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 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:
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 adjusting.
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.
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.
- 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.
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. For advice, get in touch with the professionals at Stormclad.