If you have experienced cold drafts or leaks in your home, you may be wondering,”Why do windows fail?”, or “What is a failed window?” Many people don’t know that windows can fail for several reasons.  Defective air seals, glass seals, broken frames, and even insect infestations can create problems significant to window function.  Why windows fail can be attributed to any of these factors.  Understanding these factors will help you choose windows that function as needed and ultimately bring you satisfaction in knowing your home is well insulated and protected from weather conditions.  Let’s explore the most common reasons windows fail.

Photo Credit:  Glass West at Green Acres Corporate Office, Folsom

Common Reasons Why Windows Fail

Broken Air Seal

Windows today have completely different standards for keeping air flow to a minimum.  If your windows were installed several years ago, they may not meet all of the modern standards that make them energy efficient. Features such as triple weather stripping and dual panes are more common today than they were years ago. For example, if you live in a climate where you experience very cold temperatures and/or high winds, you’ll want to make sure you have windows with triple weather stripping to block out as much airflow as possible.

Being careful about what type of windows you choose will ensure you are getting what you want and need for your situation. One thing to be mindful of is looking for a low CFM rating when choosing windows. A higher CFM rating indicates insufficient air seals or more air infiltration.  Having more air infiltration will make drafts more prevalent, reducing the efficiency of the window to keep your space toasty warm and draft-free.

If needed, you can replace weather stripping or reseal the windows – that is ultimately an easy fix. If you have a very old home or window system or have other window defects, it may be necessary to opt for a full frame and window replacement to ensure you have proper seals and better efficiency.

Broken Glass Seal

Another answer to the question of why do windows fail is broken glass seals. Insulated glass windows with multiple panes can be prone to seal failure. This is problematic because when the outside air sneaks in between the panes, it brings moisture with it. This moisture gets caught inside the window panes, which is identified by visibly seeing the accumulation of moisture or white haze that gets trapped in between the panes. When this happens, replacement of the insulated glass unit is necessary.

what is a failed window

Broken Window Frame

A broken window frame is a serious issue. The window frame is critical to the success of sealing the window properly. If the window is broken, or if it has rot, it definitely needs to be replaced. Some very old homes have wooden window frames that have been able to withstand 100 years of life and weather before needing replacement. Then again, there are also window frames less than 20 years old needing replacement, which can be a sign of serious manufacture and/or material deficiencies. Either way, if you have a broken window frame, replace it.

If you have failed windows, fix the problem as soon as possible. The professionals at Glass West are experts in their field, and can help diagnose the problem and recommend the best options for resolution.  Glass West specializes in window replacement, shower doors, and custom cut glass to meet your needs, and prevent you from ever wondering, “Why do windows fail?” again!