Most Common Causes of Window Seal Failure
A window seal is crucial to the Insulated Glass Unit (IGU) window. The seal prevents heat from escaping your home during the winter and keeps the house cool during summer. In general, the seal plays a significant role in the energy efficiency of a window.
In ideal circumstances, your seals should last throughout the life of your window. However, countless factors contribute to damage to window seals over time. The following are some of the most common reasons for window seal failure.
A window’s location in your home makes them susceptible to extreme temperature fluctuations. When heat from sunshine hits a double-pane window, the air inside the glass envelope expands, putting pressure on the seals. When the temperature drops at night, the window contracts, drawing in air and humidity.
This cycle, known as solar pumping, is more prevalent in areas that experience extreme temperatures. The solar pumping action causes more stress on your window seals, causing them to shrink, sag, and degrade faster. Fortunately, modern windows have inert gas, making them less responsive to temperature changes.
Mold is not only a household hassle but also a potential health risk because it compromises your home’s air quality. Mold begins as small discoloration spots on your window seal and may eat away at the caulk and weather stripping if you do not clean it in time.
Excess condensation between the glass panes causes the growth of mold. To prevent seal damage, clean any mold with a tea tree oil where you notice it growing.
Cleaning and window maintenance should be part of every homeowner’s routine. Window seals are typically rubber, plastic, metal, or felt. Manufacturers often have instructions for maintaining window seals to keep them functioning optimally.
The instructions for care are usually simple and include wiping the seal material to keep it dry and clean. The manual may also state the cleaning solutions you can and cannot use. As a rule of thumb, avoid using harsh chemicals and power washers.
Window seals don’t come with a lifetime guarantee because manufacturers know they will fail due to normal wear and tear at some point. Worn weather seals do not provide optimum protection from the elements.
Over time, the caulk will crack, weather stripping will come loose, and the inert gas will dissipate. To preserve the integrity of your windows, upgrade your window seals for the continued comfort levels of your occupants.
While there is so much a homeowner can do to repair the window seal, you may have to replace your windows if the damage is too much.
If your insulated glass window displays issues less than two years after installation, your contractor may not have installed the unit correctly. Your installer may not have given the sealant enough time to cure or may have used a defective adhesive.
Insulated glass windows are complex to install and require a qualified window contractor with the right skill, training, and tools to pull it off.
Manufacturers design seals to resist the harshest weather conditions, but they have limits. If you live in an area that receives a considerable amount of rainfall, it’s easy for the moisture to seep in behind and lift the seals.
With a degraded seal, even more water and air get into your window, causing the wood to warp and metal to rust. The damage may be more severe if the moisture freezes and unfreezes. Choose windows that suit your climate to minimize damage from the elements.
Window seals make buildings more energy-efficient, less drafty, and more comfortable than those without the seal. Even so, the life expectancy of every type of window seal is finite. However, with knowledge of the causes of window seal failure, you can fix the problem before it occurs.
Feel free to call us to help with window seal repair or complete unit replacement.