One of the windows in my new apartment has moisture between the
surfaces of the lower pane. There appears to be a lot of water in
there -- enough to form a film over nearly the entire pane, which is
thick enough to interfere with the view outside.
I researched this and learned that the moisture is caused by a leak in
the sealed space between the surfaces, which has allowed the
insulating gas to escape and water vapor to enter. The only solution
to this is supposed to be to replace the pane.
My research did not tell me what to do if I'm renting and the required
replacement must be done by the landlord. I have spoken to the
property manager about this, but she evidently has never encountered
the situation before, and has no idea how serious it is. Come to
that, neither do I. What is it, really: a mere nuisance, or a
potentially serious failure?
I assume that any problems caused by the moisture will appear in the
winter. I'm in Chicago, where temperatures are mostly below freezing
for about three months, and annual minimums of about -15°F are common.
The issues are:
1 - It looks like hell
2 - The energy efficiency of the window is shot and it will waste a lot
more energy than a window with a proper seal, which should be a concern
in your area.
3 - With very cold temps and poor insulation, you will get condensation
on the inside. Depending on where this accumulates, it can destroy
paint, window sills, etc.
The only solution is to replace it.
It is a nuisance and it reduces the insulating ability of the window.
In any case, I would consider it something that any landlord should be
replacing. You did rent with the expectations of being able to see out your
windows did you not?
get enough water in there and cold winter feeze the window can actually
There are local glass shops that you take the window out, they are
usually easily removed, early in the AM by late afternoon they replace
the sealed unit its not expensive had a couple replaced for about a
hundred bucks. there are also window companies who visit and measure
the glass, return later and install the new sealed unit.
its no biggie at all, just a nuisance the screws holding the frame
together rust and can be a nuisance to get lose
She's bullshitting you of course. She'd have to have been blind from
birth not to have ever seen a fogged up double pane window and know that
they are abhorrent to look at (or through.)
You are stuck in a typical tenant landlord situation where the landlord
will probably drag his/her heels forever and it may just be less
painfull for you to pay a glass company to replace the sealed unit and
get on with life.
I'd send the landlord a letter requesting replacement of the window and
if they don't get to it in a month, then have it done yourself, keep the
receipt, and when you eventually move out you can decide whether it
would be worth your time and trouble taking the landlord to small claims
court to recover what you spent. That's assuming the statute of
limitations for such things in your state didn't run out by then.
Just my .02,
The windows might very well be No Argon, it is common in Chicago for
lanlords to buy Non Argon. Even if it was Argon filled you are talking
about a window size and only reducing the R value by 1R. Now do a
payback on 1R 1 window glass. It will be maybe 40 years. And can you
prove that 60% of the Argon does not remain, No, you will loose in
Please do not take offense at this: you have no basis for making that
statement, and you are entirely mistaken. The landlord and property
manager have both been extremely cooperative in other respects, and I
have no reason to suspect either one of dragging her heels, feet, or
any other body parts.
For example, I pointed out a dead tree on the property that the
property manager was not aware of, and yesterday she had tree cutters
come out and take it down. She even called me in advance to let me
know when they would do the work.
Please take my original statement at face value: the property manager
probably has not encountered this situation before, and simply does
not know how to evaluate it, any more than I do.
I suggested to her that we have her repair person look at the window
when he comes out here to work on other problems. (I gave her a
fairly extensive list, and she has indicated that I should expect most
of them to be approved.) The responses to my question here have gone
all over the lot, so that is probably the best approach.
No offense taken.
My cynicism got the better of me, and I'm happy to apologize for jumping
to that conclusion and defer to your judgement of the person you're
It's been at least 40 years since We've lived in a rented apartment, so
I could be out of date too. But, we've been renting office space in a
number of different buildings for the past 30 years and I can't say that
our landlords in those places have been very responsive about requests
to take care of little problems.
Ex: I called our present landlord's office three weeks ago to report
that the drain in the middle of the floor in the men's room on our level
had lost it's slotted cover plate and there was a 3" hole there just
waiting to catch someone's heel and perhaps cause a skull cracking fall.
So far nothing's been done.
The urinal in that same men's room has had an extremely slow drain for
all of the nine years we've been in the building, it's either limed up
or otherwise restricted and it would overflow onto the floor if the
flush valve hung open. The landlord's solution was to throttle down the
valve ahead of the flush valve so that just a trickle comes out when
it's open, not hardly enough to flush stuff away, so there's always
"yellow water" in it with an accompanying smell.
You may well live in a kindler and gentler part of the country, but here
in Red Sox Nation it's every man for himself, and I don't expect too
much satisfaction from a landlord over stuff like that. I live with it
and don't get my shorts in a knot, but I can't help noticing that it's
not the way I was brought up to treat others.
I was a landlord for many years. A common residential rental lease
does not allow tenants to do work on their rental without permission
from the landlord. You (the tenant) could actually be evicted or even
sued by the landlord for doing it without their consent, even if you
paid for the work. Or, more likely the landlord will say thank you
for doing the repair and you wont get a cent.
When I leased, I used the standard lease, but I wrote that tenants
could do minor repairs if they chose, but NOT if the cost of the part
was more than $25. I even told them that I would reimburse the cost
of the part if they gave me the receipt along with their rent payment.
That was usually to my advantage because it eliminated all those
aggravating calls for minor things such as a loose door hinge,
dripping faucet washer, bad toilet flapper, etc.
If the repair was major and/or costly, they had to contact me first.
So, I got these tenants that decided that the were going to do
whatever they wanted. The said the hot water was not hot as it used
to be. They claimed they called me and got my answering machine.
That's possible, but they never left a message. Instead they replaced
the electric water heater without notifying me. Not only did they
replace it, but they bought the most expensive 50 gallon tank they
could get to replace the 30 gallon tank that I had just installed
about 2 years ago.
If this 2 year old heater needed anything, it may have needed a new
element, which is entirely possible. I would have happily gone there
and replaced the element at a cost of $20 for parts. Instead, they
bought a $400 water heater. In the process they ripped out half the
copper piping in the basement and replaced it with pvc pipe, because
they claimed they could not solder the old pipe. The total for
materials was almost $600, and they wanted an additional $500 for
their labor. I should mention that their monthly rent was $450. So
they said they would just not pay any rent for the next two and a half
I told them that if they did not pay their rent, I'd be happy to send
them an eviction notice, but I told them they could deduct the amount
of $20 which is what an element costs, and gave them the name of the
store where I priced it. They claimed that there was something else
wrong with the heater. That's when I stuck their lease in their face
and made them read the part about tenants not being allowed to do
their own repairs if the cost of parts exceeds $25. They were angry
about it, but they paid their rent minus the $20, after I told them
that I can not test the old heater since they disconnected it. That I
did not want a 50 gallon tank, and that I really dislike pvc pipe, and
if they wanted to push the issue, I'd sue them for wrecking my copper
pipe without permission.
Just for the heck of it, I took the old water heater to my shop. I
filled it with a garden hose and wired it to my breaker box. There
was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Apparently they just wanted a
bigger water heater and thought they'd get away with this. Their
expensive water heater stayed in that house when I sold the place.
The so called "defective" heater was reused in another house, and is
still working today.
Depending on how the glazing failed, there are services that may be
able to repair it in place for considerably less than the cost of
replacement, for example:
others will be listed in the Yellow Pages.
You landlord may be more willing to fix this if he or she is aware
there may be a lower cost option than complete replacement.
Paragon Home Inspection, LLC
I have stretched an extra year or so out of fogged up double glazed
windows by drilling a few 1/4" holes through the outer pane at its very
bottom, using a glass drill bit in a hand electric drill, with a steady
The double glazing will still supply a good amount of thermal
insulation. Remember, we got by with "storm windows" for a long time
before "Thermopane" hit the market, and they sure weren't "sealed".
It is truly a hack way to repair them, but the fog will go away. However
scum and film will deposit on the inside of the glass sooner or later
and look lousy.
Drilling holes appears to be the similar to the way the site you
referenced does it, though they mention some sort of "valve" they put in
the hole. Maybe that's similar to the ones on those foil coffee bean
bags, it lets air out, but not in.
I've seen recommendations about drilling holes, injecting some
silica gel (you know, the stuff in little packets they put
in the packaging for electronics), and sealing the pane up again
with silicone caulk.
I'm sure it works if you use enough "unused or regenerated" silica
gel, but unless you've sealed the original leak, it only delays
As long as you don't have significant air circulation through
the holes, it'll still have the same thermal insulation value
(at least when compared to thermopane that doesn't have argon
or the like). Basic air-filled thermopane has been around a lot
longer than the new-fangled argon/et. al. filled versions.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
It's primarily a cosmetic issue. You might be losing an insignificant
bit of insulation value, or it _might_ in rare circumstances be
symptomatic of something wrong with the frame (eg: the frame is
being twisted or compressed) but other than that, it's just a nuisance.
Having someone who understands window installations check the window
out may be a good idea. Eg: for glass warping (frame stress on
thermopane), or visible cracks. If you do have glass warping,
having someone check out the framing would be a good idea.
From your other posting, the landlord seems like the good sort, and
will replace it simply because of their pride in their building,
tenant relations or whatever.
Except in _extreme_ circumstances, the worst that will happen is
the condensation inside the window turns to frost. The amount
of moisture is very small (hence won't fracture the thermopane)
almost entirely isolated from anything that can be damaged by
water (glass and aluminum perimeter), and doesn't really indicate
It's certainly not an emergency/habitability issue.
Researching non-replacement options and mentioning them to the
building management is the responsible thing to do, just mention
that they're unlikely to be permanent. Management may choose
to delay full replacement til a more opportune time, and keeping
good relations may include accepting such a compromise.
[In other words, if building management was otherwise good, I'd
not make a big stink out of it. Think of it on the same level
as repainting the lobby because of a couple of minor scuff marks.]
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
Ok, Mr. Cheapfix here.
1. hairdryer perched to blow on pane for a couple of hours to
force out moisture. Allow to cool thoroughly before next step to ensure
you get it all out.
2. Try to find origin of leak, apply silicone caulk as
suggested by someone else.
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