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Cause of Condensation on Thermal Pane Windows

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright, well listening to The Money Pit on KQKE is Don in California. And you want to talk about windows so how can we help?

    DON: Well, I have some windows that have some condensation – they’re double insulated windows – and there’s condensation that sort of looks like …

    TOM: In between the panes of glass, Don?

    DON: It … it’s … it goes away.

    TOM: Yeah.

    DON: It’s not between the panes, I don’t think. I think it’s … I’m not sure but you know, we have …

    TOM: Yeah, I bet you it is. If it comes and goes, what that is is a bad seal. And the thermal pane seal is breached and so you get moisture inside that pane of glass. And depending on the difference between the outside temperature and the inside temperature, you get more or less condensation and fogging inside those windows. Now, the bad news is it can’t be fixed. But the good news is it doesn’t … it’s really cosmetic and it doesn’t majorly affect your efficiency of that glass.

    DON: Yeah, it only happens in the winter time.

    TOM: Right. Well, that’s when you have the different …

    LESLIE: Well, when it’s cool outside and it’s warm inside …

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    LESLIE: … and you get the differences in temperature clashing on the glass.

    DON: So it’s like a dew point or something. Is that how it …?

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    DON: Yeah. Oh, because I was … I was curious. I was like, “I’m going to wipe the glass off,” but …

    TOM: Right and you keep wiping and it doesn’t go away.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices)Well, it’s like when …

    DON: Yeah.

    LESLIE: It’s like when you have a cool drink on a hot day and the glass gets all moist and condense-y on it. It’s the same concept there.

    DON: Oh, on the outside of the glass (inaudible).

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Except it’s happening inside. Yeah, you see …

    LESLIE: Happening in between your panes.

    TOM: … the seal that goes between those two panes of glass, it’s called swiggle.

    LESLIE: I love that word.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a great word, isn’t it?

    DON: Swiggle?

    TOM: And eventually it breaks down and it lets the … lets the … it releases its vacuum.

    DON: Oh.

    TOM: And then you get moisture in there.

    DON: Yeah. They’re not low-e. Some are low-e. They have a film on … I’m not sure those are low-e; they just are double-pane.

    TOM: Probably not. And I’ll tell you a quick way to tell. Especially if it’s a south side, if you feel a lot of sun through those windows, if it’s very warm, it’s definitely not low-e. Because low-e reflects the heat of the sun back outside.

    DON: Oh, okay. So for … okay. For fading of things, it reflects the heat outside so that …

    TOM: Yeah, low-e is better at that. And you know, you might just want to put up with it. But if you decide to replace your windows, then you buy, you know, new thermal pane seals. They’re probably going to have argon gas as the fill or it could have krypton gas. And then you make sure you get low-e coating. And that’s the best, highest efficiency window that you can really put in today.

    DON: Okay. So it’s … it’s the seal that … I forget what you …

    TOM: It’s the seal that’s bad and …

    DON: Squiggle or something, you said.

    LESLIE: Swiggle.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s the seal. Well, now you know you’re not going crazy and your wiping that off and it doesn’t come clean.

    DON: Good. Thank you.

    TOM: Alright, Don. Thanks so much for calling us at The Money Pit.

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