By Post Glass and Mirror, May 29 2018 04:05PM
The eyes are a window into your soul, but your windows to your house are probably thermopanes. Depending on when you bought your house and how recently it has been updated, you might question when you need to replace your thermopanes. Do they need to be replaced unless they are broken, or can you just keep them in your house forever? Has the industry progressed significantly so that windows now are significantly more efficient and you are losing on thousands of dollars of cost-savings by not replacing your windows?
Depending on when your windows were made, the answers to those questions are no, your window won’t last forever and no, the industry hasn’t evolved quickly enough to justify replacing all thermopanes in your home. But it is important to know when you need to replace your thermopane, because having a baseball go through it isn’t the only time that your window needs to be replaced.
Obviously, if there is a crack or chip in your thermopane, you should look into getting it replaced. Not only will the chip and crack ruin the structural integrity of the window, it can allow the important gases that are between the window panes to leak out. Most commonly argon gas or krypton gas is put between the glass layers of the thermopane. These gases are nonreactive an abundant in our air naturally, so they do no harm. However, they are the main insulating powerhouses of the thermopane, so if that gas is gone, so is the insulation of the window.
Thermopane manufacturers recommend replacing your window once 25% of the gas has naturally come out of the window. It will come out, no matter how much we try to stop it, due to the windows expanding and contracting with temperature changes. How do you know when 25% has leaked out? Most window manufacturers should have an estimate of how long this takes to happen. Anywhere from 10-15 years seems to be the norm for thermopanes. Does this mean that you immediately need to get your windows replaced? No, but you will start to notice that you are turning the heat up more in the winter or cranking the air conditioning higher in the summer.
The gas can also leak out if the window start leaking more than normal. Leakage will occur when the house settles and the window frame shifts slightly. This causes the panes to shift and can allow small pin-hole sized holes to appear around the seams of the thermopane. This is also what causes drafts to appear around windows. Depending on how big the holes are, resealing the window can be enough to stop the leaking. But, if the holes are much bigger than a pin-hole, gas will leak out faster and lower the efficiency of the window.
Along with leaking, fogging can occur. These two go hand in hand, because fogging happens when condensation gets in between the panes of glass of the thermopanes. The bigger the holes are in the glass, the more likely that your windows will fog. The windows in your house that are the most susceptible to fogging are those that get direct sunlight frequently. They will have a greater amount of expanding and contracting happen because of the direct sunlight. Therefore, these might be the first windows on your house to go bad. This has tried to be resolved through solar coating windows, helping them reflect heat to help decrease the movement of the window, but it still will occur.
If you notice any of these things are happening to your thermopanes, it might be a good idea to look into getting them replaced. First, though, do some digging and see if the warranty on your windows is still good! Most warranties last for 10 years, but some can go up to 20. Use that warranty rather than paying out of pocket for new windows.