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harrisski

Fogged Double Pane Windows

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I have been a residential window and glass contractor for many years and have been approached from several people about working on their motor homes with this issue. I have been researching this for several months and am getting ready to start doing this. I have my own theory of what should be done to resolve this. I have spoken with many glass experts and along with my knowledge we agree that going the route of repairing the insulated glass is a mistake. In a few years the same thing will happen again. These windows are put together in a controlled environment when they are made new, so therefore if they are repaired in an open shop, they will do it again. I will be replacing the insulated glass with laminated glass, therefore there will never be fogging issues again, and not much difference in the price from repairing using your old glass. There will be very little difference in efficiency.

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Steve,

Welcome to the Forum.

Are you talking about the same type of Glass (laminated) that they used to have in Autos? I always thought that the reason for double pane windows was insulation. If you are talking about two sheets of glass with the film in between I am not sure there would be much insulation.

Let me know if I am misinformed.

Thanks

Herman

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Yes, the glass that you have is 1/8" glass 3/16" space 1/8" glass which is very little insulated space. It would be 1/4" laminated glass like your windshield glass. Most new rv's have single pane glass. Most camping is done in good weather, and full timers usually follow good weather. There will be very little noticeable difference and stop a recurring problem. One person that approached me has an Alpha with 14 windows and all are fogged. To replace the windows it would cost around $9,000.00, and to repair the insulated glass would be about $2,800.00 and this motor home will have this problem again. To replace with laminated glass would be about $3,600.00 and never have this problem again.

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Steve,

Do you have a reference to a website that compares insulating qualities of these various options:

Single pane "regular" glass

Thermopane

Laminated glass

Any significant difference in weight or other considerations?

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I will search for this information and post it. I know what kind of problem this is from my research. The companies that are repairing the insulated glass are for the most part giving a 2 year warranty because that is all they feel comfortable giving. I would never put someone's business down, that is not my reasoning. I can repair the insulated glass just like anyone else. If the window company experts are having this much of a problem getting it right, then repairing is not a good long term solution.

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If you don't mind I need just a few details. You should have about 13 windows that contain 1 to 3 pieces of insulated glass in each window. Are they all fogged? You should have several that slide side to side or up and down. On one of your sliders, check the overall thickness of the glass, it should be 7/16". What area are you from? I am in Mt. Juliet, TN, which is just East of Nashville.

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IMHO

Steve:

If you replace the double pane glass with laminated glass, when you sell the Coach you will need to disclose the change and take the accelerated depreciation, or face a lawsuit for the cost of the next owner going back to the proper double pane glass.

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IMHO

Steve:

If you replace the double pane glass with laminated glass, when you sell the Coach you will need to disclose the change and take the accelerated depreciation, or face a lawsuit for the cost of the next owner going back to the proper double pane glass.

Actually, if the R value is even close to the same and there are no other negatives (as I asked above), this could be a selling feature. Many know that double pane windows are a "failure waiting to happen".

That is why I would be interested in the differences in R value, weight, etc.

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This is a safety item, re the driver and passenger windows and arguably the one behind the passenger (if one is installed).

Take it from the voice of experience: three iterations down the road (fogged, versus reglazed with tint and now reglazed without tint film), I'm ashamed to say I waited so long. HUGE difference in my ability to both drive and park.

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I will find out all of these questions and post what I find out as quickly as I can. Hopefully within the next few days.

Thanks for all of the questions because I am really interested in doing this.

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I called Duncan Glass today and they told me that they repair insulated glass and only give a one year warranty. She told me that is all they will do, maybe someone did it behind the scene. I have heard of another car window company doing that and they glued the glass to the frame.

I will be using a new rubber spacer that I have already contacted someone about custom making for me. Duncan Glass also charges $325.00 for the first window and $275.00 for every window thereafter to repair the insulated glass.

The R value for clear laminated glass 1/4" thick is about 1.15, for insulated glass that is 1/8"-3/16"air space-1/8" which your motor home should have is about 1.6.

Laminated glass also reduces noise level.

The weight should be about the same because you will have a total glass thickness of 1/4" on both units. Again, the fog problem will never be an issue again. I am getting ready to order all of the materials to start doing this, I have several people in my area that are waiting on me to get started.

Please, if you have any other questions, just ask.

Thanks,

Steve

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Steve,

Thanks for researching this.

Now, the real question-- why have so many manufacturers been using double pane windows, given their high failure rate if the advantages are not overwhelming?

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I would assume for the sales advantage, because that is so important in a house. A house does not have the extreme temperature change and movement. A house has a larger air space, about 1/2" to 3/4", which increases your R value to about 2.5 to 2.75. More air to heat or cool. In my opinion, bad idea. Part of the reason that Alfa went under.

I will assume they will get better at this just like the housing market did, but that doesn't help what is already out in the market.

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Been watching this thread and looking at who and how they repair the double pane windows for a number of years, called some of the window suppliers for information on, if there windows are made in house or subcontracted. There is a little of both with some going back to in house production.

I have been given explanations to the reasons for there failure, many that do not hold water in my case. The reason being that I have 14 double pane windows in our coach and not a one has fogged, an the coach is 12 years old.

Considering the year it was built and the number of windows that have failed in many of the later coaches, was there a change in the sealants used to bond the two pans together due to EPA involvement. Like requiring chemical changes in the bonding material to meet newer standards.

I do try very hard to keep the window slides and seals clean, but half of the glass is stationary and does not slide; so this to my way of thinking is a none issue.

That being the case, taking temperature, vibration and structural motion out of the equation in my case, the only real variable is the sealant or assembly process changes.

Rich.

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My coach is 10 years old. I have had two fogged windows, (driver's side and door) and both were pretty definitely caused by too much pressure from a high pressure washer, concentrated at the wrong spot for too much time. I discovered Water droplets between the panes immediately after this wash job. They were repaired 3 years ago by Sun Coast Designers in Hudson, FL and are holding up very well.

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I also used Suncoast Designers in Hudson, Fl. Called them on Labor Day and they told me to bring it in, when I got there they had 5 slots left for repair work, 3 days later got the call to pick it back up. They cleaned everything, and we are very glad we called them.

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OK, I e-mailed Brent Watson, V.P. Operations for Duncan Systems Inc. one of the larger companies specializing in repairing RV double pane windows for his comment on this thread.

With his permission, I am posting his reply:

Hi Brett,

Sorry for the delay. I’ve been on the road all week and am just returning.

In response, we all know the benefits of insulated windows in fixed structures. The benefits are very much the same in RV’s. The issue is that an RV is nomadic by nature. Several factors are at play.

Drastic, rapid temperature and elevation(pressure) changes, vibration, flexing and inadequate manufacturing all lead to seal failure. Seal failure results in condensation forming between the two panes of glass, creating the “fogging” appearance. The quickest and most cost-effective remedy is the repair process. The window is extracted, all components are removed, a new seal is applied and the window is essentially rebuilt. I’ve seen individual DYI kits offered, but haven’t sampled any of these products so I can’t speak to their quality. If repairing, a word of warning, new or reconditioned, the issue can and likely will resurface. Our aftermarket “spacer” product accommodates more flex than what most window manufacturers utilize, but is not guaranteed for the lifetime of the window. If an RV is equipped with insulated glass units, it’s very likely the issue will surface. It’s my opinion that until window manufacturers produce a window capable of accommodating all of the issues previously mentioned, insulated units are a poor option in RV’s. Until then, we offer fogged window repair in all of Duncan Systems locations. Please call or visit our website for more information. See below.

I hope this helps.

Brent Watson

Vice President of Operations

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That is why I am going with a different approach. Why go with what is apparently not working. Efficiency is not quite as good, I agree with that, but the expense of a reoccurring problem is ridiculous.

I personally would rather give a permanent fix over a possible temporary fix.

I guess everyone has their own approach. I want to give a different approach.

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Just had our driver's side window repaired at Suncoast Designers in Hudson, FL. Very pleased with the results and the whole experience was great. They have E/W hook up sites, while you wait and a dump station to use on the way out. In and out in a day.

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In my 98 Beaver, I had to fix 15 out of 20 double pane windows, as the seals had crept away from the corners and were unsightly. None had gone foggy, 13 years after installation. I don't expect to see any failures while I own this coach, whether that is for a short time or a long time, as I am satisfied that the repair was well done and will last.

Those who think it is unwise to repair something that has failed, as it will fail only again are "glass half empty" people to the max.

I have, in the past two years, replaced all of the double pane windows in my house, after over 30 years, due to failed seals. I was able to get a much better quality window in 2011 than existed when the house was built, so I have no worries that those too will fail while I own the house. The result certainly justifies the expense and inconvenience of the repair.

In your Coaches, it will too, whether the repair is required to combat seal creep or fog.

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Those who think it is unwise to repair something that has failed, as it will fail only again are "glass half empty" people to the max.

The result certainly justifies the expense and inconvenience of the repair.

I'm not sure how the commercial guys are doing it; but, we seemed to have arrested both the creeping and fogging by insetting the seal 1/16" and then applying a ribbon of glazing sealant around the edges. This causes some additional drag on the sliders, but some finesse creating a smooth bead of caulk followed by several days' curing does the trick.

We did another window yesterday, on the kitchen table listening to music. It is perfect, crystal clear.

Yes, most of us don't have the combination of facilities, tools, skills to do this; but, for a fair percentage of owners it is an option whose direct cost is under $20 per window.

[Tools: Single edge blades, leather gloves, safety glasses, latex gloves, box cutter, heat gun, Denatured Alcohol, plasitc scraper, square tip for screwdriver, caulk, aerosol glass cleaner, an old teeshirt, pony bottle of Argon and a cheap regulator, aquarium tubing, roll of window seal, foam weatherstripping tape. Skill required is about the same as replacing a radiator hose, installing a screen door, etc.]

This and other photos are at a Google Album I've put up to give buyers additional pictures.

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