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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default 'fogged' double pane windows

    Newbie here, thought you guys might know something I could not find on the web.

    35 Year old insulated glass windows have become 'fogged' (actually etched)

    tried to clean them by heating, slitting open the seal, then cleaning the insides, with the intent to reseal with butyl or polysulfide.

    On attempting to clean, discovered that the class was actually etched ! Close inspection with magnification showed a surface with a pebbled appearance like a 1/10 scale basketball.

    Question: what mechanism causes the etching?

    Best found on the web so far was it could be an enzyme. The brand of the windows was Fentron (must be out of business, cannot find window maker by that name on net)

    Since they are etched, found some free glass on craigslist and got that and used existing spacers and butyl to repair windows.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Great Falls, Montana
    Posts
    374

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    I would say it is time for some new windows and suggest you talk to your local glass shop on what might meet yor needs. Oh by the way this forum is for those that are in the trades and not homeowners. Good luck.
    Randy
    ________________________________________________

    The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    3,833

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Randy
    On the building science portion of the forums we have been a little more accommodating of this type of conversation.
    We have been able to address and advise on some problems that have educated the masses that choose to participate.
    Mark Parlee
    BESI(building envelope science institute) Envelope Inspector
    EDI Certified EIFS Inspector/Moisture Analyst/Quality Control/Building Envelope II
    Level one thermagrapher (Snell Training)
    www.thebuildingconsultant.com
    www.parleebuilders.com
    You build to code, code is the minimum to pass this test. Congratulations your grade is a D-

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    3,833

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Sheder

    Pictures help a lot; remember a picture is worth a thousand words or it will at least get the request for more pictures.
    Most of the insulated glass from that long ago is next to worthless from the seals no longer able to seal and contamination of pollutants and any gas that was in the space is gone.
    It could be better to consider replacement than repair but you have to make that decision.

    Give us a first name and location so we know what climate we are dealing with.
    Mark Parlee
    BESI(building envelope science institute) Envelope Inspector
    EDI Certified EIFS Inspector/Moisture Analyst/Quality Control/Building Envelope II
    Level one thermagrapher (Snell Training)
    www.thebuildingconsultant.com
    www.parleebuilders.com
    You build to code, code is the minimum to pass this test. Congratulations your grade is a D-

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Portland, ME
    Posts
    6,302

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Quote Originally Posted by sheder View Post
    Question: what mechanism causes the etching?
    This is the only question he asked.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    3,833

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Dan
    You are correct.
    Defensive mode sure can come up quick sometimes.

    35 year old glass and not knowing what contaminates the glass was exposed could be a lot of guesswork.
    Mark Parlee
    BESI(building envelope science institute) Envelope Inspector
    EDI Certified EIFS Inspector/Moisture Analyst/Quality Control/Building Envelope II
    Level one thermagrapher (Snell Training)
    www.thebuildingconsultant.com
    www.parleebuilders.com
    You build to code, code is the minimum to pass this test. Congratulations your grade is a D-

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    midwestish
    Posts
    7,294

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Don't forget to evacuate the unit and to add new desiccant. Glass could have a mineral build up and/or be physically etched. Mechanism would be blown seal adds moisture, temp causes condensation which causes surface deposits which build and can, given time, chemically 'etch'. Read up on static and dynamic aqueous corrosion [of glass].
    “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
    ~ Meriwether Lewis

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    2,452

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Suckers only last about 25 years before the dessicant is all used up. And pulling them apart and putting them back together will accomplish nothing. You will have sealed moisture inside which will fog all over again. The etching may be a coating that was put on the glass originally. Time for new IGUs (insuated glass units)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    What is 'evacuate' have to do with insulated glass.

    To ans. one query for details, am in Seattle area, all shade, mostly the windows on the south side went first, even though very little direct sun.

    Dessicant: have taken apart maybe 10 different brand old insulated glass back before alum scrap prices when high and you could pick them up free off craigslist, etc. NEVER saw any dessicant in ahy type of insulated glass.

    I have taken apart patio doors and cleaned them successfully (maybe were chemically treated like some car windows vs. thermal tempering?) as they were a simple condensate and not etched. Those have lasted over 25 years with polysulfide sealant and purged with dry nitrogen during sealing, even did a couple with my argon bottle for welding.

    FWIW - the chances of me contacting somebody to replace windows is probably 4 orders of magnitude lower than getting a correct answer, or 10,000 times greater than the intelligence of the person who suggested that <G>

    So, back to a corrolary of the original question:
    anybody know anything about chemistry of glass??

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    3,833

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Quote Originally Posted by sheder View Post
    What is 'evacuate' have to do with insulated glass.

    FWIW - the chances of me contacting somebody to replace windows is probably 4 orders of magnitude lower than getting a correct answer, or 10,000 times greater than the intelligence of the person who suggested that <G>
    not entirely sure how to take this reply.

    I tried to stick up for you in my first post and you seem to be trying to bite the hand of friendship.

    please clarify

    The ones that we have dialoged and helped out in the past did not come back with a seemingly idiotic reply. NW is suggesting replacement as did I; this is based on your description of things and us trying to help you out.
    Mark Parlee
    BESI(building envelope science institute) Envelope Inspector
    EDI Certified EIFS Inspector/Moisture Analyst/Quality Control/Building Envelope II
    Level one thermagrapher (Snell Training)
    www.thebuildingconsultant.com
    www.parleebuilders.com
    You build to code, code is the minimum to pass this test. Congratulations your grade is a D-

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Branford, CT 06405
    Posts
    3,664

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Insulated glass used to mean an air space; it has no bearing on today's performance IGUs.

    Mark
    That is why I usually don't answer any post where the profile does not apply. When someone expects the dessicant to pour out like sand once the seal is opened tells me all I need to know!
    Take Care

    Jim

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    midwestish
    Posts
    7,294

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Quote Originally Posted by sheder View Post
    What is 'evacuate' have to do with insulated glass.

    So, back to a corrolary of the original question:
    anybody know anything about chemistry of glass??
    Not a thing. Please purge that and any talk of desiccant from memory as they obviously have no use here.
    “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
    ~ Meriwether Lewis

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    2,452

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    sheder has burned his bridges as far as I'm concerned. Bye bye.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Martinez, California
    Posts
    14,934

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    If I remember Fentron windows were a cheap aluminum window manufacturer in Oakland or San Leandro in the 50s or 60s, maybe it'll come back to me if I think about it, but I haven't heard of them for years. Many of those cheap aluminum window manufacturers tried to modify their frames to accept dual pane in the late 70s, they were a failure as the added weight destroyed the frames, I know I installed some of them and have had to replace them.
    “It is not an endlessly expanding list of rights —the “right” to an education; the “right” to health care; the “right” to food and housing. That is not freedom. That is dependency. Those are not rights. Those are the rations of slavery – hay and a barn for human cattle.” - Alexis de Tocqueville

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Portland, ME
    Posts
    6,302

    Default Re: 'fogged' double pane windows

    Quote Originally Posted by NW Architect View Post
    sheder has burned his bridges as far as I'm concerned. Bye bye.
    They were probably cheap aluminum bridges anyway. At least the fire desiccated them.

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