Home Improvement--General/Window Problem

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Question
Hello,

Just bought a house (8-9 yrs old), It's brick, & has a large (arched-top) window in the very front. If you disregarded the arch (and "filled in the top 2 corners"), it would prob. be around 8' tall x 7' wide (maybe a bit smaller). (picture of actual window: http://tinyurl.com/windowprob  -  big curved-top window without shutters).

Anyway, hard to tell in that photo, but window is real foggy. They said it has a pinhole (they didn't say inside or out), and has allowed gas(?) to enter the double-pane (and one guy said possibly 'stain' the inside of the window?).

My question is, is there ANY WAY to siphon the gasses/fog out, and fix the pinhole?? Or am I looking at a whole new window?

If I DO need a new window, do you have any suggestions on the least expensive way to go? Is it worth it (energy-wise) to get another double-paned - like that one was?

ANY advice GREATLY appreciated!!

Thank you,
Mike

Answer
Hi Mike,

Double pane windows consist of two pieces of glass separated by a spacer around the perimeter and made air tight usually with a butyl based sealant applied between the spacer and the glass panes. The size and shape of the spacers varies with different manufacturers and some designs do perform better than others.  The space between the glass panes may contain air or, to improve thermal and acoustical properties, it may be filled with argon, krypton or xenon gas.  

Changes in temperature, stress during transport and installation, settling of the structure, faulty manufacturing, or impacts to the glass may cause the butyl seal to fail.  Once the seal fails temperature differentials between the interior and exterior panes of glass will result in condensation forming between the panes. This condensation leads to the foggy appearance typical of seal failure in double pane windows.  Once this happens there is no reliable way to reverse the damage.  

Repairs may be effected either by replacing the entire window unit or removing the panes from the unit and having new double pane glass installed in the existing frame. Some double pane windows may have a tag with the manufacturers name and a serial number affixed to the jamb.  If a serial number is available, ordering a replacement glass, sash or unit from the manufacturer is often the most economical way to proceed. If no serial number is available many glass companies specialize in fabricating replacement glass in single or double pane configurations and will often come to your home and remove the old glass and install the new.

Double pane windows are substantially more energy efficient than single pane windows.  On a window of the size in question replacing it with single pane glass would result in a cold spot in your home, increase energy costs and lower resale value.

Good luck with your window repairs,

Tony  

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Tony Wood

Expertise

I can answer a wide range of home improvement and maintenance questions. My expertise is in carpentry, painting, framing, siding/boxing, doors, windows, decks and screen and glass enclosures. Wood's Home Maintenance Service

Experience

I am a life time resident of North Carolina with over 30 years experience in multiple facets of the industrial, commercial and residential construction industry. For the past 23 years I have owned and operated Wood's Home Maintenance Service , providing services primarily in Johnston, Wake and Sampson Counties of North Carolina.

Organizations
NFIB

Publications
Several Home improvement articles published on Angie's List and other online forums.

Education/Credentials
High School graduate ~ proficient in CAD (computer aided design), Open Office program suite.

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