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Old 12-21-2016, 04:29 PM
 
9,385 posts, read 6,206,001 times
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In house hunting I've run across a number of homes with windows that look gross and dirty on the bottom half of double hung windows, between the glass. I've learned that those are double pane windows. These are not old homes. Whereas the windows on old homes (single pane) still work great.

After researching, it seems that the best fix for the broken seals (which is what causes the fogging, condensation, and gross mess inbetween the two panes) is to replace the window. I read that the glass can be replaced, but it's less costly just to replace the window.

What is the point of installing expensive windows to save a few dollars a month on utility bills, only to have to spend $15,000 to replace the windows in the future? That more than wipes out any utility bill cost savings. In fact, I wouldn't live long enough to recoup the $15k, to begin with.

Seems to me it's best to get single pane with low-E coating, then add blinds to the window, and/or a shade, and then drapes in front of that.

Don't all double pane windows' seals break, sooner or later? I know there's a lifetime warranty on some of the windows, but when you're looking at a house that's changed hands a couple of times, I'm pretty sure they won't know anything about the windows, or the company's not around any more, or one of those exemptions will apply (that long list that always accompanies warranties, listing things you may have done to negligently cause the problem yourself, so no warranty!).

What's up with these double pane windows? I've also seen the vinyl chip off from having become brittle. What's up with that? I've only lived in old homes, so I'm unfamiliar with these new types of windows.

Last edited by bpollen; 12-21-2016 at 05:02 PM..
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Old 12-21-2016, 04:40 PM
 
4,690 posts, read 9,486,734 times
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Heh, welcome to a slightly more thoughtful mindset. You've nailed it though, the single pane windows (made with old-growth and thus very rot/bug resistant) wood in my 1930 built home will still be clear and perfectly functional Another 90 years from now so long as no one rips them out. Meanwhile vinyl windows tend to have about a 15 year lifecycle (cheap/low quality ones are shorter, and better quality/expensive ones are a little longer, but none will last even 40 years).

The real kicker is that if you have single pane windows AND storm windows, you're 90% as efficient as double/triple/argon/low-e/whatever windows.

Marketing, planned obsolescence, figuring out how to make a product so it needs to be bought Many times instead of just once. I've bought vinyl windows before, not sure I could do it again...
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Mount Laurel
4,187 posts, read 11,162,265 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpollen View Post
In house hunting I've run across a number of homes with windows that look gross and dirty on the bottom half of double hung windows, between the glass. I've learned that those are double pane windows. These are not old homes. Whereas the windows on old homes (single pane) still work great.

After researching, it seems that the best fix for the broken seals (which is what causes the fogging, condensation, and gross mess inbetween the two panes) is to replace the window. I read that the glass can be replaced, but it's less costly just to replace the window.

What is the point of installing expensive windows to save a few dollars a month on utility bills, only to have to spend $15,000 to replace the windows in the future? That more than wipes out any utility bill cost savings. In fact, I wouldn't live long enough to recoup the $15k, to begin with.

Seems to me it's best to get single pane with low-E coating, then add blinds to the window, and/or a shade, and then drapes in front of that.

Don't all double pane windows' seals break, sooner or later? I know there's a lifetime warranty on some of the windows, but when you're looking at a house that's changed hands a couple of times, I'm pretty sure they won't know anything about the windows, or the company's not around any more, or one of those exemptions will apply (that long list that always accompanies warranties, listing things you may have done to negligently cause the problem yourself, so no warranty!).

What's up with these double pane windows? I've also seen the vinyl chip off from having become brittle. What's up with that? I've only lived in old homes, so I'm unfamiliar with these new types of windows.

What is wrong with them? Too many cheap ones out there. The cheap ones, seal don't even last a year. The problem you are seeing is that a lot of the builder grade or someone using cheap window in rehab will have failing seals in no time.


I don't go for top of the line stuff. Just average ones that are reasonably priced. Forget lifetime warranty.
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
16,318 posts, read 60,505,335 times
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It's not "replace" the "window"-

It's "replace" the "glazing unit" (glass). Most wood and aluminum framed window units have sashes that can be taken apart; affording the opportunity to replace just the glazing unit. Vinyl units are "welded" together negating any possible opportunity of replacing just the glass.

For those that have older wood sash windows that used older type balances, the sashes and balances can be removed and replaced with newer IG sashes and vinyl enclosed balances. These are usually called "sash kits"- making "replacement" a practical DIY project. These can also keep "open area" the same versus other type of replacement windows that slide into the existing window jamb- which are now coming under the scrutiny of building inspectors and fire marshals.
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:57 PM
Status: "So many micro breweries" (set 9 days ago)
 
Location: Berkeley Neighborhood, Denver, CO USA
17,081 posts, read 26,834,876 times
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Default Data are your friends

Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Vinyl units are "welded" together negating any possible opportunity of replacing just the glass.
Not always true.
We have these Aristocrat Casement Series | Amerimax Windows and Doors in our 5.5 year old house.
We have had one blown glazing unit which was replaced under warranty.
I am very happy with these windows.
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:40 PM
 
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My house is 14 years old and the double pane windows are still clear and moisture free.
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Sector 001
14,272 posts, read 10,247,963 times
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My house has original anderson double panes made in 1977 and all the seals are intact and windows in fairly good shape and seal well yet in all but one of them which I covered with plastic film. Some areas have yellowed and require some paint. Window industry in general is full of profit mongers. Better off adding some interior storms in some cases over brand new windows. Energy savings is overrated as long as they don't leak air. Use plastic or some removable foam sealant for air leaks if you don't wanna spend 90 bucks on Interior storms.

If the seals are failing early you have cheap windows likely designed to fail early to get you to spend more money. Research before buying.

Any way you look at it seals and other plastic items are wear items and unless they design the same window 50 years and keep making spare parts they'll need replacing eventually. They won't do that of course.

Okna 500 and 800 are highly regarded windows. Andersen are said to be overpriced but reasonable quality. That's about as far as I got in my window research lol.

Last edited by sholomar; 12-21-2016 at 09:12 PM..
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Old 12-21-2016, 09:31 PM
 
2,011 posts, read 1,311,612 times
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We decided to keep our 45 year old single pane windows. Along with the excellent storm windows we feel we are as efficient as we need to be in a moderate climate.

The only problem is the washing issue. We need someone on the outside AND inside to raise and lower the various window sections for cleaning. With a two-story house, it is a problem. I am always tempted by the tilt-in models but I don't think we will pay thousands of dollars for replacement. I still think real wood windows have value and charm in our Colonial-style home.
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Old 12-22-2016, 01:11 AM
 
Location: Rural Michigan
6,343 posts, read 13,694,008 times
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I think the O.P is beating on a straw-man. I replaced the single-pane aluminum windows in my home with vinyl dual-panes primarily for increased security (you're not gonna break out a double-pane window without losing some blood) & also for noise control (the difference in noise inside the home is massive). Energy savings is actually low on my list, that said, the windows I pulled out were drafty, had bad screens & didn't operate well. And it didn't cost anywhere near $15,000 - more like $2k for pella windows on sale at lowes.

Not every home has 1930's "old growth" wood frames, nor is every home in a historical neighborhood. And most dual-pane windows last a very long time, and come with a warranty. Will my windows last 50 years? I don't know or really care, at the price I paid, I can pull them out & replace them if they don't- it only takes a couple hours per window & costs a couple hundred bucks. Not worth getting excited over.
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Old 12-22-2016, 03:54 AM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,873 posts, read 15,454,422 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zippyman View Post
I think the O.P is beating on a straw-man. I replaced the single-pane aluminum windows in my home with vinyl dual-panes primarily for increased security (you're not gonna break out a double-pane window without losing some blood) & also for noise control (the difference in noise inside the home is massive). Energy savings is actually low on my list, that said, the windows I pulled out were drafty, had bad screens & didn't operate well. And it didn't cost anywhere near $15,000 - more like $2k for pella windows on sale at lowes.

Not every home has 1930's "old growth" wood frames, nor is every home in a historical neighborhood. And most dual-pane windows last a very long time, and come with a warranty. Will my windows last 50 years? I don't know or really care, at the price I paid, I can pull them out & replace them if they don't- it only takes a couple hours per window & costs a couple hundred bucks. Not worth getting excited over.
I agree with your comment about noise control. I replaced windows in an urban townhouse with double-paned glass and was shocked by the sudden silence. Had I done it earlier I don't know how many more hours of peaceful sleep I might have had.
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