Common Causes of Seal Failure on Windows

Common Causes of Seal Failure on Windows

Energy efficient windows have multiple panes of glass, inert gas fills, special coatings, and insulating frames. They are meant to prevent drafts of hot or cold air from coming inside. They also block unwanted radiant heat transfer and help keep cooled or heated air inside. But like most products, the seals on home windows will not last forever. Eventually, they will wear out and homeowners will need to consider replacement windows in Seattle, WA. These are the leading causes of seal failure:

1. Age

The seals on windows simply wear out over time. As caulk ages, it hardens and cracks. Weatherstripping gets worn down. Eventually, the window will lose the inert gas between the panes. And the gaps in the assembly will result in air and moisture leaks. In some cases, homeowners can visit the hardware store and get supplies to reapply caulk and weather stripping. But once the inert gas dissipates the only way to restore energy efficiency is with replacement windows.

2. Temperature Fluctuations

Another common factor in window failure is extreme temperature fluctuations. On old windows, the air between the panes will expand when heated by the sun and cause solar pumping. If the glass bows out slightly and puts pressure on the seals. The opposite can happen in the cold. The air contracts and the glass concave putting pressure on the seals in the other direction. This is why windows in climates with both extremes tend to wear out faster. Fortunately, modern windows have inert gas fills that do not fluctuate due to temperature changes, which makes the seals on new windows more stable.

3. Moisture Damage

The seals on most windows are meant to be weather resistant. But unfortunately, they have limitations. If the materials are constantly exposed to water the seals will begin to lift away from the glass and frames. This is made worse by seals that are not flush with the frame. And seals wear out even faster if the moisture freezes and unfreezes.

4. Mold

Mold is another common cause of window seal failure. Mold will start out small with small sports of growth or discoloration. But if left too long the mold will begin to eat away at caulk and weather stripping. Luckily, if caught in the early stages, homeowners can try cleaning mold away with gentle detergents or vinegar before it does too much damage.

5. Poor Maintenance

Low maintenance windows should be routinely cleaned to remain in top condition. This means following the manufacturers’ guidelines and avoiding the use of abrasives, harsh chemicals, and power washers. Otherwise, regular cleaning and maintenance will do more harm than good.

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6. Improper Installation

Unfortunately one of the leading causes of premature window failure is faulty installation. Those wanting to install windows on their own should understand it is meticulous work that requires precision, skill, training, and proper tools. Poor window installation could not only ruin the window but also cause extensive damage to the substructures of the home as well.

If you are tired of high energy bills and leaky windows consider upgrading with replacement windows in Seattle, WA. Contact Signature Window & Door Replacement for a safe, hassle-free consultation.

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