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Should I Replace or Repair A Fogged Window With a Broken Seal?

Have you ever attempted to clean a window you thought was dirty but in actual fact the issue was between the panes of glass and not on them? A fogged window due to a failed window seal is quite a common problem, yet the good news is it is nothing to be overly concerned about. A fogged window due to a broken seal is not a structural issue, and it will not cause your electricity bills to skyrocket, but it is an aesthetic issue which can impact the overall look and feel of your home. When it comes to broken seals and fogged windows, it can be confusing to know whether you should fix the seal or replace the entire window. In this article, we will be taking a look at your options to help you decide which is the right solution for you. 

What Causes Fogged Window Glass?

When a window seal fails, what typically results is fogged window glass … but why is that? These days, most new homes are built with double or triple paned insulated windows as opposed to older buildings, which have single pane windows. Each glass pane is an extra layer of insulation between you and the outdoors, meaning double and triple paned windows are excellent at protecting your home from the outside elements. And, between the panes is a layer of air or clear, odorless gas. While double and triple paned windows are great at keeping your home temperate, the sealed environment is not perfect. Wind, temperature changes and a variety of other factors can impact the life of a window seal, so it is inevitable with time window seals will eventually fail, especially if you live in an area with extreme weather.

When one seal on an insulated window fails, this allows moist air to infiltrate between the panes where it eventually condenses. The “fog” that occurs might not even be visible at first, and is often only noticeable after there has been a rapid change in temperature. If the window fogs up enough times, you may then start to see a mineral deposit on the glass, which is what gives it a dirty appearance.

Should You Replace the Window or Repair it?

According to HomeAdvisor, most typical window repairs  cost between  $159 and $512, with most homeowners spending about $331. However, there are a few factors that will influence the price of replacing a window, including the type of window and frame material, type of glass pane and the extent of the damage. On the other hand, replacing the window can cost much more than that depending on the type of window, color, options, the number of glass panes et cetera. So what is the right solution - do you repair or replace? You have a few options.

1. Replace the window

Depending on the severity of the issue, replacing the entire window is often your best option. While this is a total fix and will rectify all your issues (fog and broken seal), it can often be the more expensive solution. However, it is the most cost-effective long-term solution if you consider that you won’t need additional repair in the future. 

2. Replace the sash

If your window has removable sashes, you might be able to keep the existing framework in place. Replacing the sash is also typically less expensive than total window replacements and can be done if you have a double-hung window because the sash and frame both move up and down, and the sash is removable.

3. Replace the glass  

If the problem is not too severe, you could replace the glass unit itself without replacing the entire window and frame. This is the most cost-effective short-term solution, especially since no painting or staining is required. However, if there is an issue with your window frame as well, then simply replacing the glass might be a temporary fix but you will most likely run into the same problem down the track if you do not eventually fix or replace the frame.

What is the Best Solution?

In most cases, Windows on Washington would suggest replacing the entire window. It is difficult to separate the old panes, clean them and reseal them. Old seals are tricky to remove in order to get new seals, and generally a repair is simply not cost-effective. 

At the end of the day, the best defense against a fogged, failed window is to begin with a high-quality window and a good warranty. WoW only uses the best window products on the market and we pride ourselves on our excellent workmanship and installation. Just ask Cassandra and Luke C. from Leesburg, Virginia! They were incredibly happy with the window replacement Joon and his installation team carried out for them. This is what they had to say:                       

“The installation crew was excellent and helpful. I very much appreciated their expertise and helpfulness. The installation team was really amazing and did a great job understanding what we were trying to do and making our windows beautiful within the constraints of the space.”

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Topics: Replacement Windows