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Removing Moisture from double pane windows

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liderbug

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I've been thinking about what gas to use in a double pane and seems to me that it really doesn't mater what is used (within reason) as long as it's dry. And the dryer the better. I'm thinking - I've got an old container of helium in the garage - as long as all (99.9%) of the H2O is expelled ..... and I've got a good seal ...
 

liderbug

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Project under way - my replacement (non-perm) window is built and in place - what da L is the stuff they used to caulk the window into the frame? Or maybe because it's 40 yrs old. Anyway first one is swapped out - can someone give me a pointer on dis-assembling the window. Got to think there is an easier way than what I just went through.

Thanks.
 

liderbug

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The best quote I was able to get was $75 per window (not-installed) and there are 10 panes. I (we) are retired and living on SS. Could we go for sitting in a lawn chair watching someone else do it? Ya. But that $750 is going to go towards a vacation or taxes or food, not windows. If I can do the whole job for under $100, great. If I can be green and not throw 10 windows in the dump, double great. AND if I can do it myself - triple great :banana:
 

Perry525

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The ever changing air pressure on panes of glass causes them to continually flex, eventually weakening and breaking the perimeter seal.
This flexing bellows effect causes the water vapor in the air to enter the space between the panes and create fogging and condensation.
Water vapor always moves to cold and the inner surface of the outside pane is always colder.
Removing the window from the frame and drilling holes in the spacer will enable the water vapor to escape during hot weather, but as soon as it gets cold, the water vapor in the air will move inside and create more fog and condensation.
Once the water vapor has left, it is possible to reseal the glass to the spacer and block the new holes using the type of silicone used to make fish tanks.
I have used this system twice over the last forty years and each time it worked.
What the current situation with those windows is I do not know as I no longer own the property.
 

liderbug

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Update on project - all 10 of my windows have a permanent fog. (well only 7 now). My MO is to cut the spacer at one corner with my saber saw (verrrry carefully) cut about a 2-3 inch slot down the middle of the spacer. That allows the glass in the corner to flex, .002". Just enough for my box cutter to get in and slice 3 sides loose (takes about 5 min), then stand the glass up and cut the 4th side loose. For the other pane a pair of pliers twisting the spacer up & my box cutter and the other side is done in 1 min. I've found my wood chisel does a good job of cleaning the old sealant off. And I've decided 90% clean is just fine because it's going to be covered with new spacer & sealant. I then use Stove Top Glass Cleaner (yes dear I will buy you a new bottle...) and go over all 4 surfaces with my 3/8 drill with buffing pad - med speed, then Windex and a microfiber shop rag.

If you watch the SuperSpacer video (above) I recreated the applicator tool from a 3" piece of 1x2. It applies the spacer about 1/8" from the edge of the glass - very neatly if I do say so myself :D I have noticed that the finished product is not as "fine" as "factory new" but then you have to get within 3" of the window to see the flake of something that got in as it was getting closed up - but then what's that word??? anal??? Film at 11.
 

liderbug

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Moving along - 5 done with #6 ready for reassembly. And I've found the leak(s) - on 4 of the 6 windows so far - 1 whole seam was not attached to the glass on 1 edge - I can stand the window up on the bench and with 2 index fingers open it up. - Great job guys.
 

Dave123

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Liderbug,

Were you able to buy the "Superspacer" directly from the manufacture? Did you have to buy a whole roll of seal (500 to 1500 ft)? Thanks Dave
 

liderbug

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I've included 5 images in this post - assuming they display in order - #1 is The Project, our dinning room bay window. Pls take note of all the white **** in the image on April 27th. *^@*^&!$#. The bottom row is done - they were even treated to new screens - ooooooooo...... The first 3 on the top are done, #4 sitting in DR, which leaves #5.

Image 2&3 is my Superspacer app tool - a couple of inches of 1x2 - the first notch is for the glass and the second notch is 1/4"(minus) so as to press the SS to the glass as it slides along. And a little metal finger to hold the SS in place.

Image 4 is another small hunk of 1x2 notched to the width of the finished window (+.001/2") so it will slide. Then I epoxied a strip of metal to one end with 2 notches for the glass and part that fits between the glass that sticks down ?1/16(32)?" - see image 5.

Edgetech sells only to wholesalers - which only sell to dist. - which only sell to retailers - I found one window place locally who would order it for me. However ... Ebay - search for [ edgetech spacer ] - same price I paid. - Only comes in 66' rolls at approx $1/ft - and I'm going to end up with about 40' left over (second roll) (on this project) It'll be fersale.

I injected all of my windows with helium (because I had a left over tank sitting in the garage) - I figured it was "dry". I ran across a web page - .. heat conductivity of various materials. Silver was the best at 429, then Copper at 401, window glass at .96, etc. Helium at .142, Nitrogen at .024 with Oxygen at .024 and (ta-da) Air at .024. Argon at .016 and something called Carbon dioxide at .0146 the lowest. Wonder where one could find that? Anything to keep the Dihydrogen Monoxide (DMHO) out of my windows.

All I can think of right now - Oh, DO NOT lean a finished window against the house during windy weather - you'll end up in a realllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy foul mood!

Chuck

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liderbug

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Sorry about that :eek: - $15 10cf tank - party store - I sealed the window first then using a couple of ink needles (wife's ink jet refill kit) - stood the window up - one in the bottom, one in the top connected to the tank through the SS. Very low valve open - very light sssssssss for about 5 min. I could see the window bow () just a little bit. I put a lot of work into them didn't want to hear - POP! :hide: After the 5 min. I turned the gas off and removed the needles and with a toothpick worked silicone into the hole - then did the silicone seal on all four sides. Oh, and by the time the second needle was removed the pressure was zero. Like I said the Helium was left over from.... [I forget]. I just figured there was less DMHO in the tank than in the room air.

4/28 17:00 #10 is done. The project is over (well I've got some cleanup to do etc). I figure at 2 hrs per window I just got paid $25/hr for my labor +/-. :banana:
 
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liderbug

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Well the above works - unless the glass is etched. :( Seems the kitchen slider (4x6) fogging was 10% fog, 90% etch. Wonder what's in the air.
 

daveswife2005

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Looking for company in Atlanta GA area to fix fogged thermal pane windows. Want them fixed, not replaced. Please contact Cheryl at 770-479-7050 asap. Posted 6/2/2011.

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
 

norris

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Hello liderbug,

Thanks for sharing information about your project! I'm wanting to do much the same thing (except creating new double pane units instead of fixing an old one). I have a few questions about your process.

The ebay source for super spacers (thanks for that pointer; it's been really hard finding anyone local who will sell us spacers!) seems to only sell the Super Spacer T-spacer, which is described at Edgetech's manufacturer website. You said you found your spacers locally--did you get the T-spacers, or another type?

-How did you seal the corner? The manufacturer website for the T-spacers says you need to seal the corner with "PIB backed strips" to prevent loss of gas and moisture infiltration.

-Did you only use silicone sealant? The website indicates that you need to use butyl rubber as the primary seal, then silicone as the secondary structural seal.

Thanks again!

Norris Thomlinson
Portland, OR
 

VentsnotValves

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Helium? That's a new one to me. The He molecule is very small, aren't you concerned that it will find some way out sooner more than later? I would be interested in hearing of how this fix lasts. Hopefully, you sealing the contours, helped. I guess the question is are you sure that the ingress of moisture was stopped?

Lucky when you pushed gas in there, they didn't pop, very dangerous move. That's why the repair guys use liquids that absorb moisture and evaporate it. (preferably those that don't leave a residue that is noticable.)

IGU (insulated glass unit) replacements is big business. It will always be around, and should not feel threatened by the small guys trying to save windows. IGU manufactures all have slightly different methods of make their products. It does not need to be true that all manufactures fill the space with a gas that benefits the life and quality. Nor is it always true that they vacuum the space long enough to get all the moisture out of that “adiabatic” space. (Dead space, when heat does not enter or leave. New Oxford American Dictionary.)

Does the technique of venting work? Yes it works. Up to the point were the incoming moisture is less than that which can be vented. In short, if what you have is a fish tank and not a window it may not work. Also, I have seen many mentions of the calcification (which is a form of glass surface deterioration often due to a reaction of trapped moisture reacting with the sealant (sulfur compounds and various etchants), metal spacer, and the iron in the glass. The high temperature and multiple cycles will cause deposits to crystalize and etch with the glass).

Please keep in mind, that many start in the repair business hoping to make a good business and honest living. However, most times the larger name group is the one that takes the bulk of the profits.

There are still good honest repair persons out there. You should look for track records! Most that are still in the condensation removal business use it only as a complement to their replacement business.

They use “Vents not Valves” and if they fix it correctly the IGU will out last any new replacements. Which if you think about it, a new IGU is just like pressing a reset button for the next 5 + years. But if you fix it correctly your done for many years.

I will be fair to say we manufacture all sorts of small products and simple tools. Some which are used in this industry. We do not repair IGU’s

Good luck
Questions are welcome
 

GTVic

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Good luck
Questions are welcome
The consensus seems to be that fogged windows are a cosmetic issue. Similarly, the felt seals that eventually dry up and allow drafts are not really a risk to the building. Is that correct?

Where this affects a condominium is the cost. The cost to all the owners of replacing fogged windows or the felt seals ($100 / window) is quite high. I am trying to find out if it is justified to pass this cost on to the individual affected owners or actually to get them to arrange and pay for the repairs themselves.
 

VentsnotValves

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"Felt seals", are you talking about slider windows? Felts on slider windows are not my expertise, but sliders can fog up even more if the seal is good. This is all about due point, differential temperatures, and inside humidity.
Cosmetic? not sure what do you mean?
Window manufacturers do not add felts for the simple cosmetics. They do serve a purpose of keeping the outside elements from entering the space between the inside sliders (thats if there are two sets of sliders).

A good window installer should be able to recondition the felts and seals on even slider windows for a fraction of the cost of replacement. I think if was my window I would up-keep as much as possible. Moisture and mold is hardly cosmetic.

As for who pays? That's not for me to say. Are windows part of the building?

Not sure if I answered the question?
 

GTVic

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Sorry, by felt seals I was referring to weather stripping on the parts of the windows that open. These are grey strips that slide in the grooves in the aluminum frames. Similar to the grey strips on sliding doors. We were quoted $100 per window to replace all of these.

I didn't mean to link felt seals and "cosmetic", two separate issues. I have been advised that according to our strata act, fogging windows are replaced at the expense of the strata corporation, while the upkeep of the weather stripping, rollers for sliding doors, handles, cranks and screens can be assigned to the individual condominium owners via a strata corporation bylaw.

By cosmetic I meant is it possible that a fogging window pane can be left alone if there are no other issues with the window? The insulation value of the window is not compromised greatly and if there is nothing wrong with the frame or around the frame then there is no reason to replace it except to improve the appearance. That is what I am understanding by reading through some of the comments here.

Now I have one of our owners complaining that all the drafts she is feeling in winter cannot possibly be due to those little grey strips getting old and that we should be investigating a complete window replacement project, frames and all I'm guessing. With all the stucco on the outside, I'm guessing that replacing 200 aluminum double-pane windows and 70 sliding doors is a very expensive proposition and according to the "expert" who looked at the windows, completely unnecessary.
 

VentsnotValves

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Sorry, by felt seals I was referring to weather stripping on the parts of the windows that open. These are grey strips that slide in the grooves in the aluminum frames. Similar to the grey strips on sliding doors. We were quoted $100 per window to replace all of these.

reply: As for the high quote. Was this a written quote? Did you ask for an explanation from the contractor. Does he need to rent special tools for the job ... sky jack etc. maybe has to work from the outside etc. I find $ 100 per window quite high. I would get more quotes to change those felts.

I didn't mean to link felt seals and "cosmetic", two separate issues. I have been advised that according to our strata act, fogging windows are replaced at the expense of the strata corporation, while the upkeep of the weather stripping, rollers for sliding doors, handles, cranks and screens can be assigned to the individual condominium owners via a strata corporation bylaw.

By cosmetic I meant is it possible that a fogging window pane can be left alone if there are no other issues with the window? The insulation value of the window is not compromised greatly and if there is nothing wrong with the frame or around the frame then there is no reason to replace it except to improve the appearance. That is what I am understanding by reading through some of the comments here.

Reply for both paragraphs: constant fogging windows will and can degrade the actual glass (as in IGU's). It is a long term effect that moisture has while reacting with low grades of glass and glues, rubbers (mostly sulfur based compounds) that are close to the glass and moisture. This is not reversible will damage the glass for good. The bad strips may be compounding the effects and assisting in the dew point thereby part of the fogging.

Now I have one of our owners complaining that all the drafts she is feeling in winter cannot possibly be due to those little grey strips getting old and that we should be investigating a complete window replacement project, frames and all I'm guessing. With all the stucco on the outside, I'm guessing that replacing 200 aluminum double-pane windows and 70 sliding doors is a very expensive proposition and according to the "expert" who looked at the windows, completely unnecessary.
Reply: How old is the caulking around the doors and windows?

It is hard to measure quantity of draft. Air flow on its own is a science (fluid dynamics). There is too much to discuss here. A simple test is visual, using 3 continual squares of toilet paper taped over a cloths hanger. You get close to your suspected area and watch what the tissue does. The paper will move to reveal a draft.
As for a repair versus change out. It would be difficult for anyone to claim to be of help at a distance without inspecting. Get at least 3 separate written quotes keep good records. Take good pictures, date them, and store them for future discussions and complaints... Sometimes even an expert will charge you a displacement fee to assess your problems (some will even credit this fee towards their bill) but it well worth the satisfaction to show what 3 separate pros see that owners and managers don't.

Hope this helps
good luck
 

tonyc56

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Has anyone used The Glass Guru for window moisture removal. If so, did their process work....
 
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