Ohio ó Marie Poling thought she was looking at an
expense of thousands of dollars to replace all the
windows on her Northfield Center Township, Ohio, house.
insulated glass in the homeís bay window had gotten
foggy, and she figured her only option was new windows.
she found out about a process that removes the moisture
from inside thermal pane windows. So for a few hundred
dollars, she has a clear view once again.
was cheaper, much easier, and very fast," Poling
said. "It was awesome."
bay window had experienced a failure of the seals in its
insulated glass units, a common malady of thermal-pane
types of windows are made by sealing air inside two
layers of glass. Over time, expansion and contraction
cause the seal to weaken and eventually fail, allowing
water vapor inside. When that vapor condenses on cold
glass, it creates a foggy appearance.
that doesnít mean a homeowner has to replace the
window to get rid of the cloudiness. Two methods are
available to deal with the problem: removing the glass
and replacing it with a new, factory-sealed unit, or
drilling into the window to remove the moisture.
give you back a clear window, but the first method also
restores the windowís original insulating value. The
second restores only the clarity, but at a lower cost.
chose the moisture-removal option. She hired the Glass
Guru of Macedonia, the Northeast Ohio franchise of a
California-based company, to defog her windows earlier
Glass Guruís process involves drilling tiny holes in
the glass, removing the stains and moisture, and then
plugging the holes with clear plastic vents. The process
can be streamlined for windows without stains, because
cleaning isnít required, said Chad Bradley, who owns
the Macedonia franchise.
the method wonít restore all of a windowís original
insulating value, Bradley said it will reclaim some.
said a thermal pane window with a broken seal loses
about 20 percent of its insulating value. After the
Glass Guru repair, the loss is reduced to about 10
percent, he said.
a frigid day earlier this month, Bradley and Josh
Clarkston, the companyís lead glazier, braved
14-degree temperatures to repair a number of windows on
a house in Medina, Ohio.
used a rotary tool to drill two holes in a casement
window, one in the top right corner and the other in the
lower left. He continually squirted the spot he was
drilling with liquid to keep it cool and prevent the
glass from cracking.
Bradley inserted plastic tubing into both holes and
pumped a cleaning solution into the top hole to remove
the water stains, angling the spray to reach all of the
windowís inside surfaces. The cleaner dripped down the
glass and drained out the bottom tube into a collection
tank, aided by suction from a hand pump.
process was repeated with a rinsing agent, which left
streaks and some sudsy residue between the panes. But
when Bradley pumped an alcohol-based drying agent into
the window and followed by blowing compressed air from
an aerosol can into the two holes, the residue
the window dried, Bradley sealed each hole with a
microvent, a round, clear plastic plug about a half-inch
in diameter with a hole in the center the size of a
pencil point. The one-way vent, he explained, lets
moisture escape from the window but wonít let it
plugs were visible but not obvious. "Thatís all
youíre left with is these two little holes," he
a typical 6-square-foot window takes about 20 minutes,
but the results arenít immediate. Bradley said it
takes additional time for the moisture to migrate out of
the window completely and the fogginess to disappear, a
process known as healing. That can take anywhere from a
few weeks in hot, sunny weather to about eight weeks in
winter, he said.
said the cost of defogging a window depends on the
condition of the window and its location. A typical
6-square-foot window costs about $70 ó approximately
half the cost of replacing the glass unit, he said.
company can repair first- or second-story windows, and
third-story windows if they can be reached from a roof.
process is successful 98 percent of the time on clear
glass windows, Bradley said. If it doesnít work, he
credits the amount his customer spent toward a
company can repair windows with a low-emissivity
coating, he said, but the process is successful only 80
percent of the time. It can also repair triple-pane
windows if the fogginess is in the outside layer, he
said, but it wonít drill holes in glass inside a house
because the moisture leaving the glass might promote
filled with argon gas can be defogged, too, but the
argon canít be replaced, Bradley said.
said the work is warranted for 10 years, and the
warranty can be transferred if the house changes hands.
get the insulating benefits of a thermal pane window,
however, the entire glass unit needs to be replaced.
Thatís possible as long as the window frame and
mechanical parts are in good shape, said Jennifer
Gardner, marketing manager for Glass Doctor of Akron,
unit is produced and sealed in a factory, Gardner said.
Itís ordered after the window is measured, and
installation usually takes about an hour.
cost depends on the type of window and the difficultly
of removing the existing unit, but replacing double-pane
glass in a 6-square-foot window costs roughly $200,
Gardner said. The unit is warranted for 10 years.
work can even be done in winter. "Of course, youíre
going to get a little draft," she said with a
is just glad to have her clear window back.
sheís waiting till the weather warms to see whether
more of the windows in her house are affected. If they
are, she said, sheíll have them done, too.
perfect now," she said. "Itís