Double-paned windows are affordable and energy-efficient, making them one of the most popular window options for homeowners. But, like any part of your home, after years of wear and tear, your double-paned windows can start to show signs of age. It’s important to recognize those signs, so you can plan for window replacements before your windows lose their performance altogether. One concern to watch for in double-paned windows is collapsed glass. Let’s take a look at what collapsed glass is, how to know if your windows have collapsed glass, and whether it can be fixed.
What is Collapsed Glass?
Collapsed glass is a problem that occurs when your dual pane windows start to leak. Double-paned windows are made with two pieces of glass. Between those two window panes is a special type of gas, usually Argon, that is used to provide insulation. Over time, this gas can dissipate, or your window can develop a leak in the seal, causing the gas to escape.
As this gas escapes, it creates negative pressure in the space between the two panes of glass, causing them both to bend — or collapse — into the middle. The closer those two panes of glass get, the less insulation your windows provide, negatively affecting their performance and the overall energy efficiency of your home.
Collapsed glass can also cause condensation to form between the two panes of glass, making it difficult to see out your windows.
Collapsed glass is a serious concern for the health of your windows and your home. It’s important to address the problem as quickly as possible but to do that, you have to be able to identify the signs of a collapsed glass window.
Signs of a Collapsed Glass Window
The most telltale sign of a collapsed glass window is condensation between the window panes. Window condensation can happen for a number of reasons, but when you notice that the condensation is between panes, rather than on the inside or outside of the window, collapsed glass is a likely cause.
Another key sign of collapsed glass is a distorted view of the outside. When you look out your window and objects outside don’t look quite right, this is probably a sign of collapsed glass. Because the window panes are bowing inwards, they’re rounding the glass of the window, which can affect how objects look outside. A faint rainbow in the center of the window is another window distortion that many homeowners notice with a collapsed glass window.
How to Repair Windows With Collapsed Glass
In most cases, windows with collapsed glass are older. As windows age, the insulating gas between panes can slowly escape, or the seal that contains that insulating gas can weaken. When collapsed glass happens as a result of the window’s age, it’s often best to have the window replaced. If window replacement isn’t an option, or if the window isn’t old enough to warrant such a problem, here are a few options to get that window fixed:
If the window is under warranty — make a warranty claim
If you are experiencing collapsed glass in a window that is still under warranty, get in touch with your manufacturer or installation professional. Most window manufacturers will offer a replacement for a window that’s seal has failed while under warranty. Your window warranty should state who is responsible for the labor — some manufacturers will send a technician out to install the new window, while others will require you to find your own installation professional.
Call a window specialist or contractor
If your window is no longer under warranty or you’re not ready to purchase new windows, a window contractor or window specialist may be able to provide a temporary fix.
A qualified professional will drill a tiny hole into the window frame to relieve the pressure between the window panes. This hole will allow air to flow in between the two panes, reversing the bowing effects of a collapsed window. The contractor will then seal the hole, which should stop any problems you might’ve seen, like condensation.
While this is an effective fix, it’s not a long-term solution. It’s certainly better to have a little air between window panes than nothing, but it’s important to know that your windows won’t be delivering the high-quality energy efficiency they used to. It’s a good idea to start looking at potential window replacement options to ensure you’re protecting your home with high-quality, energy-efficient windows.
If you’re concerned that one of your windows might have collapsed glass, the Zeeland Lumber & Supply team can help. Complete a window service request directly on our site, or visit or windows services page to view warranties from some of the top window manufacturers. For more information, you can also give us a call at 888-772-2119, or contact us online today.