greggrumke

New windows spontaneously exploding at 10000ft altitude

greggrumke
17 days ago
last modified: 15 days ago

Bought a tiny house from Escape and had it delivered last month. Escape used all Weathershield windows. The house is located at 10000 ft in altitude and in the first 2 weeks 4 windows ( outer panes exploded outward) spontaneously broke. One sounded like a gun going off! Escape replaced 2 windows and one of those exploded also. I now have 2 expensive broke windows and a builder who wont help me get them replaced, the window company has done nothing for me. What are my options to sue Escape and or Weatershield to get this problem fixed.Escapes owner said these windows are made for altitude, i think his ego wont allow him to believe the windows cant handle this altitude. Well there are very few towns at 10k. So i believe he has no real expierence with this problem.

Comments (49)

  • oberon476
    16 days ago

    A shame it came to that. This should have been an easy and relatively inexpensive fix.

    greggrumke thanked oberon476
    Best Answer
  • oberon476
    17 days ago

    Do you have any pictures of the broken windows? Glass breakage due to high internal pressure (altitude) has a very distinct break pattern. Pictures displaying the distinct break pattern would help prove your case that they broke due to altitude.

    Also, can you take a picture of the spacer between the two lites of glass? Different IGU systems may make use of either breather tubes or capillary tubes to equalize pressure at altitude. If there are no tubes, then they weren't manufactured for altitude, no matter what is claimed.

    If possible, you need to see the edge of the IGU (glass removed from the sash or frame) to see if there is a tube connected to the spacer.


    greggrumke thanked oberon476
  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    16 days ago


    Tree like crack, ran the glass id numder thru WS and was told it was a simple argon filled window with no capillary tubes installed.

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    Will have to post this on other forums to find out if other people have this problem.

  • oberon476
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    Textbook example of high altitude break, except often the upper fan shape is reflected at the bottom as well.

    I would probably be looking at Escape first to see what they ordered for window system. If they can show that they ordered a window with cap-tubes for high altitude and the windows aren't what they ordered, then it would be their responsibility to go back to their window supplier for answers and appropriate fixes.

    If they didn't actually order high altitude IGU's windows then it would be up to them to make things right.

    In either case it appears someone along the way dropped that ball.

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    16 days ago

    BINGO!

    Of course no one involved wants to deal with it so i retained a large law firm specialising in these kind on issues!

    Thanks for your original advice!

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    And its odd that an employee wrote: Well my conversation originally with (owner) was either the capillary wasn't there or it wasn't working to me it was that simple" this i have in writting. So much for big egos, can fix something cheap but they have to torture themselfs into trying to be right even when their wrong

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Its odd their tune now is simple argon filled windows perform great at 10k is this really true???????? I have over 2 dozen emails from WS dealers all over the west who say no way at 10k.......whos right??????

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Heres what they say, and I'm not a glass expert but either are they, does this explanation even make any sense???? House has been at 10k altitude for less than a month and for the record 4 windows have completely failed:

    As for the broken windows, we immediately sent replacements and had delivery guy drive hundreds of miles out of the way at our expense to not only help with the window install but to try and figure out what had happened. To our delivery guy , who has delivered over a hundred buildings, all appeared normal. He indicated to me that he was apologetic to you for the problem and, as he is our point person, he conveyed that from everyone at ESCAPE.

    This breakage is an unprecedented event...it has never happened in the hundreds of buildings we have built, many of them at altitudes the same or higher than yours. All of them have windows built exactly the same as yours...this is confirmed by Weathershield (WS).

    Further, there are 18 panes of glass in your unit...only 3 have had a problem. All of those in one room. Why have none of the other windows had a problem? Based on past performance, it is reasonable to assume there will never be a problem with the other windows. So something unusual is happening in that one room and we are determined to find out what it is. Further to this, we immediately gave the broken windows from your unit to WS for analysis. The WS production people supplied us with break patterns for glass...the broken glass from your windows according to them did not match the break pattern if the cause was high altitude. Again, this information came from WS production...sales reps on the other hand are notorious for not knowing how windows actually perform. They also tend to speculate and guess rather than rely on hard facts and data. This is irresponsible and causes confusion.

    WS has forwarded the glass to their glass manufacturer for further analysis. (WS does not make the glass they only assemble windows...they are not the final glass experts). We await their report as to what is happening and our next steps will be dictated by their analysis. This is a serious matter that we take seriously. To replace the broken windows, in one case for the second time, only to have them potentially break again for whatever reason makes no sense.

    As for cap tubes, as I'm sure you have read, they destroy the efficiency of windows by allowing the argon gas to escape. Further, many times the windows can fog as air leaks into them. (With large fixed glass windows, WS many times installs cap tubes automatically...this can be unfortunate.) Our customers want windows that are energy efficient and do not fog...hence the reason we use the windows we do. What WS sales reps speculate is not relevant...what is relevant is how the windows have performed for customers and that they have performed correctly.

    Your current windows that have a broken exterior pane should be left closed and should present no danger...simply avoid the exterior in those areas temporarily. As these are on the back and non-entry side of the building, this should not be an issue. We apologize for the temporary inconvenience...better to wait to know what is happening and make sure this problem is corrected properly. As you own the unit, if you want to order and or replace any or all windows in your unit based on what you think is best, you certainly may. We disagree and do not recommend replacing windows that are operating properly for a number of reasons. We also do not recommend replacing the units with one broken pane of glass until the facts are known as to what has happened.

  • oberon476
    15 days ago

    Can you send exterior view pictures of all of the broken windows?


  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    Sure, but argon windows dont work at 10k do they? Are they trying to weasel out of this? These are all i have on my phone , but all the glass is bowed outward, small windon we can only open 8 inches





  • oberon476
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Do all 4 windows face the same direction? If so what direction?

    Your pictures are of one vertical casement (interior and exterior shots) and three interior shots of the same horizontal slider?

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    1 on south side , one on the west side was replaced and broke again, these first windows are the sliding part of the window all breaks occured with window closed, bigger casement window is north facing (and sounded like a 357 when it blew out) All windows broke in the mid to late part of the afternoon, all day the temp was low 70s

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    The smaller windows just made a good thunk when they cracked

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    Is WS or the builder telling me the truth that these are not typical altitude cracks?

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago



    South slider the other pics are west slider

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    Units where produced in Wisconsin

  • oberon476
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Further, there are 18 panes of glass in your unit...only 3 have had a problem. All of those in one room. Why have none of the other windows had a problem? --- Irrelevant, focus on the four that broke not the 15 that haven't.

    Based on past performance, it is reasonable to assume there will never be a problem with the other windows --- There is no basis to make that assumption. Just because they haven't failed so far doesn't mean that they never will fail.

    The WS production people supplied us with break patterns for glass...--- he appears to be referring to a common chart of pictures and explanations of different typical glass break patterns that glass manufacturers and many window companies have hanging somewhere in there R&D, or quality, or wherever departments. Before I retired I had two different versions of it hanging in my lab.

    the broken glass from your windows according to them did not match the break pattern if the cause was high altitude. --- The vertical casement break pattern was more than reasonably consistent with high altitude break pattern, and the horizontal break pattern was suggestive if not absolutely typical, likely because of size and orientation.

    Again, this information came from WS production...sales reps on the other hand are notorious for not knowing how windows actually perform. They also tend to speculate and guess rather than rely on hard facts and data. This is irresponsible and causes confusion.--- Depends on the sales rep, but i generally agree with his assessment when they are trying to diagnose a problem. I had to address more than a few of those misconceptions over the years.

    The problem I see is that the letter writer is more sales rep than window/glass expert, but he is talking as an expert; exactly as he described window company reps....

    As for cap tubes, as I'm sure you have read, they destroy the efficiency of windows by allowing the argon gas to escape. --- Nope, here is where hs is trying to talk as an expert, but in fact he is wrong. There is no argon in IGU's that have installed cap-tubes to start with. And not using argon does NOT "destroy the efficiency of windows by allowing the argon gas to escape", that is flat out wrong. Windows with cap tubes and air are not as efficient as sealed units with argon, but the difference is a few tenths of a percent of U value.

    Further, many times the windows can fog as air leaks into them. ... Using cap tubes at lower altitude, wetter locations is not recommended. At your elevation the air is dry enough that it's not going to happen.

    (With large fixed glass windows, WS many times installs cap tubes automatically...this can be unfortunate.) ... breakage due to over pressure at altitude is a lot more unfortunate

    Our customers want windows that are energy efficient and do not fog...hence the reason we use the windows we do. ... the TSB explains better than I can.

    ...better to wait to know what is happening and make sure this problem is corrected properly. ... I could not agree more

    (WS does not make the glass they only assemble windows...they are not the final glass experts). ...Yet earlier in the message he did suggest that they were the experts when they said that the break pattern wasn't typical of high altitude.

    We await their report as to what is happening and our next steps will be dictated by their analysis. This is a serious matter that we take seriously. To replace the broken windows, in one case for the second time, only to have them potentially break again for whatever reason makes no sense. ... I agree 100%

    Honestly I think he is being sincere and truly believes what he is saying, what he was probably taught by window sales reps, the same folks who per his earlier comment..."sales reps on the other hand are notorious for not knowing how windows actually perform. They also tend to speculate and guess rather than rely on hard facts and data. This is irresponsible and causes confusion."

    IMO Escape is doing exactly as they should be doing, they have contacted Weathershield who per the earlier message will be following up with the Cardinal by sending your units to Cardinal's product development and field service lab in minneapolis for evaluation. Again, I fully agree with this, one step at a time to solve the problem.

    https://www.cardinalcorp.com/source/pdf/tsb/ig/IG13_01-2016.pd

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    He a egomaniac whos never wrong, plane and simple argon windows made at sea level do not perform well at 10k , would you agree?

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    WS told me i need special windows at 10k not plain

  • oberon476
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Technically it's where the IGU was sealed rather than where the window was manufactured, but it's definitely not recommended.

    The TSB explains better than I can, but bottom line is, don't install IGU's that were sealed at sea level at 10,000 feet.

    If Excite owner disagrees with that advice, I would suggest that that recommendation comes directly from Cardinal TSB and Cardinal has over 500,000,000 IGU's currently under warranty and hundreds of millions that are performing flawlessly well past the 20 year warranty. How many IGU's does the Excite owner have under warranty to justify his opinions?

    greggrumke thanked oberon476
  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    Thanks i knew he knows as much about windows as i do or less. Thanks for all your time.

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    I see cardinal doesn't even produce a high altitude argon window themselfs

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    Its ESCAPE but i like the typo. Hes ignorant to think a WS argon would perform at 10k, Cardinal the actual glass maker dosen't even make high altitude argon, that tsb and the WS dealer emails saying 10k no way wont change his mind. Hes ignorant to not see the cost benefit of just fixing the 2 windows then pray his misinformed view of argon and altitude is right

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago

    Probably not a real typo but perhaps a freudian slip?

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Lastly i have to say he has to believe has own opinion or he might have to replace alot of windows, i know very few people in the usa live at 10k or above but in his mind there's "alot"

    Lol

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    12 days ago

    The delusional narcissist at ESCAPE tiny homes in Rice Lake, WI, is still saying he has these same windows at higher than 10k and they preform just fine. Even the window manufacturer says the windows ESCAPE uses are not for elevation.


  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    2 days ago

    ESCAPE is now saying that guardian glass says any window manufactured in Wisconsin (sealed argon, no tubed) is ok at 10000ft altitude if it hasn't cracked in 48hrs, i dont see this 48 hour claim in any glass manufactures info.

  • oberon476
    2 days ago

    can you take a picture of the glass logo?




  • loobab
    2 days ago

    greg- how scary!

    Thank goodness you are your family are safe!

    The manufacturer is darned lucky you are not suing him for bodily harm and damage of other property ruined by flying shards of glass!

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    2 days ago



  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    2 days ago

    There are weathershield windows, i called WS with the glass id numbers and they said no tubes just

  • oberon476
    2 days ago

    is there anything etched on the glass?

    that's what I am looking for


    thanks


  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    2 days ago



  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    2 days ago



  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    2 days ago


    The only window with a cap tube

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    2 days ago

    This is the email from escape (48hrs ???)



    ESCAPE has received an update from Weathershield and Guardian regarding the cause of the broken windows. While a final forensic analysis will take up to another 2 weeks, Guardian has sent their preliminary findings.

    The preliminary analysis indicates one window had a pressure point fault which apparently failed due to a change in pressure (altitude). The second window, however, broke as a result of impact. Since all other windows have been performing satisfactory for over a month, it is highly unlikely any breakage will occur in those windows as a result of a change in pressure. According to Guardian, if windows fail due to pressure, that will occur within 48 hours of being exposed to a change in pressure.

  • oberon476
    yesterday

    If i understand correctly, the two windows that Guardian examined and reported on are not the two windows that you posted pictures of here, correct?

    Since I can only comment on what I can see from the pictures of the two IG's that you posted here, I would call both of those internal pressure (altitude) breaks. Seems interesting that four units broke and while three of them are likely from internal pressure, one is impact?

    Unfortunately, while I had been anticipating that the IG units came from Cardinal (that's why i was posting Cardinal information on high altitude IG's), based on what Escape told you, and backed up by your recent pictures, that is Guardian's stainless spacer...the IGU's are definitely Guardian.

    I have no idea where Guardian IG folks came up with the idea that if an IG doesn't fail by 48 hours at altitude that it will never fail. I have a little trouble believing that they actually said that, but I am also more than surprised that they would suggest using an unvented IG, that was made in Wisconsin, at 10,000 feet in Colorado. Also I was floored when I saw the picture of the hole in the spacer. That is not a cap-tube. A Cardinal cap-tube terminates in the hollow of the IG unit, you would never know it was there unless you pulled the IG out of the window sash.

    I will say this much per IG expertise....Guardian has one small IG plant in Sun Prairie WI., that last I heard (don't quote me, this was a couple years ago) had one IG line in the facility. Guardian did not develop their own IG spacer or system, they acquired it when they decided to build IG's.

    Cardinal has 12 IG plants (over 50 IG lines - all designed and built by Cardinal) located throughout the US. Cardinal also has an IG product development and product reliability lab located in Minnesota. This is where the Technical Service Bulletins and Technical Glass Guide come from.

    Bottom line, Cardinal states in multiple sources that installing an IGU more than 5000' above the altitude where it was sealed is potentially a very bad idea. Guardian (per escape) states that installing an IGU at almost 10,000' above the altitude where it was sealed is perfectly fine. I have never seen that idea directly from Guardian.

    And while I am not knocking Guardian in any way, I would suggest that based on experience, I am going with what Cardinal suggests.

    Unfortunately, Weathershield used Guardian IG's in your windows, so you have to deal with what they are apparently telling Weathershield/Escape....


  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    yesterday
    last modified: yesterday

    All 4 windows that broke are in this thread

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    yesterday

    My WS brochure that came with my windows, says do not install windows over 3500ft without tubes or high altitude glass

  • oberon476
    23 hours ago

    Looking back at your earlier pictures (I wish Houzz would allow a lot more expansion of a picture), you sent two pics of the vertical casement, two pics of one glider, and one picture each of two sliders. Which ones went to Guardian?

    The casement is no doubt an internal pressure break.

    Did you mention to Escape that the brochure said not to install above 3500'?

    And does the brochure explain what high altitude glass is?


  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    22 hours ago

    Both sliders went to guardian, WS dosen't elaborate on high altitude glass, but in conversation with escape they said all windows were made in sun

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    20 hours ago

    And yes mentioned 3500ft non warranty clause that escape gave me. After they gave me the 48hr bs i asked them to provide written documentation from guardian regarding the 2 windows ( 1 pressure, 1 impact) and the 48hr clause. Escape told me they have nothing in writting.

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    20 hours ago

    Escape is adamantly standing by the windows being ok at 10

  • oberon476
    5 hours ago

    The next step is yours...have they offered to replace the broken windows at no cost to you?


  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    5 hours ago

    Yes but there claiming one is impact without any written proof. Plus i have alot of other non vented glass. Huge temp swings of 20 degrees in minutes when a front comes through. I worry in time there will be more issues, the windows have only been up there for 6 weeks.

  • oberon476
    3 hours ago
    last modified: 3 hours ago

    if they are going to replace the broken IGU's (installed in sash) at no cost, then I would take that, but I wouldn't sign anything that abrogates their responsibility for any future breakage or seal failures.

    Technically Guardian is dealing with their customer, who is weathershield, and WS is dealing with their customer, who is Escape. Although you are the end user, since you bought the windows from Escape it's up to them to make you happy in the end.

    As a courtesy I would expect that you should be offered a written report (with pictures) that explains Guardians determination why one of the two IG's they examined is an impact rather than pressure break, and the other was a pressure break.

    Ultimately it really does come down to escape's willingness to work with you. Just because you are escapes customer and escape is your point-of-contact between Guardian and WS, that doesn't mean that either Guardian or WS should be passing-the-buck and saying that this isn't their issue assuming they are actually saying that IG's sealed in wisconsin are acceptable at 10.000'. If they were to produce written information that says that they don't recommend it (you brochure perhaps?), then the whole thing falls back on escape.

    If Guardian or WS claim somewhere in writing that the IG's are acceptable at 10,000 feet then I would be asking (politely) for report data that confirms what they are claiming; that confirms that they have actually tested their IG's/windows in that environment rather than some salesperson or tech who simply shrugs and says..."yeah they should be fine".

  • greggrumke
    Original Author
    3 hours ago
    last modified: 3 hours ago

    Thanks will keep you posted.