Double Glazing Problems

window energy efficiency

In general, UPVC double glazed windows are long-lasting, secure and hard wearing, however problems do sometimes occur. The most common issues with double glazing tend to be related to sealed units. Read on to learn about common double glazing problems, and how to handle them.

Condensation

Condensation occurs when water vapour hits a cold surface. Steam, or general moisture in the air, condenses back into water droplets. Usually, having double glazing reduces the amount of condensation that occurs in your home. However, if your home is insulated, draft proofed, and has double glazing then it could become a moisture trap. To determine whether the double glazing condensation problems you have are indicative of a something serious, look at where the water is gathering.

  • On the inside pane: Condensation on the inside of the inner glass is an indication that the temperature of the glass is too low for the atmosphere and water vapour content of the room. Check out this handy guide to find out ways to reduce the amount of condensation in this situation.
  • In the cavity: Condensation inside the cavity of your window is sign that there is a problem with the seal of your unit. There should never be condensation in between the two panes of a hermetically sealed unit. If you see condensation there, it is usually a sign of either leakage of moist air from the room into the window cavity, or that something inside the air space itself contains moisture. You should have an expert examine your windows to determine how to fix this issue.

Other Common Double Glazing Problems

Double glazing is designed to provide insulation, reduce noise pollution, and stop drafts. However, as your installation ages, it is common for the sash to drop, and the hinges to become worn. This leads to several problems:

Draughts

If you notice draughts coming from your double glazed windows, this is usually a sign that the windows are not closing properly. This is usually caused by one of the two wear-and-tear related issues mentioned above.
To diagnose the problem, close the window and check the side with the hinges. If there is a gap between the sash and the frame, then this means your hinges are damaged. If the hinges look OK, check the lock by sliding a credit card between the sash and the frame. If the card moves freely, then you need to tighten the lock. If the gap is tight, then you have nothing to worry about.
The final likely cause of draughts is a dropped sash. This usually occurs in windows that have side openings. Close the window, and look at the top corner above the handle. If you can see daylight where the sash is supposed to meet the frame, then your sash has dropped, and will need adjusted.

Broken handles and hinges

Broken handles, hinges and locks should not be ignored. As mentioned earlier, damaged hinges that prevent the window from closing correctly lead to draughts, and this essentially eliminates some of the main reasons for having double glazing.

In addition, broken window locks are a serious security issue. Your home insurance may be invalidated if your windows are not correctly locked. For this reason, and your family’s safety, it is important that you fix the problem immediately.

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Is it Time to Upgrade Your Windows?

If you live in an older property that has one of the first generation sealed double glazing panes or even a property with UPVC windows and single glazing, then you may find that updating your windows will save you money. Some common problems with older UPVC installations include:

  • Discoloured UPVC frames: While UPVC is quite hardwearing and easy to clean, it will eventually become discoloured. If cleaning the plastic with a specialist UPVC cleaning product does not remove the discolouration, then it may be time to replace the frames.
  • Improving your glazing: If you currently have only single glazing, then you should definitely consider investing in double glazing. Double glazed windows reduce noise pollution, stop draughts, and help to regulate the temperature of your home. If you already have double glazing, but you live in an area which gets a lot of wind, bad weather, or noise pollution, you may want to update to coated, low emission glazing solutions.
  • Updating less energy efficient windows: Double glazing comes in many different flavours. Early double glazing was certainly better than single pane glazing, but there have been many advances in glazing over the last few years. Modern “Low-E” windows are filled with a special low emissivity gas to ensure that short wavelength heat from the winter sun is allowed into your home, but that the heat inside your home does not leak out. This saves you a lot of money on your heating bills, and keeps the temperature of your home comfortable all-year round. Check out this document to learn more about how low-e windows work.
  • Poor security: Many older windows feature simple locks (or worse, no locks at all). Not only is this dangerous from a security point of view, it could be costing you a lot of money. Improving the security of your windows may result in lower insurance premiums.

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Repair or replace?

Damaged hinges and dropped sashes can be repaired for you by a specialist.

Issues with seals, however, are more difficult to repair (but not impossible). If you are unsure whether you should repair or replace your double glazing, consult a company such as Window Doctor, who can examine your windows and offer advice, as well as a free quotation.

Replacing your windows will require a substantial up-front investment, but over time that investment will pay for itself. If you do not have double glazing at the moment, speak to your local authority to see if they offer any financial aid for people looking to make their homes more environmentally friendly.

15 Responses to “Double Glazing Problems”

  1. Mr Cousins says:

    i have this orange goo between my double glazing window plane can you tell me what it is.

    • stormclad says:

      Hello Mr Cousins,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m afraid it’s impossible to tell what it may be without actually seeing the problem. If you would like we can arrange for a member of our team to come out and diagnose the problem for you and provide a free quotation for putting the problem right.

      If you call 01159 708077 we would be more than happy to arrange this for you.

  2. Emma says:

    Hi i was hoping you may be able to explain my strange happenings , as i came to go to bed tonight i walked past my frint door and heard a crackling noise so i turned the light on, and couldnt believe what i seen, my door window on the inside was shattered ?????? Nothing at all outside and i just cant understand why or how this has happened. I was only at the door an hour earlier putting rubbish out and i dont slam the door as i have a baby in bed, nothing hard has come in contact with the window??? Could you give any explanations??
    Thanks

    • stormclad says:

      Hi Emma,

      This is uncommon but does happen on rare occasions. It is likely to be a stress fracture of the glass. This is usually caused by a change in temperature, which can put too much pressure on microscopic weak points/flaws in the glass, which can eventually lead to the piece of glass cracking.

      I hope that helps you to explain the strange occurrence!

      If we can be of any more help, please give us a call on 01159 708077.

  3. Kalab says:

    Hi,

    Looking for some advice if possible please.

    We had new double glazing installed 18 months ago and have had the company out 3 times to check over them.
    Particularly to look over the bay window area in our living room.
    There is a clear and distinct draught from around the windows. Also I can hear cars diving past esp when there is water on the road. This is also prevalent in 2 bedrooms. The co (based in East Kilbride) have come out and made adjustments on the windows that seem to limit the noise. Not sure exactly what but it seems to work for a while. The draught issue does not improve and through the summer months this does not bother us. In the winter time the cold air goes all the way through the living room.

    I now believe that the draught is coming not from the window but from around the windows due to gaps between the windows and the surrounding house? Do you think this could be due to poor installation? and if so what the potential remedy may be?. Where I probably lose understanding of this is- what, if anything, is packed into the side of the frames to stop draughts etc? Thank you for any help.

    Kalab

    • stormclad says:

      Hi Kalab

      Usually there is a compression seal on the edge of the openers that will eliminate most draughts and some noise. For noise reduction A rated units filled with argon gas and using warm edge technology will eliminate noise. Without seeing the installation it is impossible to pass comment professionally. Some window systems are better than others for both of these factors.

      I would suggest you contact the original installers again to see if you can finally get a conclusion to this.

      Regards

  4. John Peters says:

    My home was built in late 1970′s and I believe were originally fitted wiith double glazed uvpvc windows in white with Georgian Bar.

    In 2012 two sealed window units inner panes (both upstairs front bedrooms) suddenly broke. One in the early hours when I was in bed and it imploded slowly cracking from top to bottom but fractured across the whole ppane. This recurred last week but a seperate unit in the same frame and one downstairs in an extension to the original house.

    Any idea what is the causal factors?

    • stormclad says:

      Hi John,

      The only thing I can suggest is the information on the previous post below. The only other thing that might cause this is obviously movement in the house itself (hopefully not the case, but worth keeping an eye on).

      This is uncommon but does happen on rare occasions. It is likely to be a stress fracture of the glass. This is usually caused by a change in temperature, which can put too much pressure on microscopic weak points/flaws in the glass, which can eventually lead to the piece of glass cracking.

      I hope that helps you to explain the strange occurrence!

      If we can be of any more help, please give us a call on 01159 708077.

  5. Ian says:

    My windows were fitted a couple of years ago. Now whenever its windy the windows make a howeling noise which is enough to stop you sleeping.
    is this easy to solve if so how

    • stormclad says:

      Hi Ian,

      The whistling sound that you speak of can potentially be caused by a couple of factors:

      Firstly, if it is the actual sash that the wind is coming in through, the compression caused when closing the sash is not high enough. This can allow small amounts of air to rush through in high winds which can cause the whistling sound that you speak of. To remedy this, the window would have to be adjusted to ensure that the window fully closes. However, there are rare conditions where the wind is hitting the window at a particular angle causing it to be practically impossible to stop the noise, as it vibrates the gasket that seals the window shut.

      Failing this it is likely that faults on the sealant used around the window frames are allowing air to rush in and cause the sound. Basically, when there are small flaws or cracks in the sealant, air can rush through and create a whistling noise. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to locate exactly where the air is rushing in, but the issue can be remedied through resealing the window if this is the issue.

      If there is any way that we can help further then please give us a call on 0115 9708077.

  6. deb says:

    We had a bow window fitted a couple of days ago and both the top opening windows have a piece of rubber seal missing, it’s around 3cm long on each of the windows and the rubber that’s missing should come into contact with the main window frame when the window is closed. I’ve been told by the company that it’s nothing to worry about but I’m not convinced . Do you think this is a manufacturing fault?

    • stormclad says:

      Hi Deb,

      Without seeing the actual window it is very to difficult to comment on whether all the seal/gasket that is supposed to be present is in fact there. However, if it does seem as though the window is letting in cold air when closed and not fully sealing it would suggest that there may be a fault, but again it is very difficult to say without having had a look. If you are from the Midlands area and would like to speak to one of our advisors with the view of someone coming out and having a look for you then please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01159 708077.

      Thanks.

  7. Elaine says:

    We had double glazing put in just over 3 years ago and the sealant is coming away. How long should your sealant last? Thanks

    • stormclad says:

      Hello Elaine,

      The length of time that a sealant should last for is dependant on a number of factors. For example; whether it is an internal or external seal, the amount of exposure to direct sunlight etc. The sealant on all of our double glazing is guaranteed for ten years as this is how long we guarantee our windows for, therefore we will go back to a job and replace the sealant for a period of ten years after the window is fitted free of charge. Whether you are able to call upon the company that fitted your windows to come back and repair the sealant will depend on the length and details of your guarantee.

      I hope this information helps, if you have any more questions or anything that we may be able to help you with, feel free to call us on 0115 9708077 and we will be more than happy to help,

      Thanks,

      Stormclad

  8. Lexus says:

    Thank you for this post. It is very informative. I wish I had read it before when I had a problem with condensation! Thanks again.

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