Usually a seal can be repaired, but only by a professional glazier. Doing it yourself is not likely to go well; odds are you will not fully complete the seal and will end up back where you started, but with a lot less time on your hands.
Increasingly, it’s cheaper to just replace the whole window! Windows are often pre-fabricated in factories with precision equipment. This gives new window seals an amazing level of quality that is hard for individual craftsmen to replicate.
How to Know if a Seal is Broken
The biggest sign of a broken seal is condensation between the panes. Factories use de-humidifiers to make sure that the air between panes is ultra-dry to prevent heat transfer. When the seal fails, moisture gets inside the window.
You can also tell if a seal has failed by touching the glass. If it is colder than usual, considering the weather outside, it is possible that the seal has failed. Keep monitoring the glass in different weather and see if it no longer insulates.
How Seals are Repaired
If you just applied an adhesive to make the seal airtight again, you would still have the problem of moisture inside the window. That’s why you need a professional.
A professional glazier will fix a seal by installing a valve and pump. These will remove the moist air from between the two panes. Then, the glazier will apply a new seal.
If you have an argon or inert-gas window, this will be more complicated. These windows will almost always need to be sent back to the factory to be re-filled, as very few glaziers will have the equipment necessary to fill a window with gas.
Replacing a seal is good for the environment, because it prevents perfectly good glass from going to waste. However, it’s not always the best option for your pocketbook.
In most cases, it would be cheaper to just replace the entire window with a brand-new model right from the factory. You could also use this opportunity to upgrade your windows to more reliable or insulated models.
Checking a Warranty
Seals are usually covered by warranty. At Clera, we provide a lifetime warranty against seal failure. If your seal failed by itself, call your windows professionals and we will replace it for free.