DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Windows and Doors > Removing Moisture from double pane windows

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Old 03-24-2008, 08:50 PM  
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Default Removing Moisture from double pane windows

There is a local company that will remove my moisture by drilling two holes in the window (opposite ends) then spray a chemical that basically eats the moisture from inside the window and plug up again.

Iíve drilled glass before and I know how easy it is with the right tools (diamond drill bits etc etc)

My question is if anyone knows what this chemical is called? If they ever done anything like this before and any bumps they might have hit

Thanks guys

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Old 03-24-2008, 09:13 PM  
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What do they do about the clouding on the glass after the moisture is removed? Is this something that cleans the glass or does this have to be done right away after noticing moisture?

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Old 03-25-2008, 01:03 AM  
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Default huhh?

I don't know if any gas can eat up moisture. But if they drill frames and dry out moisture inside, then they can re-charge gas in window. There is a pretty good chance that a spot somewhere on the spacer between the panes is leaking. If you don't find this and repair it you're wasting money. Good luck....
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:48 AM  
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Default Yup

I covered this a long time ago.....let me look it up.
Check it out...


Is this what you are talking about?
I think it sounds OK, but have no experience with their repairs.
Let us know if you do it, and how it works out.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:21 AM  
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I work for a glass company and we replace thermal units all the time.

We actually do work for some of the companys that do these 'de foging' techneques and let me tell you they are completly bogus.

We have delt with many companies that have actually gone OUT OF BUSINESS doing this, it just isnt worth it. Most of the time its hard to tell if a piece of glass is tempered and they just have the glass shatter in there face while they are drilling into it. Thats when they usually call us in just to do the proper thing and replace the unit.

If the units fogged, its done its work, there guarenteed for 5 years and most of them last 20-25 years, dont just drill into it, its still old and failed, just replace the unit and be happy for the next 20 years.

My $0.02
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Old 05-04-2008, 03:40 PM  
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Default See

You learn something every day. Thanks for the heads up. It would be nice if it worked , but like Square Eye said...I have my reservations on how to clean em up on the inside anyway.
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Old 05-04-2008, 04:03 PM  
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Hello Torontomix:
In my past I worked at a factory that used truckloads of windows each month. Consequently, we had some breakage and some warranty replacement to take care of.

The window company we traded with used 2 pieces of common glass, cleaned, warmed and stuck to each side of an aluminum frame which held the glass apart. I have replaces broken glass and re-sealed several that had leaked and smoked up. By heating the glass before sticking it togather, I have actually seen glass show a bend twoard the middle. If that seal can be maintained over the years there will be no further problem.

Of course, this was before the introduction of argon and other gasses between the glass, so I didn't have to fool with any of that. My theory of warranty failure is this: those who needed replacement and re-sealing usually had their thermostats set very high in the house, some 80* or more while the outdoor temperature was at 20*, 0* or even below 0*. This drastic difference in temperature on each side had a lot to do with the seal failing because the window was built with the same temp on each side.

I loved the Andersen WindowWall built back in the '60s with welded glass panes in them. The glass was actually spaced apart and welded in place, no caulking or sealer involved. Andersen still does some of their windows by that method and once told me they had never had a failure with the welded glass.
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Old 05-10-2008, 02:19 PM  
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Default removing moisture

When condensation forms inside of an IGU (Insulating Glass Unit) it means that there is a rupture in the seal and that air and moisture has penetrated the space - this is true in the almost all cases.

The folks who claim that they can install a one-way valve in the IGU that will allow moisture to escape and dry out the interior of the space – thus eliminating moisture-caused condensation between the lites – have some validity, but can you spell “gimmick”?

While their system will give the appearance of having eliminated the problem, in the right environmental conditions simply drilling a small hole in the glass, even without their cool one-way valve, can give the same results without the expense of the visit - again, in the right environmental conditions. Now I am definitely NOT suggesting or recommending that anyone should try drilling a small hole in their IGU in order to “fix” it. That was for example only.

Ultimately, a blown seal is an aesthetic issue. An IGU with a seal rupture will have virtually the same energy performance as a sealed unit assuming that the original window did not have an argon gas fill. If the IG had been argon filled, the blown seal has or will affect overall performance since the argon has escaped. But in the case of a simple 2-pane clear glass IGU, the blown seal is not a performance issue.

A blown seal allows outside air and moisture to penetrate the air space of the IGU. This is generally a very slow process. The “clean the inside of the IGU and stop the fogging” systems result in a much faster air exchange rate within the IGU space. This rapid air exchange allows the air/moisture level in the interior of the IGU to more closely match the air/moisture level to the exterior.

While physics 101 teaches us that warm goes to cold and moisture goes to dry, the “clean the inside of the IGU and stop the fogging” systems will help the interior of the IGU stay true to that idea. Physics 101 also teaches us that warm air expands. The one way valve does allow the expanded air to vacate the space taking much of the moisture with it. The “clean the inside of the IGU and stop the fogging” call this process "IGU breathing" - or something similar. It really does happen and it is the reason that the systems work. But remember that it is a cosmetic "fix" and it still doesn't address the probelm of the bad seal.

Anyway, drying out the airspace helps the interior moisture level of the IGU to remain above the dew point thus preventing the formation of condensation on the glass surfaces between the lites. Sounds like a good idea, but in some sense it is like placing a band-aid on a bleeding artery since it can cover without addressing the actual problem.

If the original IGU had argon fill, the gas is gone. If the original window has a LowE coating, then that coating may eventually corrode. The de-foggers will do nothing to prevent that. The original moisture seal is still and the “fix” doesn’t address that issue in any way. And IGU's cannot be successfully "recharged" with gas in the field, despite what some of the “clean the inside of the IGU and stop the fogging” companies claim.

And finally, this “fix” isn't necessarily cheap. The “clean the inside of the IGU and stop the fogging” folks will tell potential customers that their process is cheaper than replacement, which it probably is, but as mentioned earlier, performance may be very dependent on environmental conditions. Some people may use one of these systems and be 100% happy for years. Other folks may see the same or other problems relatively soon after the "fix".

And finally again, remember that this is ultimately a cosmetic issue. From an energy performance standpoint it doesn't have to be fixed right away.

Last edited by Oberon; 05-10-2008 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:15 PM  
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My problem is already beyond moisture--there's mildew in the inside of the IGUs in question. So far I have not heard anything encouraging about the situation.

What I have found out, or already knew:

--Most local shops that "fix" these windows just order a replacement IGU and trash the old one. They do not attempt to repair or re-seal existing units, because the windows have to be blown with dry gas during manufacture--argon, nitrogen or whatever--to ensure there's no moisture in the air inside. They can order replacement IGU's fairly quickly in pretty much any square or rectangular shape you need for typical residential window sizes.

--Even assuming you could somehow re-blow the double-pane unit with argon, you cannot use silicone sealant to seal it, because silicone sealant is water-vapor-permeable (even when cured) and humidity would just get in all over again. Ideally you would use butyl-rubber tape or butyl-rubber hot-melt glue. There is butyl-rubber caulk commonly available, but it gives off vapors during curing that could contaminate the inside glass as it cures (I haven't tried this yet, but I would guess it is a very real possibility. Other multi-layer windows I have seen [in industrial equipment] always used butyl tape for sealing).

--Semi-related: I have seen examples of home-made solar panels that were made by containing the cells between two sheets of glass. People wish to seal the panels to protect the cells from moisture & corrosion, but in that use, trying to seal the glass almost never works. Oddly enough--moisture seems to accumulate in them over time, it gets in and doesn't want to leave. What is observed to work generally better is if you build a small vent at the top and bottom edges, allowing for a very tiny amount of air circulation. One vent does not work: the "dry" air has to be able to come in at the bottom, and the warmer air and water vapor has to be able to rise out the top. This method also allows using silicone sealant, as the silicone does not need to maintain an air/waterproof seal, it only has to adhere and prevent liquid water from entering easily. Excess humidity gets driven out the vents on its own.

Venting mine is what I plan to try, if it is possible. I won't be taking mine apart for a couple days more, so I won't know if it will be possible until I see what I have to deal with. At this point there's really not a lot to lose; the only other options is replacement (that I don't want to pay for a house I'm fixing up to sell) or stripping the windows down to single-panes somehow, which isn't much of a positive selling point either. :\
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:59 PM  
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Default Get the fog out????????????????

The process is very simple. Different Co's will say they use all kinds of different solutions. What works best is distilled water. Because it has been deionized it will pick up most if not all of the calcification on the inside of the glass, and when the evaporation in complete no residue.

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