Old windows used to have only one pane of glass. That may seem like ancient history, but today some homes still have only single pane windows. Fortunately, modern windows and replacement windows in Livermore, CA offer better protection. They feature double or even triple glazing to create a better barrier between inside and outside. But insulated windows are more than just extra panes of glass. Here are the things to know about insulated glazing units (IGUs) and what you can do to spot seal failure.
What are Insulated Glazing Units (IGUs)?
Single pane windows were simply one pane of glass secured inside a frame with glazing putty. There was nothing to seal and nothing extra to help protect against energy losses. If the pane got loose homeowners would simply apply more putty. Insulated windows require more.
IGUs feature multiple panes of glass arranged with spacers between. Before the unit is sealed, manufacturers remove the ambient air with a vacuum, and in most cases replace it with a noble gas. The most common gasses are krypton, argon, and xenon. They do not conduct as much heat which is what makes these units so valuable. But it isn’t foolproof. If the seals on IGUs leak the inert gas escapes, ambient air replaces it, and the window loses its insulating value.
What Causes Seal Failure on IGUs?
Though the seals are meant to be long-lasting, they are not foolproof. Usually, seal failure happens gradually. Even under ideal conditions, IGUs lose an average of one percent of the gas per year. This is because of the pressure differential between the noble gas and outside air. But combine that with other conditions like altitude changes during shipment or temperature fluctuations and even more gas can leak out. Seals can also fail more quickly because of poor installation or the use of heat guns and pressure washers. But knowing when a seal has failed is not easy.
How to Identify Seal Failure on IGUs
Start by thoroughly cleaning the windows, both inside and out. This will give you a blank slate and an opportunity to thoroughly examine your windows. You can also be sure that anything you do see is not external grime or moisture. Once your windows are clean, you check for distortions. When the inert gas leaks it can cause the glass to bed or collapse in the middle. So stand at a distance and look for distortions in the reflection. You can also watch for sporadic condensation between the panes. This is a clear sign the noble gas has been replaced with ambient air and moisture.
How to Fix Seal Failure
There are several things you can try to repair a window with a broken seal, but the only way to restore full functionality is with a replacement sash or fill replacement windows in Livermore, CA. For a consultation you should contact Quality Windows & Doors, Inc. Call us at (925) 484-1747 or visit 3732 Stanley Blvd. Ste. B, Pleasanton, CA 94566.