Window is still hazy after all these years

Mark Philben – Globe correspondent

December 22, 2021 4:27 pm

Q. I have a window that was built in around 2003. It is a double-hung, double-glazed window that has a sealed space between the two panes. I’m not sure whether it was just air or a noble gas in the space between the panes. Now there is moisture between the panes and the apparently black seal on the lower edge has peeled off the outer glass. The upper window has similar, but less pronounced, problems. Any suggestions what to do without replacing the window? I’m not sure how pliable the seal is. Fortunately, the window is on the first floor and is easily accessible via a short stepladder.

AND, Newton

A. I’m sorry to say this, but you need to replace the window. The seal is gone and there is no really inexpensive way to repair a damaged seal. The good news is that windows today are far better in terms of performance than they were 10-15 years ago. It’s pretty standard now to have a window with argon gas between the panes and low-e coatings on the glass for better performance. To me, this looks like a pretty straightforward swap.

This reader’s window is moldy. – Handout

Q. Like many other readers, I look forward to your articles and I am definitely pleased about the many useful suggestions. In the photo, you can see condensation and mold building up around the windows in certain areas of our home. The windows all click into place – they are probably the originals, around 20 years old. Why is this happening and what can we do to alleviate it?

JOE D., Holden

A. Many factors can contribute to this. It typically happens in the colder months when the humid air inside a house condenses on a cold window, often on the north side of the house where the glass is coldest. Newer windows typically don’t have this problem as they are so much more heat efficient. In the pictures these look like older vinyl replacement windows that probably don’t have the argon or other noble gases between the panes that make modern windows so much more efficient. Using a humidifier in the colder months would also result in excessive moisture on the glass. An inexpensive way to mitigate this until you’re ready to jump into a window replacement project is to put shrink wrap over the windows. When done correctly this will provide a good seal over the window and the pocket of air created will prevent condensation.

Mark Philben is Project Development Manager at Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge. Send your questions to [email protected]. Questions can be processed. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter at Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter @globehomes.

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