“Foggy windows” are common in Florida homes and the progression may look similar to these photographs over time. The “clouding” often starts near the bottom of the window and over time is spreads upward until the whole window is covered.
While we may call this condition “foggy windows”, this condition is not caused by fog but by hermetic seal loss where the glass is attached to the frame. The hot Florida sun causes the seals to constantly expand and contract and over time the seals lose elasticity and will not maintain the seal. This seal loss allows the argon gas between the two panes to escape, and it allows outside air containing moisture, salts, dust and calcium to enter the interstitial space and build-up over time thus obscuring visibility of the window.
Protect Your Windows From Seal Loss
The absolute best way to protect your windows from seal loss is to deflect extreme heat from the windows by shading the windows from extreme western sun exposure. You may consider installing canopies over the windows or planting trees to shield the windows from prolonged sun exposure.
There are companies who offer repair on “foggy windows”, but you should understand the repair rarely lasts and once the argon gas has leaked out it cannot be fully replaced. The argon gas helps to deflect heat from outside as an energy saving feature. Once the gas is gone, the window does not perform as expected for energy savings. Homebuyers should be reluctant to accept a “repair” in lieu of “replacement” on extremely clouded windows.
As home inspectors, we find some level of seal loss in many homes, especially those over eight years old or those with unobstructed exposure to western sunlight. Replacing windows in your home can be expensive; it can cost more than a roof replacement.
If you are buying a home in the metro Jacksonville or Orlando areas, seal loss in window units is common and you should be aware of it before you purchase a home. Some windows may take a few years to become unsightly while others will cloud over quickly; again, based on exposure.
Property360 provides qualified home inspection services to our clients throughout NE and Central Florida including Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Augustine, Gainesville and Lake City. To request an inspection, contact us today at (904) 606-1570