A property I'm interested in buying, a contemporary home in the Western NY area, has numerous window seals

Asked by Nj_dad, 14625 Wed Jul 22, 2009

both on the windows and the skylights that appear to be broken. Who is the best company to contact to inspect these seals to determine if they are actually broken on a window by window basis? Is a home engineer inspector qualified to do that, or do I need to hire a window specialist of some kind to do that, and if so, where would I find that person who is competent to inspect window seals?

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Jeannine Whitaker’s answer
Jeannine Whi…, , Rochester, NY
Fri Nov 13, 2009
Hi! A qualified, licensed home inspector should be able to determine this for you! Once determined, you may be able to negotiate repairs based on your home inspection contingency if that is part of your contract!
1 vote
Thomas Wurzer, Other Pro, East Rochester, NY
Tue Feb 14, 2012
Although a home inspector will be able to determine most of the failed seals, there is no guarantee that they can all be identified. Over the years I have done many inspections where the failed seals are readily apparent when I get to the home at 9:00 AM, and then by 11:00AM, the same warmed-up windows show no condensation or fogging. The home inspector/engineer can provide an excellent basis, in terms of the overall scope of glass replacement needed.

The degradation of the insulating qualities of the windows is overstated. The energy savings reaped by fixing the failed seals (usually replacing the glass units), pales in comparison to the cost of replacing the glass. The economic payback is long and energy savings cannot justify the repair. That is why failed seals are basically a cosmetic issue. No one wants to look through a foggy, streaked window. Manufacturer's warranties should be closely consulted (via the current owner), since these can sometimes pay for the glass replacement (at least materials) if the windows are less than 10 years old, and sometimes when they are even older.

If you know the failed seals are a widespread problem in the home, I would recommend contacting a glass repair company that can replace the glass units without replacing the entire window. They will have the best idea regarding which windows have failed seals. They will also be able to give a repair cost estimate. Having the glass company at the home inspection, as a specialist, would be the ideal situation. Otherwise, they can be called in after the inspection, based on the inspector's recommendations, to provide a quotation.
Web Reference:  http://www.warreninspect.com
0 votes
Gary Kubarycz, , 14625
Wed Nov 18, 2009
As a home inspector I agree with the summaries above. Sometimes broken seals are not evident, but typically a failed seal will exhibit excessive condensation. If they were recently replaced, they may still be under warranty. The most common window failure is the seal on an insulated glass unit. Once the seal blows, the window fogs up between the panes. This can cause a drastic reduction in window R-value and may oxidize the low-E coating, turning it into a high-E coating that absorbs heat rather than reflecting it. In the worst cases, the pane actually deforms, bowing inward, as a gas fill, such as argon, escapes. A home inspector is not required, nor will they likley, to determine the cause of the failure, only that the condition exists. With hundreds of items to inspect, the inspector can only spend so much time on each window. The fact that you have already picked up on so many windows with this problem tells me that the windows may not be of high quality. If there are multiple issues observed, a good home inspector will recommend a critical review by a window repair expert. I would recommend a separate window inspection by certified techs. A company like Ray Sands 585-889-2876, has PPG certified technicians and will provide a more critical indepth evaluation, including a price quote for proper repair.

Gary at SiteTech Home Inspections, LLC http://www.sitetech-llc.com
0 votes
G. Harlan Fu…, Agent, Pittsford, NY
Sat Jul 25, 2009
An experienced Home Inspector, who by the way needs to be Licensed by New York State, whould be able to determine which windows have seals that have failed. It is typically evidenced by condensation built up between the panes of glass.

I have used HomePro for a great majority of my inspections over my last 17 years in real estate. They are licensed by New York State and follow ASHI guidelines for their inspections. The best three there that I am very familiar with are George, Chris , and Steve.

There are a few option for repairing. Replacing the entire window. Replacing he glass and using the existing window frame. Or adding a "valve' to the window that vents the condensation out.


Harlan Furbush
Associate Broker
RE/MAX Realty Group
Web Reference:  http://rochesterhomepro.com/
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Thu Jul 23, 2009

The home inspector should be able to provide you with a clear understanding of the efficiency of the windows in question. Our recommendation is when you schedule the home inspection, make the inspector aware your concerns with the property. Ask him up front, if he is qualified to provide you with accurate window information.

Best regards,
The Eckler team
0 votes
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