Insulated glass panels are double-glazed window panels which consist of 2 or more glass panes separated by a region of vacuum. Usually equipped in places where the temperature is cold, the glass performs the purpose of making heat transfer less likely. A break in the seal of the shielded glass means that the panel has failed to meet its most basic requirement.
It is quite easy to spot a break in the sealing of the glass. Because of the difference in air pressure, you can spot fogginess in between the glass panels. This cloudy formation cannot be cleaned from either side of the double glazed panel. The main problem in this scenario is a seal which has failed to secure the two, or sometimes three, panels together.
A problem that is often faced by people, broken seals of insulated glass is dealt with in a number of different manners. We are going to list down a few ways you can correctly deal with such a situation.
The Structure of Window
Before we go into learning how to handle a broken window seal, it is important that we figure out the structure of a shielded glass window.
An insulated glass plane usually consists of 2 to three glass panels with a vacuum between them. It is done to remove the air in order to fill the vacuum part to be filled by a noble gas. Moreover, it helps to slow down the process of heat escape from one side of the window to the other. These insulated glass panels are secured together by a sealing material. There are two seals, one on the inside while the other is towards the exterior.
The window seals produced by the glass makers are meant to be long lasting and do not break down very often. However, in some cases, the conditions that the sealing material is exposed to may lead it to break off. Painters using heat guns for spray painting may cause the seal to melt off. In other cases, using high-pressure washers can also result in the damaging of seals which in turn dissembles the insulated glass. When the seal breaks down, the edges of the pane lose their secure positions. This results in the noble gases being able to escape from the vacuumed area. If there is no noble gas in between the glasses, the main purpose of trapping heat is not being fulfilled. Hence, this issue needs to be dealt with quickly.
Things You Should Consider
As mentioned earlier, an insulated glass panel with a broken seal is completely useless. Therefore, something needs to be done as soon as possible. To help you with figuring out what to do, we have a few pointers that you can look towards.
1. Use the warranty
If the window pane failed without anything happening to it, chances are that it had a built-in default. So, you can call up the company and get it replaced with another complete insulated glass. Some companies may offer to fix the seal, which is just as good a deal.
2. Fix the cloudy part of the insides
In this case, you will be fixing half of the problem. A broken seal results in the noble gases escaping and in turn causing fogginess between the panels. Many companies offer a service where they can come to your home, drill a small hole in the window and clear out the fogginess that has accumulated in between the window panels. This way, your window can look more aesthetically pleasing.
However, it would not restore its ability to trap heat because the noble gases will not be refilled into the vacuum. This process of getting the fogginess to go away is something that you will have to get done after every few weeks. Otherwise, the seal can still be broken and moisture can creep in between the panels.
3. Replace the glass unit within the frame
With the insulated glass unit failing, you have the option of completely changing the glass unit. You will not have to replace the entire window or the frame to make this happen. There are glass replacement companies, such as Fab Glass and Mirrors, dealing with such a situation, but the service requires you to invest. On the other hand, you can replace the insulated glass unit yourself to restore the window frame but it is a difficult job and requires some clean handiwork.
4. Let it go
In areas which have a mild temperature and cold weather does not seem to be an extreme problem, it is better to leave the window on its own. With a house that probably has a dozen more of these insulated glass panels, one broken seal would not make much of a difference anyway. Though, instead of spending a lot in getting yourself a new frame every once in a while. It is better to just leave the window frame alone.
Some Tips to Avoid the Window Seal from Breaking
- Get a window frame with a longer warranty. It is possible that a frame that promises 20 years of life instead of 10 does actually survive for longer.
- Have the windows installed by the manufacturer’s technicians? These people know exactly what they are working with so we would suggest that you let them do this job.
- Avoid using high-pressure washers for insulated glass windows. They weaken the sealing material on the exterior of the window.
- Regularly check the window for any moisture and keep an eye for the seal. If you find the seal just a bit out of place or very less damaged, you can still get it restored without having to spend a lot.
Insulated glass windows are definitely a very useful innovation, and are a must-have if you live in a colder area. However, their maintenance is a bit of a hassle. It can be costly and it can be time-consuming. We hope that some of the tips we shared proved to be helpful for you.