All homes need new windows eventually—because over time their seals fail, leaving your house exposed to damage that can lessen its value and safety. To put it bluntly, this is not an area of your home that you can compromise on. Working windows are essential to protecting your investment.
But mere dissatisfaction with what you currently have is a lot different than actual window seal failure—a problem that needs swift attention.
Here’s how to know whether you have an urgent need for window replacement to keep your home properly protected.
What Does It Mean to Have a Broken Window Seal?
To appreciate the problem that a failing seal presents your home, you have to first understand how windows are constructed. And without getting too complicated, here’s what you need to know.
What Window Seals Do
Old-fashioned windows only came in one style—a single pane of glass standing between your home’s interior and the elements of the outdoors. While that design still works, it’s not nearly as energy-efficient as double and triple paned windows, which are much more common these days.
Between the panes of glass, manufacturers insert an inert gas like argon, which provides an additional barrier against moisture and temperature changes. Your home stays comfortable and protected.
That is—it does as long as the seals keeping those panes in place remain securely airtight and watertight.
What Happens When Window Seals Break Down
When those seals start to fail, though, that’s when you begin to have problems. The insulating gas escapes, making your home less efficient. Contaminants from outside can seep in. A variety of concerns can arise, such as:
- Higher heating and cooling bills
- Lowered indoor comfort
- Window condensation between the glass panes
- Water leaks
- Moisture damage
- Wood rot
- Mold and mildew growth
It’s easy to see why you should be concerned if your windows aren’t sealed properly.
What Causes Broken Window Seals—and Can I Avoid Them?
As windows grow older, they slowly wear down until they need replacement. There’s no way to totally avoid this issue, but proper installation and care can help you get the longest life out of them.
If a design problem happens during manufacturing, it may affect the window seals. This doesn’t happen often, but if it did, your warranty would likely cover it.
When windows aren’t installed correctly, a host of issues can arise—seal failure among them. The best way to avoid this is to carefully vet companies before you hire someone. Be sure they have a good reputation and check their reviews.
Harsh winters, hail, tornadoes, and other extreme weather conditions can damage windows, seals included.
How Do I Check My Windows and Test the Seals?
Inspect your windows and ask yourself these questions:
- Do your windows look dirty, even after you’ve cleaned them? If you’ve washed both inside and outside, any remaining dirt is likely stuck between the glass panes, which means it snuck in through weakened seals.
- Do you see condensation, fog, or frost between the glass panes? You’ll usually notice this when it’s a lot colder or hotter outside than in your home. If this happens inside the two panes, it’s because the seal isn’t working.
- Do you notice that your window glass looks visually distorted? When the gas fill and seals are intact, the resulting pressure keeps both panes in place. When the gas leaks out due to a broken seal, it can make your windows look distorted, especially from outside.
- Do you feel your home is suddenly less efficient? Failing window seals let outside air into your home, which means it’ll impact your heating and cooling bills.
If you’re seeing signs like these, it’s a good bet you need to replace your windows.
I’ve Found Damaged Seals—Now, What Do I Do?
Getting new windows will be an investment, but it’s a smart decision because a damaged seal will grow worse the longer it is left unaddressed.
Check the Warranty
The number one action to take is to see if your windows are still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. If they are, the manufacturer should replace the window for you.
Repair vs. Replacement: What to Know
You may be wondering about different window repairs you’ve heard about. Here’s what they do and don’t accomplish:
- Defogging — A small hole is drilled into the glass so condensation between the panes can be dried up. An anti-fog solution is inserted between the panes, and the hole is sealed. This improves the appearance of the window but doesn’t repair the seal.
- Seal repair — A professional will determine where the seal is broken and apply a fix. While this may help keep out additional moisture, your window will still lack energy efficiency.
Remember, repairs don’t address the entire problem, and you risk further damage over time. The better option is a window replacement, which ensures the window is completely moisture resistant, attractive, and properly insulated.
DIY or Call in a Professional
Replacing old windows is no easy task. In addition to specialized tools, you’ll need to know exactly how to remove the old window and insert a new one with precision, so you don’t end up with other issues.
Using a professional windows company ensures you get topnotch craftsmanship. It protects your warranty and gives you peace of mind.
Protect Your Home Now with Lasting Replacement Windows
Properly working windows do so much for your home—from improving its curb appeal and creating energy efficiency to keeping you safe and boosting value. So, when it’s time for replacements, get the best you can afford, and act fast to protect your investment.
Our windows installation team knows Michigan homeownership and design styles inside and out, and we’re here to make it simple for you to find the right replacement windows. Reach out to us for a consultation and free quote to get started—and be proud of your home all over again.