Cloudy Windows: Why They Matter And How to Fix Them

Cloudy Windows: Why They Matter And How to Fix Them

A huge problem that many homeowners face is cloudy windows in their homes. The biggest problem for cloudy windows is condensation which builds up on the windows. For some home windows there isn’t much you can do about it other than replace the window, but it is important to realize just why this happens and what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future.

Windows today are constructed differently than they were in the past. Older home windows only used a single pane of glass

which is horrible for energy efficiency. It allows significant heat loss through the window during the winter and heat transfer into the home during the summer. Today’s windows have multiple panes of glass and that’s where the problem originates.

Since windows today have multiple panes of glass there is a space between that glass. It’s usually a gap of about one half of an inch. This area is then pressurized with an inert gas which reduces heat transfer between the glass. This is what makes the window much more energy efficient.

This area between the glass panes is pressurized gases to help with energy efficiency. But since it has some pressure, it needs to be properly sealed around the edges. This seal is typically the culprit when you have cloudy windows in your home or condensation in the windows.

The Condensation is Usually Between the Glass Panes

When the seal of the window around the glass panes gets compromised it will allow the pressurized gases to leak out which is the true issue with foggy windows. Once the gases between the panes leak out, air and moisture can make their way in. When moisture gets into the window the glass starts to show condensation as the temperature changes.

Much like single pane windows would have condensation when the weather changes, so will the double-pane or triple-pane windows once this seal is broken. There is typically no way to determine if the seal around the windowpanes is broken other than the condensation inside the glasses. So, if you have cloudy windows in your home with condensation between the glass panes, you likely have a broken seal around the windowpanes. Provided the window glass is not broken or cracked in some way.

So, Why Have Multiple Panes in Home Windows

Windows with multiple panes of glass offer several advantages over windows with just one pane of glass. Multiple panes of glass improve thermal performance by providing greater insulation. They are aesthetic reasons for adding extra panes as well. Not only that but a huge advantage for homes near noisy areas is that multiple panes can help to reduce the noise pollution from outside.

DIY Solutions to Repair Cloudy Windows

If you have single pane windows in your home, there isn’t much you can do about the condensation. There are several sprays that you can use on your home windows which are designed to stop them from fogging up. Here is one that is available on Amazon:

For multi pane windows the problem with the windows is that the seal is broken. And since the seal was broken, water vapor has entered the area between the glass panes. Even if you seal the area around the glass the water vapor is still trapped inside the glasses and will show up again once the temperature changes.

There are many products which can seal the area around the windowpanes but there is not an easy way to remove the water vapor and pressurize the window again. Because of that, it’s almost always advised to replace the window with new windows.

Replace the Window Sash

If you’re not wanting to invest in new windows, you may be able to find a cheaper solution. For some home windows you may be able to get just the window sash. There are typically two window sashes in a standard home double hung window. If you only have one window sash which has condensation, then replacing the window sash will likely be much cheaper than replacing the entire window.

Keep in mind however that replacing the window sash that is damaged may only be buying time until the other window sash fails. You also won’t get the added benefit of better energy efficiency of newer home windows. Check with your window manufacturer if window sashes are available for sale. They may even be under warranty which you may want to check.

You May Not Have Moisture or Condensation

If your home windows are cloudy, it’s usually because of condensation but if the weather is dry and not humid, it may be something else. Buildup on the outside of the windows can be causing the cloudy windows. To solve this, simply do a deep clean on your home windows. It may be just a buildup on the outside of the window from mineral deposits. A good glass cleaner can remedy this problem. 

Proper cleaning solution for the windows

Before you start cleaning your windows, make sure to clean off any dirt or grime that might be stuck to the glass, so you don’t scratch the windows or damage the window seals. Then, wipe down the glass with a microfiber cloth. Don’t use paper towels, since they can leave streaks behind. Make several passes if needed to ensure the windows are clean.

Advantages of Replacing Your Home Windows

One problem that you have with double-pane windows that have broken seals is that they lose much of their energy efficiency. So, you are paying more energy costs because your windows aren’t performing as they should.

Replacing your home windows can have many advantages depending on how old your existing windows are. New home windows can improve your home’s appearance, increase its value, and make it more energy efficient. So, while you may not think replacing your home windows because they are not performing, there are advantages of doing so.

Are Cloudy Windows Covered by Home Insurance?

Foggy windows are often caused by an aging window frame or seal of the windowpanes. If you notice any type of condensation on your window glass, it could mean that there is moisture inside your home and certainly inside the window. This may be covered by your insurance, but you’ll need to check your policy to be sure.

Threats of Foggy Windows and Water 

Any type of water that enters your home can lead to all sorts of problems. From a roof leak to an HVAC duct that leaks water, it always creates problems in the home. Mainly because once water is inside the home it can create an environment for mold growth in the home. And condensation that collects on your home windows can be a reason this mold grows in your home.

As water leaks away from the window and down into the windowsill it can lead to mold growth, water damage to drywall, and more. If you notice problems with your home windows, and water around them be sure to check your windows to see if they are leaking or if they have condensation. In either case, make sure you contact a professional to replace the windows if needed.

Get a Quote on Window Replacement

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