April 8, 2008

I Can Haz Caulk Instead?

While working on the house over the weekend, The Wife found cracks in the seals around the windows. So our double-pane seals are all gone -- and we may be leaking heat into the environment, and come summer we'll be leaking air conditioning, too. I don't think it's very dramatic right now, but The Wife wants the problem fixed and she's right, it needs to be. She spoke with a window contractor today and the over-the-phone estimate is something like $9,000. I've no idea where that money is going to come from and I'm wondering about caulking up the seals instead.

1 comment:

Arnie said...

The seals in double or triple pane windows are there to insure the Argon or Nitrogen gas inside remains in place. The gas is placed ther in a very dry state, and when the seals deteriorate or are broken, air with dreaded humidity seeps in. That's when you notice condensation on the inside. And maybe some fine dirt that is commom in the desert. The insulating value of the window is only marginally affected by this. The point of having that layer of inert gas is to prevent heat transfer by conduction or convection. Both depend on movement of the air (or gas) to transfer the heat. Heat transfer by radiation will occur no matter how many panes of glass and insulating gas are there. As long as you cannot feel air blowing through the window frames, your insulating value is still reasonable and higher than a single pane of glass. If the clarity of the window is compromised to the point it bothers you, then the glass can be replaced. By the way, a decent glazier can repair your existing windows. It requires removing the old glass and installing new sealed glass-paired units, which have to be ordered by size. The glass is measured, ordered, and received before removing the old glass. I would not apply any caulking to the windows. Insulation-wise, you would be better served to apply reflective film to the south and west facing windows.