How to Clean Double-Pane Windows
A double-pane window is a type of window consisting of two separate panes, or pieces, of glass. The two panes of glass are put together in a frame, with a small space between them. Due to the double-pane windows' design, these windows' insides are highly susceptible to fogging up. Foggy double-pane windows appear very dirty, and fogged-up windows can significantly impact visibility when looking through these windows. Easily fogging is a major flaw of double-pane windows, and since most homes feature double-pane windows, dealing with foggy windows is a common problem. This article will discuss how double-pane windows work, some challenges of cleaning them, and how to clean streaks and haze from double-pane windows.
How Does Insulated Glass Work?
The insulating airspace between the glass panels in a double-pane window helps the structure maintain a more consistent temperature and reduce heat loss. The majority of modern windows feature two types of seals: An outer seal that protects the window's strength and an inner seal that protects against moisture and corrosion. A spacer is held in place by the two seals, which typically consists of a tube containing water-absorbing chemicals, also referred to as a desiccant.
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How Seals Break
Overall, insulated glass windows are incredibly efficient and functional. Insulated glass windows can withstand and handle a range of weather types, such as extremely hot, cold, and humid environments, as well as being opened and closed repeatedly. An additional benefit of the double seal is that if one seal starts to break down, the other seal can continue to function for a while. However, as the window ages, all of its parts begin to break down and eventually need to be replaced. The average lifespan of double-pane windows ranges from 10 to 20 years. Outside of old age, there are a few additional factors that affect how quickly the seals break down:
- Direct exposure to sunlight: the more sun your window absorbs, the more heat builds up in the glass, causing the panes to expand, contract, and weaken.
- Inadequate drainage around the window: if water cannot drain away from the window, the frame retains moisture.
After the seal breaks, moisture starts to form between the panes, which can make your window look milky and foggy. Below we list some other reasons to get your windows fixed, other than condensation:
- Safety — Locking or closing inadequately, or the presence of lead paint in homes built before 1978
- Energy efficiency — Energy efficient windows help save both energy and money when it comes to heating and cooling
- Defects — Cracks, discoloration, or chips; drafty or leaking windows
- Age — If your windows are more than fifteen years old
Challenges When Cleaning Double-Pane Windows
You may face a broad array of challenges when cleaning double-pane windows, making it extremely difficult to keep them clean for long periods. That is why you may want to hire professional window cleaning services such as Shine Window Cleaning to regularly take care of the hassle of cleaning your double-pane windows. Essentially, fogging becomes more and more common as the seal between the two panes of glass gradually wears down or fails. Moisture seeps into the area between the two pieces of glass after the seal fails. To clean the fog between the window panes, you need first to take off the seal and then individually clean each piece of glass. After you clean the window panes, you then need to put everything back together and reseal them.
The trickiest part is resealing the glass door or window without trapping moisture in between the panes. It would be best to make sure the least amount of humidity seeps between the two panes when you are resealing the glass. Another challenging task is taking the seal off without breaking the pane of glass. That is not an impossible job, but it's a highly challenging one, which is why you'll save a lot of headaches and broken glass if you let the professionals take care of it. If you must break the seal and clean the panes on your own, we recommend replacing the windows or door with a single pane to minimize the foggy window problem in the future.
Unsealing Double-Pane Windows
If you don't want to replace your windows and want to try and clean the glass yourself, you will first need to take off the seal. However, keep in mind that after you take the seal off, you will probably have to continue repeating the process each time you clean your windows until you replace them, which is why we recommend either hiring a professional or replacing the windows. Moreover, every manufacturer or factory designs and builds their door or window products uniquely. You will first need to establish who made your double-pane glass fixture and find a guide that can help you remove or disassemble the door or window.
Cleaning Streaks And Haze From Double-Pane Windows
After you've disassembled the double-pane window or door, you can begin by setting a dehumidifier next to the foggy window or door and checking if the machine can get rid of the moisture trapped inside. You can also drill a tiny hole at the top of the window or door (without cracking the frame), then utilize a drain snake or wire hanger wrapped with a thin cloth or pantyhose. Another method is to drip a few drops of rubbing alcohol in with a turkey baster, as the alcohol will help clean the glass and get rid of moisture in between the glass panes.
Fixing Condensation Between Double-Pane Windows
When condensation forms between double-pane windows, it means the glass seal has failed. In humid or wet climates, wooden window frames are typically the culprit. When the wood gets too wet, it rots, and the glass seal eventually breaks down. In situations like those, all you need to do is replace the insulated glass unit. If you notice condensation between your double-pane windows, you're probably losing money every month in energy bills. Some ways you can try to get the moisture out from between your window panes include:
- Clean the fogged windows to get rid of any fog or buildup that isn't condensation on the glass.
- If broken or cracked glass has caused your window to fog, make repairs to stop further condensation from getting into the space between the panes
- Replacing an old or rotting window
Related: Can You Pressure Wash A Window?
Ultimately, you may need to replace your double-pane windows or doors if the seal breaks down. In the meantime, we recommend you get your windows cleaned professionally to avoid the risk of breakage and further repair costs. Shine Window Cleaning is a top window cleaning company in Texas. Keep your windows and gutters clean and well-maintained with Shine Window Cleaning!
Are you looking for a professional window cleaning company? Get your windows cleaned by Shine Window Cleaning today!