least 3 bids and remember that going with the cheapest bid is not alwasy the best (you get what you pay for). Ask how long they have been servacing windows and if they have worked on your brand of window before.

If you are buying the glass you should get a new warranty on it. Ask what that warranty is, and get it in writting from the service tech and/or from the glass manufacture they are getting the glass from.

More Information:

Please click on the links below for more information we have found on seal fails and causes.

seal+failure – PDF from Jeld Wen Windows & Doors About Seal Fails, Causes and Solutions