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What is a Home Inspection?
Failed windows  XML
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Tom Kruger
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Joined: 07/17/2014 02:08 PM EDT
Messages: 1
Location: Grayslake, IL 60030
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Recently completed home inspection of 19 yr old, 2 story, single family, with finished basement, with southern exposure, where all the windows, except basement windows, have failed. That includes double hung, sliders, and fixed, (pictures attached). Windows are located on all sides of house. All windows operate correctly, as well doors. There were no visible cracks in the corners of the house.

I have experienced failed windows before but never this many in one home. I did notice the home next door had plastic in side on some of their windows.

Comments!
[Thumb - PratscheriPics 011.jpg]
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 Description Rear elev
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 Description Cracked fixed
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 Description Cracked dbl hung
 Filesize 371 Kbytes
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[Thumb - PratscheriPics 057.jpg]
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 Description Fogged fixed
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 Description Front Elev
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[Thumb - PratscheriPics 052.jpg]
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 Description fogged slider
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[Thumb - PratscheriPics 042.jpg]
 Filename PratscheriPics 042.jpg [Disk] Download
 Description fogged dble hung
 Filesize 470 Kbytes
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SheehanThomson
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Joined: 06/18/2014 11:28 PM EDT
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I've done inspections where every single one had failed.

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scotbaker
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Joined: 07/01/2014 10:28 AM EDT
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My house in Vermont had the same issue on most of the windows also.
William Chandler
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Joined: 06/23/2014 04:28 AM EDT
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recommend replacement with a "good single pane window"

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DarylRoche
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Joined: 11/22/2014 09:38 PM EST
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In Illinios? Single Pane? Be a little cold in the winter! I think most window manufacturers at that period in time guaranteed the seal for about 10 years. Higher grade longer. Some now offer lifetime with original purchaser. Construction grade probably used in original build with limited warranty. Seen as low as five years.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 06/26/2015 11:14 PM EDT


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William Chandler
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Right, Daryl. Sometimes I forget there is life outside Florida. Window mfgs haven't figured out how to build a double pane which will hold up to the afternoon FL sunlight. Heated argon gas turns to liquid here.

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Michael Altizer
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Temperature variations in interior and exterior temperatures caused both the cracks and the fogging. I will try to explain my way of thinking in two separate posts for better understanding. One post on the cracks and the other post on the fogging.
Michael Altizer
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Stress Cracks caused from Temperature Variation.

Tom,

You said that there were no visible cracks in the corners of the house, and that all windows operated correctly. Looking at your second and third pictures of the cracks, I believe that they are stress cracks caused from temperature variation.

Here is the scientific reason for the cracks: Thermal stress cracks — commonly known as “stress cracks” — typically occur in windows when a thermal gradient causes different parts of the glass to expand by different amounts. At some point, the stress of the expansion may overcome the strength of the glass, causing a crack to form.

A simpler way to look at it: Stress cracks in windows are similar to what might happen if you poured cold water into a hot baking dish that you just took out of the oven. As the cold liquid touches the hot dish, there is an uneven increase in the thermal expansion of the walls of the baking dish. If the expansion is significant enough and the dish is thin or compromised by a nick or weak spot, the baking dish may break.

Now think about the windows and where they are located on the home.
Stress cracks more often occur in large windows that are beneath overhangs or are recessed behind a protruding outward room. The shadow lines created by the overhang or wall sets up a quickly changing stress factor from the glass that is in the sunny, hot area that contrasts with the glass in the cool, shaded area.
If the stress gets too be too much, the glass expands a lot in the heat or shrinks in the cold, it can crack. You will probably see quite a bit more of these cracks Tom and explain to your clients that it happens all of the time because of temperature variations in interior and exterior temperatures. Stress cracks tend to show up more in newly installed windows than in older windows.

There are three general types of glass cracks:
1. Thermal stress crack — cracks at a perpendicular angle. May be caused by sudden temperature swings or shading changes on a building.

2. Impact crack — cracks in a starburst pattern that radiates from a central point. Hitting a window with a baseball or golf ball could result in an impact crack.


3. Pressure crack — cracks in a pattern similar to the curve of an hourglass. Insulating glass — windows with two panes of glass that have air inside them — may get pressure cracks if they are installed at too high or too low of an elevation level or if there are drastic pressure system changes in the weather.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 06/27/2015 05:13 AM EDT

Michael Altizer
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Fogging caused from Temperature Variation.

Tom,
You already know that many factors may contribute to a foggy window. For starters, it is essential to first understand where the fog is occurring: on the outside or exterior of the window, on the inside or room side surfaces, or in between the panes of glass.

1. Exterior condensation
on windows occurs when the temperature inside the home falls well below that outside, like on a hot humid day. When dramatic differences in interior and exterior temperatures and humidity levels occur, moisture condensation can build up on the coldest surface—the glass. The same phenomenon causes a cold glass of your favorite beverage to sweat on a sizzling summer day.


2. Likewise, when interior humidity is high, as temperatures drop outdoors, condensation can occur on interior glass surfaces.

3. Moisture and condensation between panes of insulating glass can occur when the seal between the panes of glass fails. This typically occurs in older windows or doors where the seal has failed and allows moisture to leak in. It is not uncommon to walk into older homes and see windows on the sunny side of the home with a glass seal failure that allows condensation and fogging between the panes. This same fogging can occur on any side of the home, but tends to be more prevalent on the sunny sides because the additional heat from the sun tends to accelerate the seal failure. In addition, with the sun shining through the glass, the fogging can be more visible and readily apparent.

Looking at your pictures #4, 6 and 7, of the fogged up windows, I hope that I explained things in a professional manner that will help both you and other readers of this post in a way that benefits both you the inspector and our industry together.

This message was edited 8 times. Last update was at 06/27/2015 05:40 AM EDT

HomeWorkz inspectors
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Seal failure in builder grade window glass is very common. Most high quality window manufacturers have a minimum of 20 year non-prorated warranty that covers seal failure and some even cover glass breakage.

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DarylRoche
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Joined: 11/22/2014 09:38 PM EST
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never really looked to see if florida was exempt on the window warranties .

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Nace
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Could you tell the name of the manufacturer of the window? By the looks of the photos, they could be a window that looks familiar but I won't mention their name without being sure. There were a number of window manufacturers here in the midwest that had significant insulated glass failure rates in the mid to late 90's (I worked for a couple window manufacturers earlier in my career and sold some of them, some of them are still in business and some aren't) and I've seen whole houses with failed windows.

If you can find out the name of the manufacturer - look either on the spacer bar between the glass or open a sash to see if there is a sticker in the jamb - the owner may be able to contact them for the remainder of a warranty. As previously stated, many window manufacturers had a pro-rated 20 year warranty on their glass.

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jtroth
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A single pane window with a storm window that fits tightly (preventing air loss) will work almost as well as a double pane without the concern and issue of broken seals.

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