COMMON QUESTIONS REGARDING WINDOW AND DOOR ISSUES.
Knowledge Center by Complete Window Care in Colorado Springs
Water leaking into the home around the frame of windows and doors is usually an indication of failure of building components above or around the product. Tracking these failures down and repairing them is best left to professionals. The most common and simple repair on many homes is to make sure that caulking around windows and trim components is intact (See caulking and sealants below). While advances in modern building science will prevent leaks behind siding even if water should penetrate the caulking around exterior surfaces, it is still best to keep these sealants intact. This is especially true in homes that are more than 5-10 years old, which may not have employed the most advanced flashing systems.
Most modern windows (vinyl, fiberglass, composite, etc) include a drainage system within the window frame. This causes some confusion for many home owners, when they see water sitting in the window frame after a rain storm. In most cases, water sitting within the window frame is normal. While it is always best to call us before assuming this residual water is normal, you can follow a simple rule of thumb. Water outside of the window frame (on drywall or interior wood components) inside your home is never good. If water sits within the window frame, chances are your window is normal. If you are unsure, always contact us to prevent irreparable damage.
Air infiltration can be one of the most frustrating issues to deal with. Often times other issues are misconstrued as air infiltration. For instance, very large glass panes have a cooler surface than surrounding air, and can often cause a draft of cool air down the face of the glass. Should you happen to be sitting on a couch in front of this phenomenon, you would be convinced you have a draft through your windows. In reality, you are feeling interior air being cooled, and not necessarily exterior air infiltrating into the house. Better insulated glass units and window coverings will help to alleviate this problem. Allowing a path for warm air from your heating vents to reach the glass will also help with this issue.
If you are sure that air is coming in around window components or edges, you may have a weather seal that has failed. These can often be replaced or repaired depending on the style of the window.
Air infiltration between the window frame and other building components can be a sign of a construction deficiency and should be looked into as soon as possible.
Condensation between panes of glass is usually a sign of seal failure. Seal failure means that the sealant holding two panes of glass together is no longer maintaining a dead air space. Once the failure begins to allow too much air exchange within the air space, the desiccant will no longer be able to attract moisture effectively enough. Hence, you will begin to see obvious moisture or water spots within the glass. Many glass panes get some fog between the panes for very short periods of time during rapid temperature changes, such as early morning. This is technically a seal failure, but as long as this moisture quickly disappears, it can be considered completely normal. In most cases, seal failures require replacement of the insulated glass unit.
Many factors have an impact on the longevity of exterior sealants. The most obvious are sun and weather which directly work to break the sealants down. Another important factor is the expansion and contraction of surrounding components. Vinyl windows are especially expansive, and can have a major impact on the longevity of sealants around their edges. Large vinyl windows can move so much that interior and exterior caulking can visibly tear at their edges. The best solution in these situations is to use caulking and sealants with the largest possible expansive range, such as elastomeric and polyurethane sealants. Should large gaps exist around the edges of building components, it is best to use backer rod in the gap prior to applying sealant, to allow the sealant to dry and stretch properly. Maintaining exterior caulking can be very important to prevent leakage around building components.
When you see water droplets, condensation, or even ice on the interior surface of your glass, the initial thought is of course that something is wrong with your window. Condensation on the inside surface of glass is usually not a window or glass problem. Glass and windows are almost always the coolest surface on the interior of a home, even if they are high performance energy efficient products. Because of this, excess moisture within the air is likely to cool and condense on these surfaces. In a dry climate like Colorado, high humidity inside homes creates an easy recipe for condensation on glass surfaces. Some common causes for condensation on interior glass surfaces are:
- Central humidifiers at too high of a setting
- Interior sources of water such as aquariums and swimming pools
- Many occupants and animals living within a small dwelling
- Many houseplants in moist soil
- Excess moisture through foundation
- Trapping of cool air against glass surfaces such as with tightly fitting honeycomb thermal blinds
- Rapid air temperature changes, such as lowering and raising thermostat settings
From a window perspective, any improvement in energy efficiency of the product, that can help to maintain a warmer glass surface, can help with condensation issues. Always call Compete Window Care if you are unsure of the cause of your condensation.