Double Pane Foggy Window Repair – DIY in 3 Easy Steps


defogging double pane windows and double pane window fogging repair coffee cup on a stack of books in front of a beautiful window Middle Class Dad

In an older home, it’s not uncommon to see condensation in between the glass on some of the windows. So I wondered if I could perform double pane foggy window repair myself.

Here’s what I learned about how to remove moisture from between window panes:

Double pane foggy window repair can be done by drilling 2 small holes on the outside pane of glass. As the sun hits the window, the trapped moisture & condensation get released. Then glue small plastic tubes in the holes to prevent further moisture from getting into the window. 

But that’s just a quick rundown of the process. So in this post, we’re diving in deep into glass window leaks and repairs.

We’ll examine the causes, preventative measures and finally how to fix them. So if you have ever wondered can double pane windows be resealed? Read on.

Specifically, we’re going to go step-by-step on how to do double pane foggy window repair.

That way you can learn about defogging double pane windows and save yourself considerably on avoiding replacing those leaky windows.

Co-authored with Alex Omelchenko of Apex Window Works: a home window repair & replacement company. 

Can foggy double pane windows be repaired?

The short answer is yes; you can get condensation out of fogged windows without replacing the windows.

You can, of course, replace the whole window which could be upwards of $1000 or more. Or you can find a repair company that can replace the double pane glass unit as a whole.

You see, the way double pane windows work is with 2 panes of glass that are sealed. When that seal fails, that’s when condensation gets in. So some repair companies will simply slide the 2 pieces of sealed glass into your existing window frame.

Trouble is, that’s almost as expensive as a new window.

Particularly in humid areas where the climate changes are quite extreme, wooden window frames are usually to blame.

When too much moisture builds up in the wooden frames, the wood begins to rot, in time causing the window’s seal to fail. By the time fogginess has appeared between the panes of glass, this indicates that the window’s seal has been compromised, which lets moisture seep inside.

If rotted wood is the problem check out just how easy it is to Replace Rotten Wood on a Window (click to read my detailed article).

Once the seal is damaged on your thermal windows, it cannot be re-sealed. Usually at this point, replacing the windows is advisable, but it is very costly.

However, there is a chance you can do double pane window fogging repair by fixing it yourself. There is a chance you may crack the glass, in which case you’ll have to call a pro.

But there’s a chance you can fix it yourself and you could save a lot of money!

How do double pane windows work?

The way that double-pane windows, also known as thermal windows (or insulated glass windows or I.G.U.s) work is by providing an additional layer of insulation.

This additional level of insulation helps your home to maintain a consistent temperature by minimizing loss of energy and transfer of heat between the exterior and interior environment.

You’re probably going to find that, like most modern thermal-pane windows, your windows have two seals.

The inner seal is there to ward off excess moisture and prevent corrosion, and the outer seal enhances the durability of your window.

These seals will be holding a spacer in place, which is generally a tube which contains water-absorbent solutions.

However, if you don’t want to go into DIY hassle and just want to order customized glass panels and simply replace it then I would recommend buying from Fab Glass and Mirror where you can get any type of insulated glass panel according to your measurement and shape.

Why are my double pane windows cloudy?

On the whole, IGUs (insulated glass units) work really well.

They are able to withstand all sorts of weather, from freezing climates to sweltering heat and blustering winds. Because there are two seals, one can carry the weight of the other for a while, should one of these seals break or fail.

But, inevitably, the other seal will buckle under the pressure and will begin to deteriorate as well.

When that happens you’ll begin to see condensation inside your double pane windows. If there is inadequate drainage, water starts to collect and spread, further damaging the seals and even jamming or rotting the frame (if it’s wooden).

Your windows also face constant direct exposure to the outer elements, particularly sunlight.

Temperature fluctuations cause the glass to continuously expand and contract. Over time, this warps the shape of the glass, causing it to fit improperly in its frame.

As the glass and the frame weaken over time, more air and moisture is able to seep in between the panes of glass, causing the build-up of moisture which you see in the form of condensation on your thermal panes.

How do you fix condensation on the inside of the windows?

Remember, you should only attempt defogging double pane windows if you are prepared to have the window replaced, this is not guaranteed.

Don’t pick a day to work on that is either very sunny or extremely cold. The additional strain on the glass could result in its shattering.

Also, remember safety; wear gloves and safety goggles as the glass could break.

  1. Drill two tiny holes, on the lower side of the outer pane of glass.
  2. Allow time for the condensation to escape (how long depends on humidity, moisture, and temperature) – 2 weeks to 2 months
  3. Fill the holes with 1″ of clear plastic tubing
  4. Use caulk or glue to glue the tubing in place
  5. When the caulk or glue is dry, snip the excess tubing so the tub is flush with the window
  6. The cooler the temperature, the quicker you should see results as running your AC can create humidity and slow the process

How it works:

What happens is, when sunshine hits the window, the outer glass will warm-up, absorbing condensation inside double pane windows which is trapped.

Due to the fact that hot air is expanding, it should move toward and through these holes.

As it starts to cool down at night time, the cool air seeping in will be drier. In many cases, this procedure will gradually clear all of the moisture out of the window. 

Want some tips on drilling holes in glass? Check out exactly how Bob Villa does it!


Before fixing those windows fogging up in the house, make sure you have all the proper tools.

For DIYers, check out my Recommended Tools page (click to see on my site). I know my page will save you both time and money, and I only list the best of the best either what I personally own or have used, or the top reviewed items on Amazon.

I also list the best, and oftentimes, that’s NOT the most expensive item too.


How to plug the holes you drilled (once the moisture is out)

First of all, whatever caused the condensation inside double pane windows in the first place has not been addressed. So, new moisture can still creep in from the source.

So if you have rotting wooden window frames make sure to repair those too.

Secondly, if rainwater gets into your new holes, then your window will end up worse than when you started. Bugs can also get into these tiny holes as well.

If you live in a climate that sees hot and humid summers, then you may want to consider performing your double pane foggy window repair during winter.

Otherwise, when you run the air conditioning, you may find the process working backward and that your windows fill up with water.

So once the condensation is cleared out, we need to fill the holes.

Place an inch of plastic tubing into the holes, which you can glue into place using clear silicone or caulk. The tubing should be the same size as the hole you drilled. Once the caulk is dry, just snip any excess tubing and caulk off of the repair spot.

Depending on the climate, the process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to take effect.

The colder the temperature, the quicker you should see results.

If you would rather consider professional window security film to both cover the foggy windows but also provide benefits like UV protection, security from prying eyes, and reduced energy bills, check out one of my newer posts about whether or not Security Film is Worth It (click to read now on my site).

Can double pane windows be resealed?

The short answer is yes, they can (and should) be resealed to prevent future moisture from creeping in.

IGUs have an added layer of protection from the weather that keeps your home more energy-efficient. As we mentioned above, 2 panes of glass are held in place with rubber gaskets and gas is inserted between the panes.

As the gasket is exposed to rain and temperature extremes, the rubber can begin to fall apart. This allows excess moisture to sneak in between the two panes of glass.

So while you can follow the steps above to remove the condensation inside double pane windows, you will then possibly need to replace the gasket to keep the window in good shape.

After all, you don’t want to go through the steps of double pane window fogging repair only to have to do it again 6 months later!

If you are super handy, you can actually remove the old gasket, get new ones from a glass shop and install the new ones.

However, ultimately since we are DIYing this and not adding gas back in between the panes like a pro could, caulking is a much simpler solution.

Thus, run a small bead of clear caulk around the entire edge of the glass on both sides. Once dry, you can scrape off any excess with a razor blade.

How much does it cost to fix a double pane window?

defogging double pane windows and double pane window fogging broken glass in a window frame Middle Class Dad

If your best DIY efforts fail and you need to call a pro, here’s what to expect.

Just replacing the glass? Glass repair companies, on average, charge about $3.00 per square foot of regular single pane glass.

When you factor in glass, labor, caulking and repairing any damage to the window frame, you’re likely going to spend anywhere from $50 to $100 per window.

To fix a double pane window (which as we mentioned above contains gas in between the panes of glass) you’re looking at paying between $250-$300 per window.

Of course, depending on where your fogged window is located (bathroom, for instance), it might be simpler and easier to apply a frosted window film over the glass, giving you privacy and hiding those fogged windows!

The best part about Avalon Etched Glass Film (click to see current price on Amazon) is that it’s adhesive-free, installs in minutes, and is easy to clean! Just click the link to see size options and check current prices.

 

Does home insurance cover foggy windows?

Generally, no.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies are designed to cover damage to the home which could lower the value of the home or create a hazard.

Foggy double pane windows are just a nuisance. They are irritating, but they don’t present a danger to anyone. They also don’t significantly impact property values.

Also, if you consider that most of us have deductibles on our homeowner’s insurance of $2,000 or higher unless you needed to replace a bunch of windows, it probably wouldn’t be worth it for 1 or 2 windows.

So, unfortunately, don’t plan on filing a claim with your homeowner’s insurance.

If you recently bought a home and it came with a warranty like those offered by American Home Shield, those also do not typically cover things like foggy windows.

Did we cover everything you wanted to know about how to perform double pane foggy window repair?

In this post, we walked through identifying the underlying causes that led to the condensation inside double pane windows.

We also looked at the steps that anyone can take to DIY defogging double pane windows. He also pointed out the risks involved and when to admit it’s time to hire a professional.

But most importantly we learned how to get condensation out of windows, and you now know that double pane window fogging repair is possible to do ourselves!

If you have condensation inside double pane windows have you tried fixing them?

Not sure the best product to clean your windows with?

Why not use the highest rated glass cleaner on all of Amazon?

Sprayway World’s Best Glass Cleaner (click to see the current price on Amazon) is literally rated the highest of all glass cleaners on Amazon and comes with free shipping!


About the co-author of this post.

Alex works for Apex Window Werks which is a home window repair & replacement company which also specializes in foggy window repair. They provide their services in the following states: Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Colorado, and Ohio. Feel free to visit their website for more details. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook for more great tips!

Want to write for Middle Class Dad too? Check out everything you need to know on my Guest Blog Page.


Of course, because of the society we live in, I have to add the disclaimer that by allowing this post, I am not necessarily endorsing the steps outlined in the post nor do I offer any guarantees of the suggested work. The opinions expressed belong solely to Alex and Apex Window Werks. If you have questions, feel free to comment and I’ll do my best to answer, but you may also wish to contact Alex directly at alex@apexwindowwerks.com.

Photo credits which require attribution:

Innerglass-low-e-illustrati.jpg by Maghriby2660 is licensed under CC4.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

10 thoughts on “Double Pane Foggy Window Repair – DIY in 3 Easy Steps

  1. I had my window panes done by a specialist for this problem. he washed in between the panes now I have water streeks. can I call the specialist and ask him to wash them again??? The reason I called him the first place because they were cloudy. barely cloudy but now looks worse than before.

    Hope you have answer for this problem.

    1. Hi Josie

      Thanks commenting. I can’t imagine why he did that as it sure seems like that would indeed lead to streaks inside that would be hard to get rid of. The only thing I can think of (assuming he knew what he was doing) was that maybe there was something beyond condensation that needed to be washed away?

      But at any rate, yes, I would definitely call him back to fix it.

      Thanks for being here and let me know what he does to fix it. I would think, assuming the streaks dried, he would have to spray again and then use a heat source to dry it quickly so it doesn’t streak, but I’m really not sure.

      Jeff

  2. If it’s a window which opens, why not drill in between the panes from the bottom or top (or sides, for that matter) and avoid the risk of breaking the glass?
    I’ve got elderly plastic double glazing and one window actually has water collecting in the bottom.

    1. Hi Luke

      Great suggestion! Drilling from the top or bottom could obviously be done without removing the window (like the sides). The bottom might be the least conspicuous place to do it. The only thing I’m not sure about is if the condensation would evaporate as quickly as it would with the hole in the glass since the glass getting warmed by the sun is what facilitates that. But it sure couldn’t hurt to try and a hairdryer over the hole might fix that issue.

      Great suggestion. Thanks for being here!

      Jeff

  3. a simple question, why not drill the holes on the inside of the glass where there would be less insects and dust issues? my fogged window is a full glass door on a semi heated porch.

    1. Hi Belinda

      I think in Alex’s mind (Alex was the author of this post) the window would be getting sunlight on the outside and so it made sense to drill it on the outside where the heat would cause the moisture to evaporate. In most cases, the inside would be getting potentially cold, moist air from an air conditioner (at least in some states) which could be problematic.

      But what you’re describing probably should work just fine. If you find it doesn’t get rid of the moisture and condensation fully a dehumidifier could help too, but that’s new territory for me.

      Hope that helps and thanks for being here!

      Jeff

  4. What a load of crap ! From what I can make out,this is nothing more than an advert for window film from Amazon . Being retired now from the glazing industry,where I served my time as an apprentice glazier and spent a further 25yrs in this job, take it from me, when the seals go on your ‘double glazed’ units, they cannot be repaired, replacement is your only option, trying to drill holes in glass without the specialist equipment and without having the unit lay flat, putting a drill anywhere near glass will only lead to the glass cracking and needing to be replaced at best, at worst, it’ll lead to you putting your hand through the glass causing a very nasty cut !
    ‘Double pane window’ ? If you’re going to pretend you’re in the glazing industry,at least use the correct terminology , which is a double glazed unit !
    PLEASE, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU ATTEMPT ANYTHING SUGGESTED BY THIS GUY !

    1. Hi Mark

      I can appreciate a difference of opinion, although I’ve always felt like name-calling or ridiculing those with a different opinion is what people do when they can’t make an intelligent argument.

      At any rate, as you know if you read through the article, the post was written by one of the owners of Apex Window Werks in Chicago, so he does know a little something about windows, window repair, and double-pane windows in general.

      I don’t know Alex personally as he, like a lot of people, approached me about writing a post on my blog about windows and I agreed. But I see from their 4ish star Google and Yelp reviews that enough people are happy with them that I doubt very seriously they make their money by providing bad service or information.

      The mention of the Amazon window film was added by me (not Alex) as an attempt to cover the expenses of running a blog. You may be opposed to people making money, but that is a very common way for most websites to generate income and as long as it’s a quality product I’m recommending (which it is), I don’t see anything wrong with it. If you do, then don’t buy it; pretty simple.

      Again, I do appreciate your taking the time to comment, even if you were rude. I also appreciate you obviously make money selling windows, which naturally could make you opposed to the idea of repairing them since that affects your livelihood. But I stand by the information Alex wrote and I’ve talked with people who have read this post and tried the process with success.

      I doubt very seriously if you did anything buy glance at the post and fire off an angry comment.

      I’ll lastly end simply by saying that Alex does indeed mention in the article that repairs like this are risky and don’t always work, but if you’re otherwise going to have to replace them anyway, why not try this first since it would save people a lot of money?

      But I still thank you for being here. I’m happy for you to comment back, but only if you avoid being rude as otherwise it will just be deleted; no one has time for rude people, especially me.

      Jeff

  5. This seems not too bad. I just hope i dont break the glass! Yes, your instructions where very clear to me. Wish me luck

    1. Thanks, Christine!

      There is definitely some risk involved, but by going slow with the right drill bit, you can definitely do it! Comment back and let me kn9ow how it went!

      Thanks

      Jeff

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