My Windows Have Stuff Growing Between the Panes

Answered by Jeffrey ~ August 4, 2010 ~ Comments

We have a 4 year old manufatured home. Two of the windows have stuff between the panes. Can they be repaired or do they have to be replaced? Also, what is the cause of this to begin with?

Mira ~ Scotts Valley, California

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Mira, The first thing I would do is try and contact the window manufacturer or the builder of your home. Windows should last more than four years and there is a good chance that your windows may still be under warranty.

There is a factory seal around the window panes in a double pane window. Depending on the type of window you have this seal could keep insulating gases between the window panes; however on all double pane windows the seal acts to keep moisture out.

Over time this seal can eventually wear out and moisture will get in between the panes. That's why when you walk into an older home it's not unusual to see some windows with moisture in them. There are some situations that can cause the seal to fail a little more quickly and one of them is heat. If the windows that are failing are on the east or west side of your home and aren't shaded from that hot sun in Scotts Valley, California, then the seals might fail before the other windows in the home. However, they should last more than 4 years even if they do receive direct sunlight.

There are a couple of other ways that a window seal can fail prematurely. If a window receives pressure on a regular basis such as young children or pets pressing up against it, that can cause the seal to weaken and fail or an impact from an object that doesn't actually break the glass can also cause the seal to fail. However, in most cases the seal goes either from old age or a factory defect.

There is no good way for a homeowner to repair a window seal once it has broken. Some people claim silicone caulk can be used but if it works at all it is only a temporary fix. The only real cure is a window replacement. If you can find out who the manufacturer is and they still make that style and size of window, then you may be able to get a replacement sash for the windows with the failed seals. Installing a new sash is usually a fairly easy task. Before spending any money though, I would definitely look into whether there is a warranty on your windows. I would be surprised it there wasn't.

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