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Consequences of a Broken Window Seal: When to Fix Your Window Seal to Prevent Damage

If you have a broken window seal, you want to have it fixed right away to keep your warm or cool air in and your energy bill as low as possible, which is why you may be wondering if you can do it yourself. While you can temporarily fix your broken window seal, it’s not a long-term solution. You want to be sure you have the right tools and materials, as well as the experience to get the job done right. This is why many people opt to hire a professional.

The glass professionals at Glass Solutions have been repairing broken windows and seals since 2009 in Raleigh, NC, and they have developed this guide to help you determine if your window seal is broken (it’s not always obvious), the reasons why it may happen, as well as when you should contact a professional for assistance repairing your window. Join us as we explore how you can fix a broken window seal to prevent further damage.

How to fix a broken window seal

How To Tell If Your Window Seal Is Broken

Window seals are prone to breaking in extreme temperatures and after many years post-installation. There are many ways to detect if you have a broken window seal, which is why it is important to check your windows regularly for signs of window seal failure. If you notice any of the following, there’s a good chance that the seal has failed.

Your Window Panes are Fogged Up or Cloudy

Foggy windows are the most common sign of failed window seals/ However, foggy windows can be fixed on a budget and quickly. If you have a double-paned window, the seal between the two glass panes may be broken, allowing moisture to get in. This can cause condensation to build up inside the window panes and make them appear foggy.

You See Lights Coming in Through the Edges of the Window Frame

It is important to not just check the actual window but to also check the edges around your entire window and window frame to make sure you do not see any light coming through. If you do see light, this is a red flag that the window seal has failed.

You Feel Drafts of Air Coming from Your Window

If you notice drafts of fresh air coming into your home from your windows, you may have a broken seal on the window. You’ll want to have a window expert look at this as soon as possible so that you’re not losing energy and money through your drafty windows. 

Why Window Seals Break

Temperature Changes

Temperatures can cause the seal to break over time. Warm weather will cause a seal to expand, and cold weather will cause it to contract. Over time, these changes can cause a seal to weaken and break.

Accidental Damage

Something hitting or damaging the window could lead a seal to break on the window. It does not take much force to break the seal on a window, so if you have pets or children you may want to check your window regularly.

Improper Installation

If the window wasn’t installed correctly, the seal may not have been properly sealed in the first place. Make sure to check with a professional if you are unsure about how well your window was installed.


Over time, the rubber used to keep moisture out of double-paned windows can degrade, causing the window seal to fail and let in moisture.

Window seals can also break due to high winds that can put pressure on the glass panes as well as the settling of the house that can create pressure on the panes. The use of chemicals can also dissolve the sealant material. 

What Happens When You Don’t Fix a Broken Window Seal?

If your window seals remain broken for too long, you may notice an increase in your energy bill as your window is not acting as an insulator from the outside temperature anymore. In extreme cases, water damage can impact the surrounding area if moisture is allowed to seep in. This can lead to mold or mildew to grow. The longer you wait to fix broken seals, the more problems may arise and the likelihood you can repair them decreases.

Broken Window Seals on Double-Paned Windows

The impact of a broken seal on a window can be more noticeable on double-paned windows. Double-paned windows are filled with air or gas, (usually argon or krypton) in between the two window panes. This gas filling acts as an insulator, keeping heat inside your home in the winter and outside your home in the summer. When the seal is broken on a double-pane window, the gas escapes, and the window is no longer insulated.

Why You Should Repair a Broken Window Seal Quickly

A broken window seal can open up the door to many more problems than a foggy window. If you allow a broken window seal to go unrepaired, you are opening yourself up to several, critical problems.

Lacking Proper Insulation

A broken window seal leads to poor insulation for your home. This is specifically bad in the winter, when you may find yourself turning up the heat more often as heat escapes through the broken seals. Similarly in the summer, your air conditioner will have to work harder to keep your home cool as the heat comes in through the window. This will lead to higher energy bills as your HVAC system works harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.

Water Damage

Another problem that can occur is water damage. If moisture is allowed to enter your home through window seals, it can lead to mold and mildew growth. This can cause serious health problems for you and your family, as well as damage to your home.

To avoid these problems, you should get a professional window company to repair your broken window as soon as possible. If you let these problems linger, you may have to replace the entire window.

FAQ About a Broken Seal on a Window

How can I prevent broken seals on a window?

Avoiding high-pressure washing to clean the outside of the windows is one way to prevent broken window seals. The water pressure can get into the sash and damage the seal. 

Also, avoid using a heat gun to strip off old paint or varnish. The heat could damage the seal, causing it to fail. You also want to avoid using a chemical stripper to prevent the seal from breaking unnecessarily.

When should you replace your window?

There are certain cases where replacing your window is a better idea than a window seal repair.

Damaged Window Frame

If the frame of the window is damaged, it will need to be replaced. Moisture buildup due to water damage around the window can lead to frame damage. If the frame of the window is damaged, it may not be able to support a new seal and you will have to replace the entire window.

Damaged Glass

If a large crack or hole exists in the glass, it may be difficult to repair without replacing the entire window pane.

Old Windows

You may want to consider replacing your window if it is more than 15-20 years old. Even without damage, older windows may not be as energy efficient as newer models for your home. This can lead to higher than necessary energy bills.

Single-Pane Windows

If you have single-pane windows, replacing them with double-pane windows may be your best option. The insulation benefits will increase your home’s energy efficiency.

Can a window with a broken seal be repaired?

In most cases, a broken seal on a window can be repaired. You want to find a trained professional to check the window frame to make sure it’s still in good condition. A professional can best determine if a window needs to be replaced or if it can be repaired.

How do large amounts of sunlight impact windows?

Windows that receive a lot of sunshine are at a greater risk of seal failure. As the hot sun shines on a window, the glass expands and puts pressure on the seal. At night, the glass cools again and contracts. This process, known as “solar pumping”, repeats and can lead a window seal to fail.

Are You Looking for a Professional to Fix Your Broken Window Seal?

If you are unsure whether you need to replace your window or just repair the seal, consult with the professionals at Glass Solutions. We will be able to assess the damage and give you an accurate estimate of what needs to be done. 

Glass Solutions has an experienced team of glass experts ready to help you fix your window seals. We serve Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Durham, Wake Forest, and surrounding areas. To get a free estimate or to schedule service, reach out to us today at  919-772-1007 or fill out the form below.