napa_girl

Andersen glass failure due to negative pressure

napagirl
13 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 (106)

  • mnovak99
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I know that sounds about right but it's simple enough for me to try at this point before I put in the new sash which I already have. I always remember when I installed a Pella multiple casement picture window about 30 years ago. It had double glass but the way that worked on Pella back then is the window was really a single pane with another pane with a gasket and clips that held it tightly in place on the inside. After about 6 months the window was fogging. I made a call to Pella and they explained that the vent holes were most likely plugged. They were right. There were a number of vent holes through the wood in between the panes. The holes were filled with some kind of material that almost seemed like mud. Bugs maybe?? Anyway after opening up the vents my fogging was gone. Not exactly the same scenario as modern day insulated glass but close enough to make it worth a try.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Good to hear that mnovak99.

    I don't have any personal experience with this process but it appears that there is some data to support the idea that ventilation and air circulation would reduce the condensation potential and allow for drying.

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  • nigebirch
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    windsman:

    Are you still around? I'd like to ask you a few questions on your method of drilling and filling. I have a house full of Anderson windows that were manufacturered in 1992. Many have failed (rainbow, oval football, circle of moisture on the house side of the inner lite) and I'd like to attempt to fix them. Two have even broken (outside pane spontaneously broke). I cannot afford to replace these windows or the glass. I am very handy and would like to attempt to fix them myself; however, I'm not quite sure of the approach (of the drill bit) to the inside seal (the angle; whether starting the hole from the horizontal and going through and through to the spacer; or other). I would certainly appreciate your help (or that of someone else who might have done this and is willing to help me).

    Thank you kindly,

    nigebirch

  • PRO
  • nigebirch
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi, Windowsonwashinton,

    I'd like to thank you for posting a link to that video that Mike made. Maybe you're Mike ... if so, thank you Mike. That gave me much of the info' I needed. I guess the bottom line is to drill the hole where it is least apparent. The only part I was not quite sure about is whether to add something else inside the drilled hole to help establish a firm seal. I couldn't quite understand what Mike said right before his comment on adding silicone. I believe I read something here about the pros using some sort of metal tube or plug before sealing with silicone. Maybe the plug was the desiccant, not sure. If you or someone here would care to comment on this, I'd certainly appreciate the input.

    One last question: On very large windows (like a fixed slider), might it be just as effective to drill a hole at a diagonal, say 45 degrees, from either the inside or outside just below the aluminum spacer? A hole through a vertical side of a large window such as this at 90 degrees (like Mike's) would be near impossible because of the width of the wood frame. I guess it wouldn't matter how to get into that space, at an angle or directly, as long as one is careful to get there without intruding through the inside aluminum, right?

    Most of my windows are double hung, some with a failed upper sash, some with a failed lower; however, I've got quite a few big ones (slider size), (eight to be exact) on the back wall, wrapping around to the side wall of the main part of the house, two each over each set of four sliders. I guess one might call them picture windows. ALL Andersons and all manufactured right before the house was built in '93. Bummer :( Fortunately, most appear okay, but I guess it's something I want to check every year. I've had two "explode" (outside lite on each), and that was scary! Fortunately, they were small bathroom DHs, one upper, one lower sash, same window but about 7 years apart. Guess I have a full-time job.

    Thank you again, WOW, for your speedy reply. This forum is a great one!

    Kindest regards,
    Nigel

  • nigebirch
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Here is a great video showing the configuration of the glass, spacer, seal, etc. on a double-pane insulated window, explaining exactly how/why the seal fails:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZEm62Ra5lo

    Nigel

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Nigel,

    I am not Mike but I should thank him as well. He did a nice job.

    I would try to ping him via the video with your questions.

    A desiccant would be ideal along with a good seal. At this point we aren't worried about gas getting out as much as we are about moisture getting in and condensing.

    A good silicone should keep out the moisture just fine.

  • nigebirch
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks, WOW. I did ping Mike via the video on Youtube, thanks.

    What have I got to lose. Will try drilling and filling w/silicone.

    Again, thanks much for pointing me to Mike's video.

    Best,

    Nigel

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Good Luck!!!

    May the power of the Grumpy Cat (aka Millworkman) go with you.

    ....inside joke...

  • windasman
    6 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    nigebirch,
    Sorry I didn't get back earlier. I just happened to stumble back on this page by chance & saw your post. I watched a little bit of the video in the link that was posted, but not enough to know if the repair he is using will hold up over the long haul. But best of luck to ya & hope it works well in your house!

    To Fenestration_Taylor,
    You don't leave the hole opened up-as soon as the pressure is equalized, you fill the hole with an epoxy[something like a windshield repair epoxy] & set it up with a UV light. The only problems I've had with drilling through the glass is if they are drilled through the interior pane or the drill is not held steadily enough when drilling through & the burr bit breaks.

    To

  • arcman49
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    This post is for anyone who finds there way here after searching on how to fix these collapsed windows. Living in Wisconsin, I got tired of having puddles of ice on the bottoms of the frames each winter. With 30+ windows in our house, I wasn't about to replace all of them including six patio doors, so I came up with a rather simple fix. I guess I could have just poked a hole in the frame and let air in but why not refill them with Argon? Fortunately for me, I have a TIG welder which uses Argon. I'm guessing you can find a way to rent a bottle.

    Basically it consists of drilling a 1/4" access hole through the vinyl/wood frame and then punching a small 1/16" hole into the aluminum frame. I quickly insert a tool I made that has a 14ga. syringe needle attached to a hollow tube and on the other end is a balloon filled with argon. The pressure equalizes (actually a bit on the positive side) and then I fill the hole with sealer and a small screw screwed into the hole in the aluminum frame. My tool pictured is a little elaborate but can be made much simpler. I made it to pierce the aluminum but found the needle hole was clogging, hence the need for a separate hole punch.

    Any questions, drop me a note at hagendays@gmail.com

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Pretty nifty little tool.

    Necessity is the mother of all invention...

    Be sure to poke the home near the top of the window as argon is heavier than air and I would fill it for longer than just one balloon worthy prior to closing the hole.

  • arcman49
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Actually, the window only 'inhales' what I assume is an equivalent amount of argon that was lost in the 'leakage'. The filled balloon is 8-10 inches in diameter, and a little more than half of that returns a 20"x50" pane to flat. I overpressured it just a wee bit so it gave me time to fill with sealer/screw/sealer.

    I 'spose if the window pane was not in a state of low pressure/vacuum and had normalized with air, I would have drilled holes on top and bottom and tried to replace that air with two or three balloons worth of argon from the bottom, hopefully flushing out as much air as possible. In my case, it didn't need that.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Argon is pretty cheap and can be sourced locally usually so don't underdose.

    Very cool tool and I am sure it will help quite a few folks.

  • glopop11
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi everyone,

    I, too, have this collapsed glass problem on Andersen casements manufactured in 1990 and 91. I called Andersen a few days ago and even though they are several years out of warranty, Andersen offered 50% off brand new sashes. They told me that they no longer recommend the drilling method because it proved to be only a short term fix.

    The problem is that I have 25 sashes, an eight foot slider and a French patio door. The total is about $5k, which is really beyond my budget. So I may attempt to drill them myself. I guess if I fail I can always spend the 5k!

  • Pacolyptic
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Here's another youtube video showing how to drill a hole to correct the pressure problem.

    http://youtu.be/py9rpniPJcY?list=UUEOm-Ho8xcjK7KpyOaL-RMw

  • napagirl
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    OMG .... can't believe this thread is still active almost 8 years after my original post. Just wondering ... is Oberon is still hanging around on GW ??

  • oberon476
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hiya Napagirl and I am still around.

    How are things with you?

  • napagirl
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi Oberon,
    Glad to see you're still posting on GW. Things are good with me. No more window problems :)

  • oberon476
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    napagirl,

    Good to hear.

    Hope that you had a great holiday!!

  • lpolsen
    4 years ago

    This is our first winter in our new home built in 1990. We noticed the oval starting this fall. Now that it is super cold out we have ovals,
    water and ice on many windows. Love the
    internet – you can find information on almost anything. We are going to try the repair and see what
    happens. Thank you for all your
    information and contributions.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    4 years ago

    Good luck. Keep us posted.

  • dena_sue2000
    4 years ago

    I have the same problem and was told the exact same thing. I was also told they were aware of the problem. All windows manufactured in the year 1991 have the problem. In essence our windows didn't provide us with the R value we thought we purchased so we are out the energy savings....plus the lovely problem with the oval shaped condensation. I think they should replace all the glass.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    4 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
    4 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
    4 years ago

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

  • quasiexpert
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    8 months 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
    8 months 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
    8 months 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
    8 months 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
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months 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
    8 months 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
    8 months 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
    6 months 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
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months 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 months ago


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


    thank you!

  • dena_sue2000
    4 months 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
    2 months 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
    last month

    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
    last month
    last modified: last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month
    last modified: last month

    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
    last month

    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
    last month

    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.

  • PRO
    Windows on Washington Ltd
    last month

    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.

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