Everyone wants crystal clear, clean windows in Cedar City, Utah. Us too! We love when a window is absolutely filthy and we can come in and make it look brand new. Having clean windows totally changes the ambience of a home or office. More natural light is let in giving plenty of energy and positive vibes for all to feel. Having clean windows improves moods, increases productivity, and allows focus to be better directed.
This one may be obvious. Once the glass is broken the only fix is to replace the glass or often the entire window. Sometimes the pane itself can be replaced, but often the whole window has to be replaced. A lot of this has to do with the seals and the gas layer that fills the void between double paned windows. When the glass breaks it also breaks the seal as air and moisture will move in to the space between the panes. Broken glass is also dangerous because it could shatter or be on the ground inside or outside of the home. The best fix for a broken window is to have it replaced as soon as possible.
A Broken Seal (aka Failed Seal)
Dual paned windows are made up of two sheets of glass, usually about 1/8 of an inch apart with a rubber seal around the entire piece. Standard air is vacuumed out of this void and it is filled with an inert gas such as argon or krypton. These are non-toxic gasses that aid in both temperature and sound insulation. The gas is odorless and colorless and most people don’t even know it is there until it is gone. Should the rubber seal ever break or be punctured, or one of the panes of glass break, then this airtight seal is broken and the gas escapes. The void is then filled with standard atmospheric air and moisture and before long the window will look cloudy or hazy. It appears similar to a hard water mineral buildup but is different. It is not cleanable and the only fix is to replace the entire window.
Hard Water Mineral Buildup and Etching
This is one of the most common window cleaning problems in Southern Utah, because local water is so “hard”, meaning it has a high concentration of minerals. We often see 200-500 parts per million (ppm) in local water. When water from hoses, lawn irrigation systems, or even other splatter come in contact with the glass, these minerals are left on the glass when the water evaporates. Over time the buildup can become so thick the glass becomes opaque and one can hardly see through the window. We often see this as an off white, yellow, or rust orange color. With chemicals and a lot of elbow grease, most hard water can be removed off of the glass. However, in some instances the buildup is so thick that it can either not all be removed, or that it has actually chemically etched (carved into) the glass leaving irreparable damage. While this doesn’t present the same dangers as a broken window, it is definitely unsightly and prohibits light from entering through the window.
Glass is fairly soft. It can be scratched very easily during construction, routine cleaning, or during regular life. While some small scratches can be “buffed out” most cannot. Buffing out scratches basically means that the area around the scratch is sanded down to match the scratch, hence making it less visible. The problem being that the window is now thinner and has an uneven thickness. If scratches are deeper or cover a larger portion of the glass then often window replacement is the only option as regular window cleaning will not repair a scratch in the glass. To avoid scratches, avoid cleaning windows with rags or towels of any sort. The best practices are profession scrubbers and squeegees or a purified water fed cleaning method. (Both of which are offered by Everything Exterior should you be interested 😉).
We clean windows for local builders once the new home or commercial building is complete and ready for clean windows before move in. It is not super common, but common enough that we see a few times a year where glass comes from the manufacture with imperfections. This is a lot more likely if glass is tinted or has a “Low E” coating as the application of either is generally to blame. We recommend checking all window glass very well upon occupancy of a new build to make sure that the windows are perfect.
Although the above issues are not fun, they aren’t the end of the world. Believe it or not, people live with window imperfections every day. The best prevention is to keep your windows clean to ensure that hardwater doesn’t buildup and to protect the seals from rotting. We hope this information helps and if you’d like to have us take care of any of these problems for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out.