Removing Moisture from double pane windows

Discussion in 'Windows and Doors' started by torontomix, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. Mar 25, 2008 #1

    torontomix

    torontomix

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    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.

    I’ve 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
    Dan
     
  2. Mar 25, 2008 #2

    Square Eye

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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?
     
  3. Mar 25, 2008 #3

    triple D

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    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....
     
  4. Mar 25, 2008 #4

    inspectorD

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

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    WWW.ccwwi.com




    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.
     
  5. May 4, 2008 #5

    ditalian

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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
     
  6. May 4, 2008 #6

    inspectorD

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    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.
     
  7. May 4, 2008 #7

    glennjanie

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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.
    Glenn
     
  8. May 10, 2008 #8

    Oberon

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    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.
     
  9. Sep 12, 2008 #9

    howard184

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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. :\
    ~
     
  10. Dec 15, 2008 #10

    vtw45

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    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. :)
     
  11. Feb 2, 2009 #11

    WR888

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    I think the concept of providing "some" ventilation to a failed thermo pane window is worth a try.
    Does anyone know a supplier for these one-way valves?
     
  12. Aug 20, 2009 #12

    Calreno

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    Do not go this route!! We hired a local Calgary company (ClearVu Thermal) to fix 11 of our windows. What they initially said made sense but the process does not work. Every time the weather changes our windows fog up. On some windows we have more moisture in them than we did before. We have called them on their warranty and they are trying to wriggle out of a refund. The bottom line is the companies that do this are selling a service that doesn't work!! Now we are looking at replacing all the windows, so all that money we paid to this company has gone down the drain. So either replace the entire window or just the glass unit.

     
  13. Jun 23, 2010 #13

    dexter

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    I hired this same company 5 years ago to take the moisture out of 6 of my windows and to this day they are still clear and dry so the process must work somehow. As for the warranty, they came back to reinstall a small plastic valve that came off the glass 2 years ago no problem. Because my windows are wood framed, I do need to paint them every 2-3 years and make sure the caulking is in tip top shape, I believe this is part of the warranty requirement.
     
  14. Jul 22, 2010 #14

    Calrenoguy

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    I had this company (clear vu thermal) over last month to do some repairs. My windows look great and haven't got wet at all. I was referred by a friend who had (clear vu thermal) over to do repairs 3 years ago. Her windows dry still dry to this date. I had the fog guy for a quote and he seemed very disinterested in doing the work and wasn't professional at all. It seemed as though he was trying to constantly undermine his competitors. Being a business professional myself I find that practice very unethical and although he claimed to cost less I would rather hire a company who are both professional and come highly recommended from a number of sources such as clear vu thermal.
     
  15. Aug 24, 2010 #15

    Calreno

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    In reply to the person who had Clear Vu out to do their windows, you are lucky. It has been a year and every window this company "fixed" has moisture, in fact in some cases there is more moisture now. We had phoned the guy to come out and see the problem because they are supposed to warranty their service. The owner Alan Ring was very unprofessional and gave us the run around. We have issued a formal complaint with the BBB but all they could do was send us to mediation which again Mr. Ring tried desperatly to wriggle out of. If your windows have moisture they need replacing. That is the only solution. This little vent system is a gimmick, waste of money and just doesn't work. The only way I can see this system working is on a North facing window with very little sun exposure. Do not hire Clear Vu it is a gimmick and it is unbelievable that these guys are still in business. As for our continuing problem, we are slowly replacing all the windows. We are persuing legal action against this company.
     
  16. Aug 27, 2010 #16

    everhart011

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    Thanks for sharing the information.
     
  17. Sep 4, 2010 #17

    davidHandyman

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    I agree I've had this done and it didn't work out well in my older home. Maybe it was just the company I went with and their shoddy service. But nowadays the vinyl windows are durable and temperature resistant they last many many years! Better off replacing them with new age technology and materials than trying to bandaid fix old windows.
     
  18. Nov 27, 2010 #18

    thermoklear

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    I am in the window installation and repair business and noticed there are a lot of people interested in this subject....and lots of misunderstandings on the subject. So.......

    How important is the seal in a sealed unit? The seal is only there to keep the two interior surfaces of the glass unit clear and dry...the seal has very, very little to do with any insulating properties, Double glazing gets some of its insulation properties from the air-space between the glass lites and some from the glass lites themselves. BUT glass is a heat conductor!! Cookware made by Pyrex, Corning and Anchor-Hocking is made of glass because in is an excellent heat conductor. Each 3mm (1/8") thick lite of glass has an R-factor (insulating value) of about .65. A half-inch airspace has an R-factor of .5, therefore an average sealed unit or IGU (insulating glass unit) has an R-Factor of about 1.8 which is usually rounded to 2. Adding argon or krypton gas to the air-space adds about .2 R to the IGU. When someone says their energy efficient windows have an R-factor of anything greater than 2 they are providing a result for an average size window that includes the framing and sashes. When you ask what the R-factor is for any part of glass area in their window it is still about 2 -- give or take a little for the glass thickness and the width of the spacer bar.

    Pella windows look like they have a sealed unit but are actually a double-glazed unit with a removeable interior panel (new ones can be tripled-glazed with a dual-pane sealed unit as the exterior glazing) but they have four "breather holes" or vents between the glass panels instead of a "seal". The vent holes allow household moisture that gets into the space between the glass panels to escape to the outside atmosphere, Condensation may periodically appear on the interior surface of the outside pane of glass but the vent holes allow the moisure to escape. Pella is viewed to be the best and their design is not a "gimmick"

    The process of drilling and venting a "foggy" sealed unit is simply turning a failed sealed unit into a low cost variation of a Pella window.

    The venting process will ALWAYS and PERMANENTLY dry out a sealed unit as long as one condition exists...Less moisture GETS IN thru the seal failure than GETS OUT thru the vent. The reason for this is Boyle's Law which states that gas (water vapour) densities will try to equalize (the water vapour density inside the "sealed unit" with water vapour density in the outside atmosphere).

    If a "defogging" serviced IGU does not stay dry it is because more moisture gets in than escapes. The moisture inside the sealed unit almost always comes from inside the house although it can sometimes gets in past old or poorly done exterior caulking. The standards organization for IGUs is IGMA (Insulating Glass Manufacturers Assoc.) and they specify that there should be drain holes provided below an installed IGU to drain any possible accumualtion of water. Many window maufacturers do not install drain holes because they detract from look of their window and then water collects where it can get into the IGU.

    Calreno's problem is not with ClearVu, but with the humidity levels inside his home and the condition of the interior or exterio glazing of his windows. Those factors are allowing more moisture IN than gets OUT. The extent of the seal failure (what is often called a rupture) may have been too large to begin with. In that situation a double vent may solve the problem.

    The venting process is a repair that saves money and is green to boot. Glass is very energy intensive to make and transport, and glass in a landfill will last forever.

    For best results with the drilling and venting process the "foggy" problem should b e addressed as soon as possible. Counter-intuitively, the sooner a sealed unit is serviced with the preventive venting process the longer it will last.

    We had a former Pella window sales rep do the venting to all the windows in a home he bought because he realized the advantages of doing it.
     
  19. Jan 3, 2011 #19

    nopho

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    Ive been very interested in this technology and looking to add it to my window cleaning service. your answer definitely cleared things up for me. (no pun intended) ive deal with pella windows periodically and if they are facing the sun they will usually fog up due to moisture left behind from cleaning but always clear up several minutes later so what you you've explained about the venting process makes perfect sense. thanks again for posting!

    "life of a window cleaner is just one pane after another."
     
  20. Apr 4, 2011 #20

    liderbug

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    We have a bay window, 5 sections, 2 windows per section - ea 22x28. Quote: "Sure, we'll remove the whole unit and replace it with $4,000 worth of new ....". We're both retired and ... well... ain't an option.

    So I'm thinking: Make 1 new replacement. Then swap out the first pane. Disassemble and clean the original really good with stove top glass cleaner, vinegar, distilled water using newspaper & a hair dryer. Throw the old aluminium away, install Super Spacer and new desiccant in the dividers and a covering of silicone. Then swap for the next section and repeat. I'd like to use Argon - minor problem - best quote I can get is $300 for an empty tank and $$$ to fill it. Things that have gone through my mind: I can get helium from the local party store for $15 - enough to do ... 500 windows. I can get difluoroethane (canned air - computers) at about the same price. Is there anything else I could fill the windows with?

    Thoughts? Gotcha's?

    Edgetech I.G. - Super Spacer Application Video

    Thanks
     

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