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What to Know Before Repairing a Window Seal

Posted on : May 24, 2024

What to Know Before Repairing a Window Seal

Have you ever noticed condensation between your window panes or felt a draft even when your windows are closed? These are telltale signs of a broken window seal. Understanding how to repair window seals and the associated window seal repair costs can save you from the inconvenience of inefficient windows and the expense of higher energy bills. Let's delve into this complete guide to window seal repair, including what it entails, how to approach it, and the tools you might need.

Understanding the Need for Window Seal Repair

Window Seal Repair
Window Seal Repair

A window seal functions as a barrier, keeping the elements, dirt, wind, and water out and maintaining a stable indoor climate. When this seal fails, it allows moisture and air to penetrate, leading to foggy windows and diminished insulation. Broken window seal repair is not just about fixing an aesthetic issue but also about restoring the functionality of your windows. 

A broken window seal can potentially impact your home’s energy efficiency, leading to increased energy costs. However, properly sealed windows contribute to better energy efficiency, reducing the burden on your heating and cooling systems, which in turn can lower your utility bills. Additionally, well-sealed windows help to block outside noise, creating a quieter indoor environment, which can enhance your comfort and privacy.

Common Signs of a Broken Window Seal

Before you dive into repairing window seals, it's crucial to confirm that the seal is broken. Look for these indicators:

1. Condensation

Look for persistent fogging or moisture between window panes. This condensation occurs because the broken seal allows outside air to mix with the inert gas, usually argon or krypton, that fills the space between the panes. This gas is essential for the insulating properties of double or triple-pane windows, and its loss can significantly reduce the window's energy efficiency.

2. Drafts

Noticeable cold air seeping through the window can often be felt around the edges of the window or in the center of the glass, indicating that the seal has failed and the insulating properties have been compromised.

3. Distorted Glass

Warping or bowing of the glass panes can occur because the structural integrity of the window has been weakened by the failed seal, which no longer holds the panes in place correctly.

What Causes Window Seals To Break

There are a few key reasons why window seals can break or fail over time:

1. Temperature Changes 

One of the main culprits behind broken window seals is constant expansion and contraction from temperature swings. As windows heat up in the sun and cool down at night, the materials like glass and vinyl expand and contract slightly. Over years of this continual flexing, it can cause the seals to develop cracks or separate from the glass or frame.

2. Moisture Penetration 

Window seals are meant to keep out moisture, but they can paradoxically be damaged by moisture infiltration as well. If water gets trapped between the panes or around the frame, it can lead to swelling of the sealant and loss of adhesion over time.

3. Window Age

Like anything else, window seals have a lifespan and will degrade naturally as the windows age, especially after 10-20 years. This allows drafts, condensation, and other moisture penetration that accelerates the failure of the seals.

4. Poor Installation 

If windows are not properly installed with high-quality sealants and gaskets, it can lead to premature seal failure. Using the wrong materials or installation techniques can create weak points prone to early breakdown.

5. Physical Stress

Excessive physical impacts to window frames from kids, pets, cleaning tools, or harsh window shaking can also deteriorate and dislodge window seals before their time. Warping of the framing materials can also exert force on the seals.

Assessing How Much Window Seal Repair Costs

The cost of repairing window seals can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of windows and the extent of the damage. Generally, window seal repair costs range from $70 to $120 per window. If you need to replace the entire window, the costs can increase significantly, possibly reaching $300 to $600 per window. Factors that influence the cost include the size and type of the window, the complexity of the repair, and whether the window is easily accessible. Moreover, windows with unique shapes or custom designs may result in higher repair costs due to the specialized materials and expertise required. 

Also Read: Read This Before Calling For Window Repairs In Pittsburgh!

Best Methods To Repair A Broken Window Seal

Broken Window Seal
Broken Window Seal

1. Replace the Insulated Glass Unit (IGU)

Upgrading the IGU involves swapping out the glass unit instead of replacing the entire window, which can be a more cost-effective and efficient option. This method is generally cheaper than getting a whole new window, and it allows you to maintain your existing window frame. It restores the window’s ability to insulate, which can lower energy costs and improve comfort. The process includes accurately measuring your window, removing the old unit, installing the new IGU, and applying fresh sealant around the edges to create a weather-tight seal.

  1. Claim Your Warranty for IGU Replacement

When you need to replace an IGU due to seal failure, using your warranty can help reduce or even cover the repair costs. This process is usually managed by professionals authorized by the manufacturer, guaranteeing high-quality work. It involves reviewing your warranty terms, reaching out to the manufacturer to start the claim, scheduling a professional to carry out the IGU replacement under warranty, and inspecting the work to ensure it is done correctly.

2. Call Professionals to Defog Your Windows

When foggy windows are caused by a broken seal, defogging is a solution. This process involves removing moisture and cleaning the inside surfaces of the panes. It is a quicker and less intrusive alternative to replacing the IGU or the entire window. Defogging restores the window's clarity and is generally more cost-effective than full replacements. The process includes drilling small holes to release moisture, cleaning the interior of the panes, and sealing the holes to prevent future moisture buildup.

3. Replace the Entire Window

If the window frame is damaged or outdated, it's best to replace the entire window. This comprehensive approach ensures that all components are new and working properly, leading to improved insulation and energy savings. New windows often incorporate advanced energy-efficient technologies and can boost your home's curb appeal and value. The process includes selecting a new window, removing the old one, installing the new window, and adding trim or caulking as necessary.

Related: Your Guide To Minimizing The Cost Of Replacing Windows In 2024

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best method to repair a broken window seal depends on the specific circumstances of your situation, including the extent of the damage, the condition of your window frame, and whether your windows are still under warranty. 

Contact The Professional Window Installers In Pittsburgh, PA

If you notice the signs of a broken window seal, don’t wait to repair it. A broken window seal can decrease the energy efficiency of your home and increase energy costs. Contact McClellands Contracting and Roofing for window repair or any home exterior renovation project. Contact us today at (412) 353-5660 to consult an expert. 

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