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Old 08-28-2008, 05:24 PM   #46
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


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Originally Posted by ddodge View Post
Dan, I may have missed a couple of things you already discussed, but can you explain how you plan to suction out the alcohol through the tiny hole?
I haven't done it yet, but I'm going tape a small plastic tube taped to the end of my wet-shop-vacuum hose.

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Originally Posted by ddodge View Post
And secondly, would it make more sense to drill one hole at the top of the outside and the other on the inside bottom, Or vice- versa? In the video they did drill both on the outside though, didn't they? Why did you decide to drill the holes on the inside, other than the fact it's harder to reach outside.
I recommend doing it on the inside, for 4 reasons:
(1) convenience; I have a two story home;
(2) the thin tape seals on the inside (which I poked tiny pin holes with a small needle) will last much longer on the inside;
(3) it reduces the risk of moisture getting inside the window, should the seals leak due to deterioration due to exposure to the outdoors which will have more extreme temperatures and rain.
(4) I talked to a guy at WindowMedics who does this as a business, and he said he drills the holes on the inside.

The only downside for doing it on the inside is the messiness of spraying water on the drill bit while drilling a hole.

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Did you do the water-pic rise yet? Hope you keep up with your findings.
Not yet. I'm planning to do that soon though, soon as I get some time.

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Originally Posted by ddodge View Post
Thanks for this great thread. This problem has troubled me for years. I've often wondered if drilling a hole would work, because on one of my windows (One that has a crack) there is a big difference in the fogging compared to the rest. It makes sense. I can finally do something about them. Thanks again.
Sure. I'll be back, as soon as I try out the dental water-pic (with alcohol) and the wet-shop vac. I'm hoping this will wash away some of the spots cause by water droplets. Also, I think the alcohol will evaporate quickly. I may have to leave the seals off for a few days until all of the alcohol and moisture evaporates.

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Old 08-31-2008, 03:02 PM   #47
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


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Old 09-01-2008, 10:35 PM   #48
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


Dan, How did the alcohol do? Did it do a good job of cleaning the water streaks? And did there seem to be a film or anything on the inside from the cleaning? Great illustration. I appreciate your keeping everyone infomed... You will probably know more in a couple of days, but I couldn't wait that long to ask. Thanks
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:30 PM   #49
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


DAN - you're awesome...rarely have I seen as comprehensive a discussion on something I'm having the exact same problem with.

Curious to hear about the results of the Alcohol wash...streak free?

I assume the bottom hole is an inch or so above the bottom of the window - how did you get the bottom inch of alcohol out - I'm guessing the shop vac wouldn't get rid of it all - did it just evaporate?

I'm eager to try this too, but couple of questions...

1 - I live in Toronto, not Texas, so our weather conditions are much different - winter temps go below freezing (32F) fairly regularly, sometimes weeks at a stretch. I'm not so concerned about losing R-values, but I'm concerned that something may happen to the glass - cracks? ...frost? Any thoughts? How about from Nick the engineer dude? I'm pretty sure that if DAN's fix doesn't work I won't have much choice other than to replace the windows, but right now it's a cosmetic issue that I can live with instead of spending the cash - if the window cracks in the middle of winter, I'll be forced to replace it and I'll probably get scalped then.

2 - How much space is between the panes? I'm a bit concerned that my hand won't be steady enough to get my Dremel through the first pane without going through the second one as well...

3 - Did you spray water on the drill as it was going through the glass? At one point it sounded like you didn't, then later it sounded like you did. Is this sufficient to keep the glass from cracking, or should you put some tape or something similar around the spot you're drilling first?

4 - If you only drilled a 1/8 inch hole, what kind of tube did you use to siphon out the alcohol? something like one of those straw things on a can of WD40?

I'm fairly handy, but have never tried anything like this before, (also don't have anywhere I can really test this), so I'd like to be sure before I give it a shot.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:45 AM   #50
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


I didn't read through all the posts. But I may be able to help with some questions not covered, as I was a journeyman glazier before going to university. Been a while though.
Anyway:

-If the condensation is left for a long time, it will cause a kind of calcifying or etching on the glass that cannot be removed with alcohol/scrubbing, etc. (a glass buffer will work).
-Tempered class should have a seal on the corner stating such. If it doesn't, you can tell by knocking on the glass, as it has a different feel/sound to it. Also, tempered glass will only be put in areas where it's likely to receive impact, such as floor level. Most homes only use tempered glass in sliding patio doors, skylights, veranda railings, etc.
-Glass drill bits are pretty cheap, and you can use a garden mister with water to keep it cool while drilling so as not to crack the glass.
-Sealed units are not that hard to replace yourself. Usually all you need is a couple of putty knives and a razor knife. You can often reuse the old glaze tape, etc. If not just strip it off and use a roll of glaze tape. Make sure to put the new unit on the 2 rubber mounts, clear of debris/frame.
-In a pinch, you could open up the unit with a razor knife, and clean it out, put some silica gel inside, and reseal with silicon. Its not pretty, but it's free and it works.
-You can recycle the glass for other projects. We would often replace large fogged units, and then cut them apart and use a flat razor to clean the edges up. We would then resell the glass as used, which a lot of people appreciated as it was much cheaper.
-Not all sealed units are created equal. There was a big company called Skyline in our town that made a lot of units with a 1-year warranty and was able to undercut everyone else. But most units failed within 3 years, and the customers were pretty surprised to have to redo the whole house when they called us.

Last edited by TheNiceGuy; 09-08-2008 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 09-09-2008, 01:00 PM   #51
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


Quote "-In a pinch, you could open up the unit with a razor knife, and clean it out, put some silica gel inside, and reseal with silicon. Its not pretty, but it's free and it works."

Niceguy, when you say it's not pretty, how noticable is this method? Is it downright ugly, or can you spend some time and make it decent looking?
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Old 09-09-2008, 04:20 PM   #52
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


It depends on your skill with razor knife and silicone gun. And the seal will be much weaker than the original window. And there is a chance you will get fogging again anyway.
But if you have some time and don't mind taking a chance, then give it a whirl. You have nothing to lose.
What kind of window is it, how big?
Be really careful when removing the window from the frame so as not to crack it during the cut out. Use a razor knife and cut as close to one sheet as possible. Use multiple strokes so as not to crack the glass, and don't cut into the spacer bar in the middle. Open it up and clean it out. Obviously make sure its dry when you're done. Put your silica (chemical desiccant) in the bottom. Use a straight razor to scrape off teh excess sealant on the sheet. Get some automotive (windshield) sealant and a caulking gun. Use a very small bead if you are worried about looks. Apply a bead to the middle of the spacer bar, and the carefuly lower the othe rsheet ontop. Gently press all around the edges and make sure you have an airtight seal. Then apply lots of sealant arounf the edges of eh frame, and smooth it out with your fingers. You're trying to make an airtight seal. Of course, make sure all the sufaces are clean. If possible, let it dry for a day. If you're in a hurry, you can install sooner, but you have to be really careful not to allow the sheets to shift. Then reinstall the window, making sure there is even support on the shim blocks, and very firm pressure from the . And you're done!
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:28 PM   #53
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


I have "Better Built windows". The name is a contradiction. The company gave me the run-around on the warranty until we got tired of fighting them and gave up. I have 10 which are about (I'm at work) 16" X 6', and probably 10 more at around 4' x 5'. Most of the problems are in the 16" X 6' windows that face the east and the lake. The windows that get more shade have kept their seal. I've asked anyone and everyone if you can repair the windows like you suggest and the answer is always "You need new windows". I'm up for trying one or both of these suggestions. Like you say ..... what have I got to loose. Thanks. Finally something a DIYer can have a go at on my windows. I would rather try and fail, than not try and be angry about it one more year.
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Old 09-10-2008, 07:42 AM   #54
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


This is a really interesting thread.

Dan, very nice descriptions of your process.

I do have to disagree with TheNiceGuy however on one point. When opening an IG unit you do have something to lose...skin and blood.

Opening an IG for someone who is totally inexperienced can be very dangerous. It can hurt you and it can make you bleed. If you decide to open your IGU, then be really careful!!! Glass edges are SHARP and you will be dragging a thin razor knife along that edge with your hand very close to that edge.

Keep in mind that an IG with seal failure looks ugly, but the energy performance hasn't changed by losing the seal unless the unit was argon filled in which case the argon is gone and the window has lost some value because of that reason. If the window has a softcoat LowE coating, then the seal loss will result in damage to the coating, but it won't happen right away. The point being that it is an aesthetic issue and not a performance one, so there is no reason to rush into anything until you are fully ready to do so.

If anyone does decide to open an IG, keep in mind that there are a number of different seal systems in use and while some of them will be reuseable (to a greater or lesser degree), some of them will not be reuseable when cut into.

TheNiceGuy gave good instructions for opening and resealing an IG unit. I would personally not recommend it, but if anyone wants to try it then follow his instructions and be very careful.

Last edited by oberon; 09-10-2008 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:19 AM   #55
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


I own a house that was built in 1992 and the windows started fogging about 5 years ago. This summer I finally started to address the issue and was hoping I might be able to repair them myself. The sash's are wood and the exterior of the sash is wrapped in aluminum. The IGU's are held into the sash with vinyl moldings that lock into grooves cut into the perimeter of the sash. Using a couple of putty knives, I was able to release the moldings, remove all 4 of them and then remove the IGU. The bedding "glaze" used for the IGU is a clear, non-hardening type of glaze, so the IGU's came out easily once the vinyl trim was removed.

To start, I cut open one of the IGU's and tried to remove the calcium deposits on the glass. I tried various fine-grade rubbing compounds with an electric buffer, but I was only able to remove about 70% of the calcium etching. Unless you have a glass buffing set-up (which run $200-300), forget about cleaning the old glass. Even if you get the calcium spots off, the glass underneath them is etched or frosted. Unless the etching is buffed out, the window will still appear slightly cloudy.

You can buy new glass of course, so that was my next course of action. Glass comes in various grades for windows. There is clear, low E, bronze tinted, etc. You want to try and buy glass that will match the rest of your windows. Mine was clear and two pieces of clear glass in a standard window size runs about $20.

After I cut the old glass off the IGU spacers and cleaned the butyl off the spacers and glass, I found that two of the spacers are filled with molecular sieves (a desiccant). This is used to absorb any moisture that is in the air when the IGU is assembled and to absorb any moisture that might leak in when the IGU starts to fail. You can buy new desiccant (it runs about $30 for 5 lbs - enough to do all the windows on your block) or you can dry the old desiccant (and hope it's microscopic pores are not clogged with minerals) and reuse it. I dried mine in an oven set on warm, then put it in an air tight container after it cooled.

When ready to assemble, I reloaded the spacers with desiccant and prepared my new glass for assembly. You'll find new glass is filthy and since the inside surfaces are forever encapsulated and unaccessible once assembled, these surfaces have to be perfectly clean before hand. In factories where IGU's are built, this is accomplished in a clean room by an automated glass cleaning machine. In my basement this is accomplished by windex and a lint-free cloth. Each surface has to cleaned at least 3 times to get the glass perfectly clean. Even so, there will be some lint particles that will find their way into the IGU, but that's about the best your going to do under the circumstances. After cleaning the glass I carefully positioned the IGU spacer frame on the glass, set the other piece of glass on top of the spacer and clamped the IGU "sandwich" with spring clamps.

When choosing an adhesive to seal the IGU with, I decided that automotive windshield urethane would be best. In IGU factories though, Butyl rubber is used. Butyl is a solid at room temperature, and so in order to apply it (and to help it stick tenaciously to the glass), the butyl is heated and pressure-fed through a "gun" directly into the outer space between the glass and spacer. These heated butyl set-ups cost around $5000, so windshield urethane seemed more cost effective in my situation. I cleaned the outer glass edges and spacer with alcohol and when it dried, caulked the cavity between the spacer and glass edge with urethane. I used a putty knife to smooth the filled cavity flush with the outer edges of the glass. The finished result looked pretty good, but when it dried I found I could easily peel the urethane from the inner glass surface. Auto windshields have a black primer applied to their outer edge and this surface allows the urethane to stick to the glass. Apparently, urethane won't stick very well to plain glass and so my "experimental project" was unsuitable for use as an IGU.

At this point I called around to a couple of glass shops and priced out some new, factory made IGU's. They were around $63 per sash or about $130 per window (for my 22" x 28" IGU's - prices vary by size). You can buy an inexpensive, new vinyl window at Home Depot for about $150, although the quality of these windows might be an issue. Next I did some more research and found some local "factories" where IGU's are made. Some will deal with the general public and their prices are $48 for each sash or about $100 per window. These are the factories where the glass shops get their IGU's made. The glass shops mark up the price, so if you can find an IGU factory in your area, this is where you will find the cheapest price. $100 per window for the 8 windows in my small house seems like a fair deal to me. When you compare that to the price and labor for a new window it's a no-brainer (as long as your sash and frames are OK). When compared to the price of rebuilding your existing IGU's (provided you can find a method that would perform as well as a new IGU) it's only about 30-40% more. At this point in my project, this seems like a bargain.

Rebuilding your own IGU's may be feasible, but there are many pitfalls along the way and the cost savings may not be what you think, especially when you figure in all the aggravation. You basically have to educate yourself on how IGU's are commercially manufactured and then try and duplicate that in your own shop. Getting the right kind of glass cut to the exact size, cleaning the glass surfaces, dealing with whether to use new desiccant or not and finding a suitable adhesive to seal the unit are some of the more difficult issues.

I hope my post has helped some of you with your IGU issues and I wish you good luck with your own IGU projects.

Last edited by sreynolds1977; 09-10-2008 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:40 AM   #56
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


So I bought a $5 1/4inch grinder bit (for glass/tile) for my dremel and slowly ...about 15 minutes drilled a hole at top and bottom of my double pane window. Went well...paused every few to let stuff cool down. Just a little powder glass dust to clean up. Go slow when finishing cause the glass tends too flake at the exit side. Nice smooth hole.
Will try the waterpick alcohol cleaning soon.
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:48 PM   #57
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


Has anyone tried pulling a vacumn on the area between the panes with a HVAC pump? The lower pressure will boil off the water as it does when evacuating AC line sets.
What about driling the spacer?
I have several fogged tempered (can not drill) panes from a sun room headed for solar hot air collectors, they were easy enough to disassemble, but I am concerned with the moisture on reassembly.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:56 PM   #58
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


http://www.gore.com/en_xx/products/v...cut_parts.html

We use them in a screw in format to keep our sealed enclosures (avionics applications) from trapping moisture..

Seems like they would be perfect to seal over hole, allowing airspace to naturally vent...they allow vapors to pass freely but prevent liquids etc...

Will try and contact our rep this week to get samples. I am a ways away from drilling holes but will gladly send a few over to someone as a trial..

They look suspiciously the same as some franchisers are using....\

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Old 11-24-2008, 11:30 PM   #59
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


Interesting thread. I am going to have to try it with some of the windows of a house I just bought that I am planning on renting out.

I am wondering if, instead of drilling through the glass itself, maybe I can try drilling at an angle through the window frame next to where the glass is, and have the drill hole go into the channel between the panes of glass.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:52 PM   #60
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"Defogging" double-pane windows .... a gimmick??


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Originally Posted by NJLJ View Post
Interesting thread. I am going to have to try it with some of the windows of a house I just bought that I am planning on renting out.

I am wondering if, instead of drilling through the glass itself, maybe I can try drilling at an angle through the window frame next to where the glass is, and have the drill hole go into the channel between the panes of glass.

This should work just the same, what you are trying to do here is ventilate the space between the 2 panes...let us know how u make out this should be a lot easier than the glass drilling.


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