A damaged window seal can lead to mold problems | PostIndependent.com

A damaged window seal can lead to mold problems

By DWIGHT BARNETTScripps Howard News Service Q: I read your article about winterizing a home on HGTV’s Web site. We have triple-pane windows that are about 10 years old. There is moisture between them and mold where the seal has leaked at the bottom of the window. Other than replacing the windows, what can I do to prevent cold air from coming in and more moisture from accumulating? Would caulk work? – D. Hardin, Savannah, Tenn.A: Insulated windows, whether with double or triple glazing, have a gas injected between the panes to prevent thermal transfer from one glass to the other. When the seal between the glass sheets is lost or damaged, air replaces the lost gas. When the glass gets cold, the moisture starts to fog making the window very unattractive and almost opaque. My experience has been that the seals are generally guaranteed for 10 years, so your windows may no longer be under warranty from the manufacturer, but that is something you should check. If the frames and sashes of the windows are in a good condition, you can opt to replace only the glazing. Local glass companies can measure your windows and order and install special glazing. The newer double-glazed windows with low-E glazing offer not only excellent thermal protection, but the low-E glass also stops a lot of the harmful heat-generating ultra-violet radiation from entering the home. UV radiation also can discolor furniture and floor coverings close to the window. The low-E factor should also help on your cooling bills by conserving energy. Once the new glass is installed, the condensation at the bottom of the window should stop. Remove and clean the mold by washing with a mixture of one part household bleach to three parts warm water. Dry thoroughly using disposable paper towels. Caulk and seal the bottom and both sides of the window’s exterior frame, leaving the top open to vent moisture. If the window is exposed to direct or driving rains, the top should be caulked and sealed as well. Use a good quality silicone caulk and apply evenly.Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at C. Dwight Barnett, Evansville Courier & Press, P.O. Box 286, Evansville, Ind. 47702.

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