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Sealed windows add to home comfort
May 12, 2006

Western Canadian homes are a lot more comfortable thanks to energy-efficient glass and better window seals.  

Like any product, insulated glass units can break down after they have been through many hot and cold cycles as well as from moisture and pressure. The problem becomes evident when the glass between the panes becomes fogged up. In other words, the “dryness” agent which protects from this problem has been lost due to a leak, allowing moisture into the sealed unit.

Many homeowners have no idea of what to do in this instance. The first thing to do is check for a designation and date of the window manufacturer to determine whether warranty coverage still applies. Also, check to see whether the warranty applies only to the supplying of a new unit or its installation along with the necessary stops, spacers, trim replacements and finish.

Once the manufacturer has been identified, call to get an estimate on the full cost of replacement.

Second, check for additional options provided by reputable companies. Look under Windows in the Yellow Pages. It is important that the work is done by an experienced professional since proper installation and sealing are needed for the long-term durability of the unit. Non-urban locations are often well serviced by glass shops with trained professionals.

Third, ensure the replacement glass closely matches other nearby existing units. Some types of insulation glass have a more reflective appearance. Usually, it is possible to create matches, especially if products such as Heat Mirror are available.

It is also important to know that glass technology has advanced considerably over the last few years. For example, durable and flexible materials such as silicone are now in extensive use and can be important to providing a clean and durable installation.

Warm-edge Super Spacers are available to significantly reduce condensation and frost challenges. Well-made sealed units with Super Spacers are also more likely to last longer in our environment.

High-performance glass can also be selected to reduce air conditioning needs and/or reduce heating needs (low- or high-solar gain), according to the type of coating. Selecting the right type of glass can reduce fading damage to carpets and furniture. A qualified expert should be capable of providing sound advice on any of these issues, complete with performance documentation.

The Internet has become a useful tool in finding a full range of glass information.