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Charlotte Windows: Article About Window Seal Problems

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Seal failure is a common problem on insulated windows. Over time, the seal between the panes of glass breaks down. Temperature changes allow moisture to condense out of the air overnight or during a sudden cold weather snap, allowing beads of water to appear on the inside surface of the glass. From within the house, the window takes on a foggy appearance. Homeowners can work with installers of Charlotte windows to prevent many of the frequent causes of failed seals and reduce the risk of problematic seals on other windows.

The windows at most risk of seal failure are those on the south- and west-facing walls of the home. These sides of a house get the most daytime heating, which allows for more condensation and a greater swing in temperatures. The sun also causes expansion and contraction of the window frame while the sealant itself does not expand or contract at the same rate. Even a tiny gap is enough for air to infiltrate between the glass panels. The sun's heat is the biggest reason for seal failure.

A problem with the sash frame can also cause seal failure. Failed caulk around the framing may allow moisture to soak into the wood. Once the wood is wet, it is not able to maintain the seal.

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Leaving a window open overnight or during a heavy rainstorm also allows water to intrude into the frame.

Windows framed with aluminum also present a considerable risk for seal failure. The aluminum sweats as it expands and contracts. This condensation can easily seep into the seal and cause it to fail. Galvanic interactions between aluminum and a stainless steel window screen can also lead to seal failure. Window contractors may be able to treat aluminum framed windows with an anodized sealant as a preventive measure. Plastic insulating strips can also be placed between the edge of the aluminum frame and the glass to stop moisture from settling between the two materials.

A lack of window maintenance can also lead to seal failure. For wood-framed windows, the frame and trim must be sealed or painted annually in order to form a waterproof seal. Chipping or cracking of the paint allows the wood to rot. The excess moisture condenses into the space between the two glass panels. Any cracks in the panes of glass must also be repaired promptly. If the crack is large, the entire pane should be replaced. Water droplets can seep through even a small chip or crack in a window.

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