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Is it possible to "defog" a double-paned window instead of replacing?

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Window Defogging

Window Defogging - Defog Window

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Question: Is it possible to "defog" a double-paned window instead of replacing?
Yes. Windows are a real big deal here at About Home Renovations. Replacement windows are jaw-droppingly expensive. It's like the replacement window industry wants to make sure that you need to take out a second mortgage just for new windows. Is there a cheaper alternative? I'm always obsessed with finding one. So, it's surprising to me that I hadn't spent much time exploring another option called "window defogging."
Answer: Simply put, I despise the Pella-Andersen-Marvin juggernaut. Why must the answer to all window problems be to call up Pella, replace every single window in your house, landfill 25 windows, and go broke in the process?

It's not. You can:

The Window Defogging Industry

Yes, it's an industry unto itself--mind you, a small industry. It's more prevalent in areas where double- and triple-paned windows are common. Companies like Window Defoggers bore tiny holes in the IGUs (insulated glass units), spray cleaning solutions inside, let the solutions dry up, and then install vents in those holes.

Holes in Your Windows

Don't be alarmed by the holes in the IGUs. First, these are tiny holes (2mm). Second, your insulated glass units never were completely air-tight in the first place. Surprised?

Well, don't be. Your sealed windows have always had venting properties. There is no way that 100% sealed glass units would stand up to the pressures of solar heating and subsequent cooling. You mean to say that the Pella salesman didn't tell you that?

Lost Krypton and Argon Gas

One caveat to all this. You may ask, "What about my nice expensive Argon or Krypton gas?" Well, that Krypton gas goes the way of Superman...up in the air and away. Never to be seen again.

Personally, I have always been dubious about the value of those gases. Do they slow the transmission of energy? Yes. But Argon and Krypton have become almost like "voodoo" sales language, whereby the big window companies try to spook you into these upgrades or else.

Anyway, rant aside, Window Defoggers quite fairly points out that by the time your window gets fogged up, the seal has already failed and the gas is long gone. So, the window defogging (and drilling of holes) does not release these gases.

Cost of Window Defogging

Window Defoggers says that their process "usually costs 1/2 to 1/3 of the cost of window replacement." On the face of it, that sounds pretty good. But then you think again--half of window replacement? Window replacement is expensive. Does this mean that the $14,000 window replacement quote is "only" $7,000 with a window defogger?

After all, replacing the glass portion of your double-paned window is much cheaper than a full window replacement. How competitive are window defoggers in comparison to glaziers who can replace the glass? That's not an answer I have right now, but I will try to update you as soon as I have more information.

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