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napa_girl

Andersen glass failure due to negative pressure

napagirl
17 years ago

Oberon: This question is for you since you are very knowledgeable about windows. I just read your thesis on condensation, and all I can say is - "Wow!"

Getting back to my problem. We installed Andersen 400 series High Performance windows in 1989 and maybe 7-8 yrs later I noticed an oval pattern of condensation on the inside of the glass (not between the panes). I thought it was strange but since it wasn't between the glass I thought everything was okay. Fast forward to a few months ago and I discovered a diffent window had, indeed, failed (cloudiness and smears between the panes). I went to Andersen's website to notify them and to my surprise they mention the problem of the oval condensation in the center of the window!

I rec'd an email from their rep who said the oval condensation was probably an indication of negative pressure and I could tell by measuring the space between the glass at the edge and at the center of the window. (Do this by placing something on the outside [husband's finger] and your finger on the inside.) To my amazement more than half of our windows and three 36" French doors had almost no space between the glass in the center (3.5 mm on the edge and 14 mm in the center). His email also said that it could be repaired (and did not need to be replaced). Andersen then sent out a local contractor to assess the failure. To my delight this contractor said he would have the glass replaced; that if the difference was more than 4 mm Andersen will replace the glass.

Oberon, you probably know how the glass is repaired but for those of you reading this that don't know, I will tell you what I was told: They drill a small hole in the frame releasing the pressure and fill the space with air (not Argon gas as original), then plug the hole and in their words it's "still as good as the best windows on the market," stopping short of saying "as good as before the failure."

I hope that Andersen does indeed replace the glass, but on the chance that they won't, I want to know your opinion, re repair or replacement. The contractor was here on Jan 8th so I'm thinking it will be a while before I get any real confirmation from Andersen.

Sorry this is such a long message but I thought those of you with older Andersen windows would like to know my experience so far. I know they have made a lot of improvements since my windows were made in 1989, and I still think they make a good product.

Comments (129)

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    8 years ago

    They are unfortunately out of warranty at this point, but a retrofit of the glass by drilling the spacer will normalize the IGU pressures and give you +80% of the efficiency as well as negate the oval condensation issue.

  • quasiexpert
    8 years ago

    I've been doing window service for over 14 years, and find it interesting to hear expectations of people with window warranties. If your car needs engine work with 1,000 miles left on the warranty, do you insist that they replace the engine, or just repair it? After all, it hasn't been getting the same fuel mileage it used to.

    Then to say you want new glass 5 years out of warranty is also pretty rich.

    By the way, it is patently false to claim that all windows manufactured in 1991 have the problem. There are many more variables of which you're obviously unaware. There is a great repair that can be done quite cheaply and effectively, and I would recommend you act sooner rather than later-the end result of an unrepaired window is likely a seal failure or glass breakage. And don't start off the conversation with the repairman demanding new product-the price may not be quite so cheap. ;)

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    8 years ago

    What would a repair of one of the IGUs that lost its argon look like? How do you replace the argon?

  • quasiexpert
    8 years ago

    The repair looks like you have an IGU that is no longer deflected and in danger of breakage or seal failure. The argon is not replaced.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    8 years ago

    So, just as I referenced above then. Should this person have contacted Andersen prior to the expiration of her warranty, would the argon be replaced at that point?

  • napagirl
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    I'm the Original Poster and I just want to say again that I think Andersen is a stand-up company.

    My windows had a 20-year warranty and Andersen stood behind it. Andersen did not manufacture the Insulated Glass Units (I believe they were made by Cardinal Glass). Many other window manufacturers used the same glass units as Andersen, and yet Andersen was the one that stepped up and made it right with their customers. Many other well-known and highly-regarded companies did not. (It was either Oberon or Guy-exterior-man who said this very early-on in this thread.)

    Dena-Sue2000, I totally agree with quasiexpert that Andersen should not be expected to replace your 25 year old windows that are 5 years out of warranty.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    8 years ago

    That is solid feedback on a company that takes an active role on the boards and makes sure that it is managing its reputation. Kudos to Andersen for honoring their warranty. I don't think anyone here thinks that they should warranty a product that is 5 years outside of their warranty.

  • quasiexpert
    8 years ago

    WoW, they either repaired the product at no charge, in which we use ambient air but not argon-or gave new glass/sash but didn't cover installation labor.

  • Mary Beerman
    4 years ago

    What a HUGE disappointment with Andersen windows! We thought we were using top of the line windows when we built our house in 1989-1990. Some started "fogging" a few years after installation and I went to an Andersen window "workshop" at a Home Depot or Lowes, explained my problem and was told there was NOTHING that could be done to remedy the problem, except to replace the window. I couldn't justify the cost so we ignored the problem. Now as we are thinking of selling our home, we have 6 panes that are disgustingly fogged. We had a Renewal Andersen man come yesterday and he can't help us, they don't do pane replacement. But he explained about the Andersen COLLAPSE problem that we had never heard of! He told us there had been a recall many years ago, but we never got any notice or read anything about it, so our windows just progressively got worse. Now it will cost us $3452 just to replace 6 lousy panes!!! That is outrageous for an inferior problem that was Andersen's fault to begin with! I am sorry we ever bought Andersen, they really make our house look bad. Take note, new home builders!

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    4 years ago

    Why weren't they replaced years ago when they started to show failures? Are these fixed picture windows or operable windows?


    Andersen glass was covered by a 20 year warranty back them.


    How was the RBA quote?

  • eedstang
    4 years ago

    I am having the same problem with my windows. My windows has the 1/8" drill, right next the ANDERSEN"S logo in the corner of the glass. I am not sure why ANDERSEN hasn't been sued or forced to replace their customers windows! I am going to replace my windows but NOT by ANDERSEN.


  • dena_sue2000
    4 years ago

    I agree not only do we now have defective windows but from the purchase point they didn't provide the R value that they advertised due to the flaw. They were not forthcoming with the flaw notification either. I can't afford to replace my windows but if a point in time comes that I can I sure won't trust Anderson Windows. I thought I bought a good product...ooops.


  • oberon476
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Mary Beerman, echoing WoW's comment, your windows had a 20 glass warranty against fogging. Who told you "a few years" after installation that "there was NOTHING that could be done to remedy the problem, except to replace the window."?

    I am very puzzled why you lived with a problem that bothered you for 30 years without trying to find a solution or by following up with` someone else about what you were seeing? Did you ever try to contact Andersen directly?

    Also, fogging between panes and collapsed glass are two entirely different problems. From your message it sounds like you have fogging not collapsed glass, so I don't understand why the renewal rep would have even mentioned collapsed glass in your case.

    eedstang, just curious but why do you want to replace your windows?

    deba_sue2000, why do you think that the windows didn't provide the R value that they advertised "due to the flaw" right from the purchase point? And the same question, why do you want to replace your windows?

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    4 years ago

    Andersen did have a proactive procedures years ago, you may have fell out of the active time frame of that “recall”. This did not mean that they did not warranty glass unless one fell out of the 20 year warranty period.

  • dena_sue2000
    4 years ago

    I had a window break and they replaced it without a problem. They asked me how it broke...it shattered with no warning it was part of a 12 ft sliding glass door. No mention was made concerning the flawed windows. Unfortunately after the 20 yr warranty I've had more windows do the same. I have a 15 ft window wall with two broken windows. One of the quarter round windows above the 15 ft window wall broke also they replaced it no problem. It's sitting in my livingroom still not installed that you have to have done with your own money...lol I invested a considerable some of money for my windows I'm not happy.


  • HU-227336430
    4 years ago

    I found this on Youtube. It may help. I’m pondering doing this on 8 casement windows. But I do have a question. What temperature is best to vent? If it’s too hot the window might collapse and break when it’s too cold. And if it’s too cold the the gas would expand and break the window.


    https://youtu.be/wq_LJnoi33w

  • quasiexpert
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I did the factory developed repair to thousands of windows over 10 years as a window service tech. I never ran into a problem with Windows breaking due to repairing in extreme temperatures.

  • HU-255094469
    4 years ago


    i might have missed the factory developed repair, is it possible for you to explain it?


    thank you!

  • dena_sue2000
    4 years ago

    ..cute someone has used Dena Sue 2000 and made comments I've not endorsed. Do I think anderson is liable...yes. Did they inform me of the flaw... no Will I buy anderson products again...no ... If you see anymore comments on this blog it won't be mine.

  • HU-387008398
    4 years ago

    I have 3 double hung wood frame double glaze Andersen units with a 4/89 date stamp. 2 months ago i noticed an oval shape condensation on the living space side of the inner glaze. I didn't investigate, but though the insulation was failing and expected to see fogging soon. About a month later my wife heard a loud thump coming from that room when no one else was in the home. She saw that the lower sash of one window was cracked. I later saw that it was the inner glaze. It didn't take too much searching to find this situation all over the web. Upon investigating the other 5 sashes using the inner/outer finger positioning, I found 1 other sash to have no space between the glazes and another with about 1/2 the space. While taking to a rep at Andersen they were pretty tight lip about this but didn't outright deny knowledge. I didn't expect them to replace any of these after 10 years past warranty but I did expect some consideration/discount. However they quoted me full price for replacements. After writing a very detailed and adamant email and 2 more phone calls I demanded to speak to an upper official. After listening to my appeal, along with some considerations of possible subsequent injury and litigation from more spontaneous violent breakage, the agent calmly offered to supply the replacements at 50% off.

    I will purchase the 3 sashes and afterwards attempt the repair of the 2 unbroken ones to use as replacements if others start to fail. Since these wood frames can not be open to replace or fix the IGU, I will be drilling through the wood sides and through the separator to relieve the negative pressure. I intend to use a hair dryer on low heat on the site of the hole to dry the air as it is being pulled into the unit and then immediately seal the hole when the unit returns to normal spacing.

  • HU-449232683
    4 years ago

    I also have Andersen window from 1992. At the time I thought I was Getting high quality with low-e glass and argon filled. The repair for the collapsed gas is drilling the seal which pretty much take these overpriced windows down to a cheaper grade. At the time I thought it was a bogus repair and should have requested all bew sashes. But I trusted them. I have many window today that have the ghost in them. They are out of warranty and I too was offered 50% off replacements. I think it is bogus. With internet so easily searched I feel we should get a class action lawsuit going. I don’t know how many people are needed for that. All I want is 10 windows. Comments welcome.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    What does the "ghost in them" reference? Are you saying that they just have air in them and no argon with that reference?


    In the IGUs that are that narrow (i.e. the windows from that generation), the argon provided, probably, about a 10-12% efficiency gain. Just want to put that in perspective for you should you decide to want to move this forward. Are the windows otherwise still working and not rotting? If so, there are a whole bunch of Pella customers that are going to be in front of you in the line of customer grievances.

  • HU-449232683
    4 years ago

    The ghost Is the condensation between the pains from bad seals. Which were purposely drilled to allow air in negating the extra money I paid for the argon. Window and frames still in good shape. Many people have paid for that only to be screwed by Andersen with their repair plan of drilling the seal.

  • oberon476
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    HU-449232683,

    Normally I don't reply to non-registered users, and definitely don't reply when the word "lawsuit" is part of the post, however I am making an exception in this case because I am really wondering how you feel you got screwed?

  • HU-449232683
    4 years ago

    Seems you are always on

    manufacturers’ side. It would be like buying a Vette and discovering after you open the hood you have a little 4 cylinder. We all bought top of the line and their fix what was stated In previous. Quite simple.

  • quasiexpert
    4 years ago

    It's more like buying a vette, getting 20 pretty darn good years of enjoyment out of it-then when it is finally out of warranty after 20 years getting bent out of shape because it's out of warranty and may need repair. This isn't an Andersen exclusive issue-Cardinal is the glass supplier also to Marvin, Pella, and others as well. They all had issues with windows of this vintage. Some glass suppliers still have this issue in recent products.

    napagirl thanked quasiexpert
  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    4 years ago

    As a car fan, I appreciate car analogies and invocations of Horsepower. That said, your analogy would be more accurate if it read like this:

    • You bought a Corvette and owned it for the lifetime of its warranty (lets say 100,000 miles) and then it developed a misfire on one (1) cylinder and you took it to the dealership. Turns out that a spark plug wire had a burn through mark on it from touching the exhaust for those 100,000 miles and that is where the open ground was. Instead of replacing the spark plug wire, they wrapped the wire in electrical tape and sent you on you way with no charge.

    Are you as well served as a new spark plug wire, probably not. That said, they are no longer under any warranty obligation and the offset in performance is less than you think here. The reality is that the offset in performance is probably less than 5% in this case as long as the air isn't moving.

  • Katho
    4 years ago

    I know this is an old post, but I stumbled on it while doing a search about the same problem. I have had five Anderson windows crack over about a seven year period (on a 25 year old home) and have several more with the oval condensation inside. Also got the same offer to “fix” every other window in the house with the drill and fill method. I was appalled at this response to what is obviously a defect...nothing close to someone’s car analogy, which would be a normal wear and tear issue vs. a defective product. If there was a recall, I was not made aware of it.

    I am very surprised and disappointed in Anderson. In a previous home that I purchased when it was at least 20 years old, I had an issue with a garage window one or two years later that I thought simply needed to be reglazed. An Anderson rep came to my home and insisted on not only replacing the garage window sash, but every other sash in the house (22 total) free of charge, as they anticipated the same problem would occur with the others eventually.

    While I don’t expect the same response in this case, offering to drill a hole in a high quality double-paned sash to let the argon out seems like a cheap and lame fix. Sort of like taking your defective Corvette to the dealer and being sent home with a Sonic as the solution. You still have a car with a Chevrolet emblem but...

  • HU-171678280
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Searching for this same issue I happened to find this thread. My home was built in `1990 with Anderson 400 series casement high-performance windows. I am finding now by my inspection (two-finger test) the majority of our windows have fully or partially collapsed glass. I also replaced three sashes last year for an internal condensation issue between the panes (seal failure) and thought it was just an exception. This past winter, there were many of our windows (minus the three sashes I already replaced) showing the classic condensation (oval) on the inside pane that I have been reading about doing different searches. Based on what I am reading and after viewing two Youtube videos, I plan to try the drilling approach on a few sashes to see how it works. I am expecting though it may not survive as a long term fix if Anderson no longer recommends it as "THE" repair solution.

    I really don't want to spend a ton of money replacing all my sashes for a known Anderson issue if I can avoid it. I think the biggest disappointment for me, is that Anderson should have sent out notices of a "potential" problem to all customers/dealers and tell them what to watch out for. And if problems are noticed within the warranty period (hopefully an extended warranty for customer goodwill), give specifics of who to contact and how to address getting it fixed.

  • oberon476
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Hi Sharon, aka Napa,

    Nice to see you again, I hope that all is going great for you!

    You have a wonderful day as well!

  • napagirl
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Hi Oberon,

    Thanks for checking in - its nice to hear from you. Hope all is goiing well with you, too. Yes, everything's going great here in my hometown in the beautiful Napa Valley. At my age every day is a gift !

  • oberon476
    3 years ago

    I agree 100%~

    today is the one year anniversary of my retirement, and I am doing my best to enjoy every day.

    Glad to hear that everything is going well for you over in the beautiful Napa Valley


  • lkbum_gw
    3 years ago

    Congrats Oberon, I've really enjoyed your contributions over the years.

  • oberon476
    3 years ago

    Thanks ikbum, very much appreciated.

  • napagirl
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Congratulations, Oberon, and wishing you a long and healthy retirement!. Thank you again for helping me with my Andersen windows 13 years ago!

  • oberon476
    3 years ago

    Thank you Sharon.

    I am so glad that it worked out for you, but I can't believe it was 13 years ago!!

  • Brandon Conkins
    3 years ago

    Really appreciate this thread! I just purchased a 93' home with these andersen windows and the same problem. Anyone able to report back if the drill through the frame fix held up? I'm worried about introducing condensation between the panes?

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    3 years ago

    If you don't equalize the pressure, its a foregone conclusion that condensation will happen


  • jennajp222
    3 years ago

    Approximately two years ago, I purchased an Andersen front door and two sidelights with art glass inserts (Frank Lloyd Wright style). Approximately six months ago I noticed a haze formed on the inside of the glass that looks similar to washing glass in direct sunlight. I believe there is an issue with leakage of whatever gas (Argon?) or perhaps the metal used to solder the glass, combined with the exposure to moisture. Andersen is being difficult to impossible in resolving this issue, Currently the offer is to replace the glass at my expense, labor not included. I have been pretty aggressive at their corporate level, with no luck. I am wondering if anyone else has any ideas how to handle this issue going forward. Thanks!

  • millworkman
    3 years ago

    "I purchased an Andersen front door and two sidelights with art glass inserts (Frank Lloyd Wright style)."


    Is the art glass an actual insert between the glass panels? What did the warranty state for the exact product you purchased?

  • PRO
    toddinmn
    3 years ago

    Pretty sure they don’t warranty that glass, if they are giving you a new glass pack they have exceeded there warranty duties.

  • millworkman
    3 years ago

    That was my thoughts as well Todd.

  • quasiexpert
    3 years ago

    I was an AW service tech for 16 years, but have been out for 2.5 years. I seem to remember that art glass itself had essentially no warranty after delivery due to its nature & fragility.

    But when they started offering the art glass inside the airspace of insulated glass, I believe that had a warranty against seal failure or other manufacturing defects for ten years.

    Like I said, though-I've been out for a while so I looked it up. According to the warranty listed at this link, it is indeed a ten year warranty against seal failure. What you're describing sounds like a seal failure if the haze is in the airspace.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.andersenwindows.com/-/media/aw/files/technical-docs/warranty/warranty-windows-patiodoors--artglass--400series--200series.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjisNf7xdfsAhVUGM0KHQ9xCK0QFjABegQIDxAF&usg=AOvVaw1WaFG9vGQAxQo-1zHABQEY


    With all that said-is the art glass indeed in the insulated space? Can you post a picture of the haze you're referring to? Do you know the Product ID number?

  • quasiexpert
    3 years ago

    Also-what line of AW do you have?

  • Lorenzo Fernandez Jr.
    3 years ago

    Just did an entire house in e series nothing but quality issues. Anderson is doing everything to get out of the issues. They even went as far to blame their dealer Window Rama. Also stalled responses to get further along on warranty . If you notice they aggressively remove negative posts on their Facebook. It’s easy to see they have 10 comments listed you open comments and it says they have been edited. They have issues with their hardware tarnishing and pitting was told they would warranty it now they have changed their literature to not warranty finishes after the fact so they are going with living finish excuse. All their finishes are failing under six months. Next their casements are hanging then not closing properly they say and I have it recorded that windows should not be opened and they are only rated when closed and a 15-20 mph breeze will damage them at 20 degrees open. You can’t get them out they use Covid as an excuse then they just string you further along.

  • millworkman
    3 years ago

    Still nothing to back up these facts. How about pictures of these issues? Never heard the issues you are mentioning, although in fairness I do not deal with residential products these days.

  • Tom
    2 years ago

    I had the fogging issue with my Anderson casement windows. My house was built in 1991 and I started noticing the oval fogging problem around the year 2000. I found out on the web that they were still under warranty and I contacted them to have them fixed. They gave me the option of either having them replaced at a $50 each labor cost, or having them 'fixed' for free using a small hole to re-inflate the window with air. I had them replace 14 windows (cosst me $700) and had them fix the 2 garage windows (the garage is unheated so didn't care about the small loss of insulation). I'm very happy with Andersen! Incidently, I was not the original owner of the house.....I purchased it in 1995.

  • Joseph Voicheck
    2 years ago

    Is there a documented DIY procedure for removing the fog? At $500 a window replacement , this can get real expensive fast!


  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    2 years ago

    Has the seal failed or just fog where the windows are closer to touching?