It has long been thought that once a window develops moisture between it’s thermal panes, it has to be replaced in order to have clear glass. after all, how can you clean glass between the panes?
how do you get the fog out?
during the course of this article i’ll explain how moisture develops, what you can do about it and you’ll also learn about a brand new service industry that caters to removing moisture between window panes.
let’s start at the beginning:
how does moisture develop between the panes of windows?
For starters thermal panes or, (igu’s) insulated glass units, over time will unavoidably become infused with moisture due to stresses caused by window transportation, installation, and the pressure of a building’s structure as it settles after construction.
Although these forces will cause an igu to fail, most damage usually results from temperature changes in the glass caused by the sun. the heat from the sun causes the air molecules between the panes to become more active and, as a result, creates pressure on the seals. this is why most “blown out glass” is on the south facing side of a building; or perhaps the north side if you live in the southern hemisphere. consequently, the atmospheric pressure helps to create small gaps in the seal surrounding the panes which will allow air to bring in moisture.
how does a glass manufacturer help prevent future moisture development in their windows?
glass manufacturers combat this inevitable build up of moisture by loading the thermal panes spacer bar, located in a compartment at the bottom of the window, with “dessicant”, a drying agent which picks up water molecules. dessicant will protect an igu from showing signs of moisture fogging until it’s meet its moisture threshold. at which point, these dessicant beads have absorbed as much moisture as they can handle and will no longer be able to hide visible signs of condensation.
how long can the dessicant absorb moisture?
again, it all depends upon the location of the glass, what kind of stresses it’s undergone and how much time has elapsed. it may take months to meet its moisture threshold but, hopefully many years.
can a window be restored from moisture damage? if so, how do you clean glass between the panes?
a brand new service industry has developed that caters to cleaning glass and removing moisture between the windows panes. the process these technicians perform involves drilling small holes in the glass, filling and draining the igu with cleaning solution, and retapping holes with one-way rubber valves that release moisture while preventing new condensation to develop between the panes. this process also restores the insulation “r-value” which will help reduce heating and cooling costs to home owners.
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Can all igu’s be restored?
apparently, if moisture between window panes has developed hard water stains, it’s close to impossible to clean. hard water stains will usually appear as white dried “drip” marks running the length of the glass. john at crystal clear told me they are working on a solution to this problem.
most glass will, in time, develop moisture problems. with early detection, you can prevent costly glass replacement by removing condensation between thermal pane windows. and, you’ll save our land fills from glass that could have been restored rather than replaced.