LESLIE: Cathy in Florida needs some help with a window problem. Tell us about the situation.
Fogged Windows – Broken Seals
CATHY: I have a house – a home in Florida – and I think maybe the windows lost their seal between the two panes of glass.
LESLIE: Do they look really foggy?
CATHY: Yes. And what I’m wondering is do you think it’d be more cost effective to just replace the panes of glass or do you think I should replace the entire window?
TOM: How old are the windows now, Cathy?
CATHY: Fourteen years.
TOM: Yep, pretty old. I will tell you this; that the failed seal probably is not affecting the energy efficiency that much. It’s mostly making it …
LESLIE: It’s just a cosmetic issue, right?
TOM: Yeah, it’s making it look pretty nasty but it’s probably not impacting efficiency. If you can’t stand the look of it, I would probably vote to replace the entire window and not just to try to replace the glass panes themselves. Because windows have become so much more energy efficient today, you want to look for Energy Star-rated windows and I think that’s going to give you the best long-term solution here because they’re going to be super energy-efficient and they’re not going to break down and you can enjoy them.
LESLIE: And Cathy, you’ll probably see a big savings in your cooling costs.
CATHY: OK. What do you think would have created the break in the seal?
TOM: What happens is that’s a wear-and-tear issue. There is an insulator between the panes of glass. It’s called different things. One of the most common types – if it looks sort of like a black, rubbery strip it’s called swiggle.
LESLIE: I love it.
TOM: And it breaks down and it lets some moisture in from the outside and that moisture condenses inside the glass and that’s why it looks kind of foggy and cloudy and nasty-like.
CATHY: Alright. Well, thank you. Somebody told me that it could be because we power washed our windows and I didn’t want to make that same mistake again.
TOM: No, no, no. No, no; you didn’t do it. Nope, you didn’t do it.
TOM: Just normal wear and tear.
CATHY: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Cathy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.