Double Glazing Condensation

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Double Glazing Condensation.

Back then, no one gave much thought about their windows. After all, people were too busy dealing with other more important issues to pay attention to how much heat or cold their windows would let escape or seep in. Starting from the 1930’s, double-glazed windows began to gain traction in the United States as citizens began understanding the benefits of upgrading their single-glazed windows to double glazing units, and after the mid-1960’s DGUs began growing in popularity in the United Kingdom as well. With these improvements came benefits, such as better heat retention, improved outside noise reduction, savings on energy bills, and a more comfortable home in general, just to name a few.

Want to know more? Read the article on Everything You Need to Know About Double Glazing Units.

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As good as they are, though, double glazing units are not without their bugbears. For starters, DGUs require a bit more maintenance than standard windows. If one component develops a problem, it can be trickier to fix compared to issues you might have with more traditional windows. And – just like most windows – DGUs, if not properly maintained, can also suffer from problems like expired seals, jammed locks, and rusted hinges.

There is, however, one issue about double glazing units that you should pay particular attention to: condensation.


A Quick Word About Condensation

Window Condensation.

Condensation on windows is a result of the difference in temperature on the outside – which is cooler – and inside – which is warmer – surfaces of the glass. When vapour is cooled to a certain temperature (the dew point), condensation is what happens. The heat homes and their occupants generate naturally creates a rather significant difference in these temperatures.


Condensation on Double-Glazed Windows

In double glazing units, there are two panes of glass separated by a metal or plastic spacer, which provides a gap where gases such as argon (which has lower thermal conductivity than air) can be used for better insulation or vacuum-sealed. Most DGUs make use of rubber seals, which can, over time, be prone to some degradation; this degradation, in turn, may compromise the sealed cavity, which can lead to vapour finding its way in, which may condense on the inside surface of a DGU when the temperature drops.

The condensation on the inside of the glass panes is virtually impossible to remove without professional aid, which can be quite bothersome. In more extreme cases, the condensation may seep out from the broken seals, leak on to your windowpane and parts of the wall, and extend the damage caused by the moisture.

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How Does Seal Degradation Happen?

It’s quite helpful to have some insight on what promotes seal degradation on double glazing units.

As time goes by, wear and tear may affect the rubber seals, and they may eventually be compromised. This is due to the temperatures shifting throughout the year; the rubber seals expand in the summer heat and contract in the cold of winter.

Degradation may also be accelerated by the use of abrasive cleaning compounds. We all like our windows to be all shiny and what have you, but we also need to make sure that the cleaners we use are of the gentler sort, as these affect the rubber seals, potentially shortening their lifespans.

Other potential – albeit less common – causes of failure include the use of faulty or cheap fabrication and improper installation. But in most cases you won’t have to worry about these, since installation and repairs should be covered by the double glazing company, as long as you keep your receipt and FENSA certificate.


How Can I Fix a Broken Seal?

rubber seal.

You may find some websites that say you can fix this issue yourself, and some may even go as far as posting a video walk-through and tutorials on how to do it. We really can’t recommend that you take these matters into your hands; for the most part, double-glazed units should only be handled by professionals, lest your warranty become null and void.

Speaking of warranty – getting in touch with your double glazing company is the first thing you should do if your DGU starts showing any issues. Most companies offer up to 15 years’ warranty on their products and installations, so odds are you won’t have to pay a quid to get your windows fixed. If your warranty has already run out, the cost for resealing your unit will only be a fraction of what it cost to purchase and install it in the first place.

It must be said that resealing or repairing your double-glazed unit is hardly a DIY-job – the damage may be quite severe, or the unit may be too old to where servicing it is no longer the most cost-effective option.

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If it can’t be repaired, our advice would be to replace the faulty unit entirely. It may not be the cheapest solution out there, but when it comes to double-glazing repairs, replacing the unit entirely may be the most practical, and will definitely solve most – if not all – the issues of any aging, degraded DGU. Plus, you’ll most likely get a brand new warranty for another 15 years if you purchase a new unit, and the money you’ll save on heating and air conditioning with your DGU can make up for the investment in the long run.


Some Parting Thoughts

parting thoughts.

We recommend that you always keep your double glazing company or installer’s information handy, and that you make sure your receipt is tucked away in a safe place. If any issues come up, be sure to get in touch with them and have it sorted out. If necessary, consider replacing problematic units entirely – the investment may be worth it in the long run; if the unit is beyond repair and you still have a valid warranty, you may even get it for free. Remember, avoid trying to fix your double-glazed windows yourself – this can void your warranty and potentially damage the unit unless you’re absolutely sure of how it goes with what needs to be done.

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