8

I have some double pane windows with failed seals. They get condensation inside. When it dries it leaves unsightly residue that I can't figure out how to clean off.

I know that I could replace the windows, but that seems wasteful for what is mostly a cosmetic problem.

Are there any clever ways of cleaning between the panes? Maybe all windows should come with magnetic cleaners like they have for the inside of fish tanks.

  • 1
    It is a cosmetic problem, but the window is now not as energy efficient, so there is that to consider as well. The windows aren't going to come with a magnetic cleaner because that would be admitting that the window will eventually fail. – JPhi1618 Apr 15 '16 at 13:59
1

In fact, you can clear these windows up. If its regular glass, two small holes are drilled and a cleaning solution (which need not be toxic) injected.

If it is tempered glass, the same procedure is possible if the glass seal can be reached for drilling (this is possible for most windows that can open and close: they'd get drilled from an edge). Check the glass for a frosted or white color marking showing if it is tempered.

Since this is a DIY advice site I can direct you to http://foggywindowrepairkits.com/ . The DIY kits mentioned above are over $200, and can't be rented and returned. But really you're probably better off finding a local service company that can do this, possibly with even better techniques.

  • These are tempered, and they are fixed windows that don't open, so this may be limited in my case. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 20 '16 at 17:18
  • Remember this is a general Q&A site, so a question and answer can be valuable if they're potentially of use to another person later. – Bryce Apr 20 '16 at 17:26
  • Yes, I hope others can find this answer useful, so I have upvoted it. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 20 '16 at 17:27
3

No. You're limited by what you can do from the outside, and obviously that's not much.

Energy efficiency is only slightly reduced in such cases, as airflow into and out of the compartment between panes is minimal, but the aesthetic problem will only get worse.

Chances are you can replace just the sash, which might cost about half of what a new window would and doesn't require carpentry work aside from a little hardware swap.

  • These are fixed windows that do not open, so I believe I would need more than a sash for these. – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 15 '16 at 14:56
  • 1
    You might be surprised at how easy it is to remove a fixed sash. Contact the mfr. – isherwood Apr 15 '16 at 15:12
  • This is incorrect, as there are options for in-situ cleaning between the panes. – Bryce Apr 20 '16 at 17:21
  • Anything is possible, as they say. Whether it's practical or cost-effective is another question. :) – isherwood Apr 20 '16 at 17:35
  • Yeah, but you said "No. You're limited by what you can do from the outside, and obviously that's not much.". A better answer might be "Anything is possible, as they say. Whether it's practical or cost-effective is another question.". – Bryce Apr 20 '16 at 23:43
2

I have had the same problem with vinyl frame windows. There is nothing you can do except replace the window. With vinyl windows, you can usually replace the entire sash quite easily. Contact the manufacturer or the contractor that did the orignal install. Most manufacturers offer a warranty against fogging for a certain number of years, so be sure to check that as well.

I actually took my windows to a glass shop. They removed the glass and replaced it with a new double pane in the original vinyl sash. This might be cheaper than purchasing a whole new sash, or if the model has been discontinued.

1

you can drill holes in glass with the right bit for a standard drill. make a 1/4" hole @ the top inside of your window. make a 2nd hole @ the bottom diagonally on the outside. attach a tube to the bottom hole so it will drain the contents of the window into a bucket. now the dangerous part. get hydrofluoric acid @ 1% or less. fill window and let sit for 1 hour. drain & neutralize hydrofluoric acid. wait until temp is at least 60°F fill window with ammonia & let sit for 1 hour. SLOWLY drain ammonia so no drops are left on the inner surfaces. seal holes.

  • 2
    You are not kidding about dangerous: ehs.columbia.edu/hfPolicy.html: "The safest place to work with HF is in a properly working chemical fume hood.... Hydrofluoric acid is an extremely hazardous material. Lab personnel should work in the buddy system and NO one be allowed to work alone." – Stephen Ostermiller Apr 15 '16 at 21:04
  • 1
    This answer seems quite dangerous for the average homeowner. – Tester101 Apr 15 '16 at 21:42
  • 1
    ... how will this be better (cheaper, more effective, less likely to stimulate a hazmat response) than just replacing the window? – Daniel Griscom Apr 15 '16 at 21:48
  • It wont, but it answers the question as asked. You're either Mad Max, or you go, Oh, I see. Nevermind. - Hello, window guys? – Mazura Apr 15 '16 at 22:27
  • 2
    HF is <insert expletive> stupid for two reasons. The first and entirely sufficient one is that it is beyond nasty and exceedingly dangerous. The second is that it etches glass, and you have no need to etch glass - if there are "deposits inside the window" some perfectly ordinary cleaning solution (vinegar, windex, etc) will remove those. Finally, resealing the holes will simply ensure that the problem recurs, as nothing has been done to fix the failed seals. IF the panes are not tempered, you could try drilling two holes top and bottom on the outside pane, and glue screen over the holes. – Ecnerwal Apr 20 '16 at 16:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.