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Do Windows with Broken Seals Need to Be Replaced?

May 21, 2024
Do Windows with Broken Seals Need to Be Replaced Atlantic Glass

Windows are important for your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. A common problem is broken window seals.

But do you need to replace windows with broken seals?

This guide will help you understand window seals, how to spot broken seals, and what to do when they break.


Understanding Window Seals


What Are Window Seals?

Window seals are parts of double and triple-pane windows that keep gas between the glass panes. They help with insulation and stop moisture from getting in.

  • Single-Pane Windows: Have a basic seal to stop drafts.
  • Double Pane Windows: Have two glass panes with gas between them.
  • Triple Pane Windows: Have three panes, giving the best insulation.

How Do Window Seals Work?

Seals keep an airtight barrier, holding gas (argon or krypton) between the glass panes. This gas insulates better than air, reducing heat and cold transfer.

  • Argon Gas: Used in double-pane windows, it’s cost-effective and insulates well.
  • Krypton Gas: Used in high-performance windows, it’s more expensive but insulates better.

When seals break, gas escapes, and air or moisture gets in, making the window less effective.


Causes and Signs of Broken Window Seals


What Causes Window Seals to Break?

Several things can break window seals:

  • Wear and Tear: Seals degrade over time due to age and weather.
  • Weather: Extreme temperatures and humidity can break seals.
  • Poor Installation: Badly installed windows may have seals that fail early.
  • Manufacturing Defects: Some windows have flaws that cause seal failure.

Signs of a Broken Window Seal

Look for these signs to spot a broken seal:

  • Foggy Windows or Condensation Between Panes: Moisture trapped between the glass.
  • Distorted or Blurry View: Windows look wavy or unclear.
  • Drafts and Lower Energy Efficiency: Noticeable drafts or temperature changes near the window.


Assessing the Damage


Can a Broken Seal Be Repaired?

You might wonder if a broken seal can be fixed. There are temporary fixes, but they don’t last long.

Temporary Fixes:

  • Defogging Services: Companies can remove condensation and reseal the window, but it’s usually temporary.
  • Applying Sealant: DIY sealant application can help, but it won’t restore full insulation.

Professional Repair Options:

  • Insulated Glass Unit (IGU) Replacement: Replacing the glass unit can be cost-effective if the frame is good. It may not work for all windows.

Do Windows with Broken Seals Need to Be Replaced?

To repair or replace depends on:

Factors to Consider:

  • Window Age: Older windows might need full replacement.
  • Damage Extent: Minor damage might be repairable, but major seal failure often needs replacement.
  • Cost of Repair vs. Replacement: Compare repair costs with new window costs.

Benefits of Replacing Windows:

  • Better Energy Efficiency: New windows insulate better, lowering energy bills.
  • Increased Home Value: New, efficient windows boost home value.
  • Improved Looks and Functionality: New windows look better and work smoothly.

For more on replacement benefits, see our guide on 5 Warning Signs You Need to Call a Window Replacement Service.


Consequences of Ignoring Broken Window Seals


Impact on Energy Efficiency

Ignoring broken seals can cause big energy losses. When seals fail, air replaces the gas, reducing insulation. This means higher energy use and bills.

  • Energy Savings: Replacing broken seals can save up to 25% on heating and cooling costs.
  • Environmental Impact: Better efficiency reduces your carbon footprint.

Potential for Further Damage

A broken seal can cause other problems:

  • Water Damage: Moisture between panes can rot the frame.
  • Mold Growth: Moisture promotes mold, which is a health risk.
  • Shorter Window Lifespan: Broken seals make windows deteriorate faster.

Cost Comparison:

Factor Repair Cost Replacement Cost
Minor Seal Repair $100 – $200 N/A
IGU Replacement $200 – $500 $400 – $1,000
Full Window Replacement N/A $500 – $1,500+

For detailed cost analysis, see Window Repair Near Me: How Much Does It Cost?.


Options for Replacing Windows with Broken Seals


Types of Replacement Windows

Choose the right replacement window:

  • Double Pane Windows: Standard for efficiency and cost.
  • Triple Pane Windows: Best for insulation and noise reduction, but more costly.
  • Low-E Coating Windows: Reflect heat for extra savings.

Benefits of Each Type:

  • Double Pane: Good balance of cost and efficiency.
  • Triple Pane: Best for extreme climates and soundproofing.
  • Low-E Coatings: Better thermal performance.

Choosing the Right Window Replacement

Consider these factors:

  • Budget: Set a budget for your windows.
  • Climate: Pick windows that work well in your area’s weather.
  • Style: Choose windows that match your home’s look.
  • Professional vs. DIY: Decide if you’ll hire a pro or do it yourself.

For expert advice, read 3 Clear Signs Your Windows Need Better Insulation.


Cost Considerations


How Much Does It Cost to Replace Windows with Broken Seals?

Costs vary based on:

  • Materials: Better materials cost more but last longer.
  • Labor: Professional fitting adds to the cost.
  • Extra Features: Extras like Low-E coatings raise the price.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Materials: $200 – $1,000 per window
  • Labor: $100 – $300 per window
  • Extra Features: $50 – $200 per window

Financial Incentives

There are ways to offset costs:

  • Energy-Efficient Window Rebates: Some utilities offer rebates.
  • Tax Credits: Federal and state programs might offer tax credits.
  • Financing Options: Some companies have payment plans.

For more on financing, visit Why Is Fire-Rated Glass Important?.


Maintaining Your Windows to Prevent Seal Breakage


Regular Maintenance Tips

Keep seals in good shape with these tips:

  • Cleaning: Clean windows to stop dirt buildup.
  • Inspection: Check seals regularly for wear.
  • Lubrication: Lubricate moving parts to reduce seal stress.

Weatherproofing and Insulation

Protect seals with weatherproofing:

  • Weatherstripping: Seal gaps to stop drafts.
  • Caulking: Fill cracks around the frame.
  • Storm Windows: Add extra protection with storm windows.

For more tips, see Common Issues with Sliding Patio Doors and How to Avoid Them.


FAQs About Broken Window Seals


How Long Do Window Seals Last?

Window seals usually last 10-20 years. Regular maintenance can extend their life.

Can You Replace Just the Seal?

Replacing just the seal isn’t practical. It’s better to replace the insulated glass unit or the whole window.

How Do I Know If My Window Seal Is Broken?

Look for condensation between panes, a distorted view, or drafts. Regular checks help spot problems early.


Final Thoughts



Broken seals can hurt your home’s efficiency and comfort. Fixing or replacing windows promptly can save money and boost your home’s value.

Take Action

If you think your seals are broken, act now. Schedule an inspection with Atlantic Glass. Visit Atlantic Glass for more info and a quote.


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