Truly, we have here the good, and the bad ... and the handsome!
This is a 25 year old house, with original windows. Older windows can develop lots of problems with opening and closing properly, or sealing tightly, or the fabled broken seals.
Double pane windows are composed of two panes of glass put together as a unit with some kind of a seal. Between the two panes of glass an inert gas, typically argon or krypton, fills the space to provide energy efficiency.
Over time the seal can break. When it does the gas dissipates.
Here is where it gets interesting when viewed with a thermal camera.
The window on the right is good!
It's two panes are properly sealed and there has been no gas depletion.
The pane on the left is bad!
The seal has broken and the gas has dissipated.
But look at what happens.
As a result of the broken seal the two panes are drawn together, and rather uniformly, even on a sunny day when there is not much difference in temperature between indoors and out. As the gas dissipates negative pressure is created and the space becomes more and more empty of gas. Air does not fill the void. Condensation can develop between the two panes, and there can look to be perspiration and cloudiness. In this case you could see no evidence of a broken seal except with the camera.
The thermal pattern that results has been called The Bull's Eye. It is a typical thermal image pattern with failed windows.
So, we have the good and the bad.
I promised you the handsome.
Walking through a door in this same house the windowless room was dark and I felt an immediate chill.
Turning to my left and pointing Mighty Mo, which sees in the dark, I picked up this image! The camera immediately focused and there he was!
A ghost! A really handsome ghost!
I think he's smiling! Admiring him and wondering who does his hair, I couldn't resist and snapped his image! Through his nose you can see right into his cold, cold head. Sort of frightening! But we are near Halloween, so it wasn't entirely unexpected.
My recommendation: oftentimes you cannot see when a window has a broken seal, but with a thermal camera the windows that do come alive! In this house there were five or six with broken seals, and given the age of the house more windows will develop broken seals with time. Interestingly, the thermal camera also reveals that a broken seal does not affect the temperature efficiency of the window panes that much. But the ugliness of what can develop in the panes, in terms of cloudiness or condensation can be bothersome. And the handsome ghost? Well, he follows me around everywhere. I call him Mosby.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560