Pain with Double Pane

Unfortunately nothing can be done to improve the appearance of this glass, with the exception of Pella Windows, it must be replaced.  On the positive side as long as your window is not leaking water inside your home there is no need to replace it; it’s strictly a cosmetic issue which is why your home warranty won’t replace it.  If you replaced your windows check your warranty information.  Most of the time you only notice these defects when they are in direct sunlight, so my advice is when you get tired of looking at it and you have the money, replace it.

So how do you know if your window seals have failed?  For starters some windows will accumulate condensation on the inside of the glass; usually after it rains.  For other windows, you will see a fine layer of dust or bluish swirly haze that develops gradually over time.  On some windows the spacer itself will sag and create an unsightly appearance.  I’ve seen windows with spider webs and bugs on the inside of the glass.  Some windows will actually rust because the low E coating which is on the underside of the outer layer of glass can be metallic and rust once condensation accumulates.

Pella Windows actually have removable glass panels so you can clean the inside of the glass.  This is a very high end type of window and very few homes have this type of window here in the valley.  The advantage here is you can clean the inside of the glass because the glass panel is removable; unlike other windows where the glass panels are permanently sealed.  This is a very time consuming cleaning process and will cost more than double the cost of regular window cleaning; if there are blinds or removable grid work the cost is even higher.  On the positive side, this type of cleaning usually only needs to be done every 5 years or so.

Homes built from the early 80’s to present time have double or even triple pane glass.  This type of window is more energy efficient but there are a few drawbacks.  If one side of the glass breaks you must replace the entire glass insulated unit which consists of 2 layers of glass permanently sealed and separated by a spacer and sometimes charged with a gas usually argon.  This glass must be cleaned a special way and assembled in a specialized clean environment.  Expect to pay 2 or 3 times as much as you did with the old single pane glass for that broken window.  Another big problem with this type of window is the seals that bond the 2 pieces of glass together eventually fail; climates with extreme temperature differences like what we experience here in the valley only speed up the process.  Windows that are facing the sun all day such as southern exposed windows are the quickest to fail.