Broken Glass: Causes, Prevention and Replacement Options

Broken Glass: Causes, Prevention and Replacement Options

Shattered Window

A cracked window or glass door can be both unpleasant to look at and it can also be detrimental to your home’s insulation. Even a minor crack can have a significant impact on how well your window insulates your home. Knowing the different types of window breaks and their causes is important. It will help explain how to take the appropriate action to protect your windows. With this knowledge you will be able to better protect your windows and hopefully, continue to properly insulate your home.

If you do not properly repair or replace a cracked window the repercussions can be both unpleasant and expensive. The sooner you do something to fix the crack the better. If not, it will only get worse and if too much damage is done an entire window replacement may be in order. A windows purpose is to protect your home from the effects of the outside. A crack makes it so your home is no longer as insulated and it gives an opportunity for insects and allergens to enter in your household.

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Why Did My Window Break?

Confused Man

Windows can crack from a variety of different causes, some are easier to understand than others but they are all equally as troublesome. Sometimes the cause can be very obvious and other times you can have multiple windows crack before identifying the root of the problem. Finding out the cause of your windows damage is the first and most important step in preventing the same from happening again.

Effects of Window Damage

Having a window (or windows) that are cracked, shattered or improperly installed can be detrimental to the condition of your house. In the case of a crack or a full break of the glass you will be literally throwing energy efficiency out the window. Having ineffective or broken windows can have many negative effects to your home, some of which may surprise you.

Less Energy Efficiency

One of the main purposes of windows is that they are vital in properly insulating your home. A cracked, rotting, or improperly installed window will not be able to do it’s job effectively. You may notice drafts in your house during the winter. And during the summer it will be much harder for you to maintain a cool household. The cool air will be able to escape through the lesser effective window. Ineffective windows will make your electricity and heating bills much higher than if your home were properly insulated.

Insect Infiltration

Another thing that windows are typically good for is preventing insects and spiders from entering your home. If a window is cracked, broken, loose, or improperly installed then it will significantly hinder that windows ability to keep the bugs at bay. If you have noticed a sudden increase in the amount of insects in your home, it could very well be due to your windows inefficiency.

Poor Visibility/Appearance

Not only is a cracked window harder to see through it can also be very tough to look at. Even a small crack can have a significant effect on your house’s overall ascetic. Having cracked windows will not make your guests feel welcome and will take away from whatever makes your home great.

Causes of Broken Glass

Stress Cracks

Example of a Stress Crack in a window

 Stress cracks happen when the temperature (inside or outside) changes very quickly from very hot to cold or visa-versa. A stress crack has two distinguishable characteristics; they often start off as very small and near an edge of the window. The second is that over time (If not fixed) the crack will slowly spread across the glass. A stress crack may happen if say its very cold outside and you turn the heat up all they way in your house. The significant change in temperature is what causes the glass to crack so in order to avoid stress cracks don’t drastically change the temperature inside your house unless you do so at a moderate rate.

Impact Cracks

Example of a impact break (Glass)

Impact cracks are the most common and noticeable type of glass crack. An impact crack comes from the glass being hit by something hard enough to cause at least some breakage. Very rarely can a window suffer from an impact crack and not require a complete glass replacement. This is because impact breaks are often more substantive and they can even lead to the glass shattering. You can recognize an impact break quite easily. There will be a clear mark or indent in the glass right where the point of impact was. As seen above the point of impact is where the break initially began. So say the impact break was caused by someone throwing a football right at the window. The center of the break or the indent would be right where the tip of the football hit.

Pressure Cracks

Pressure crack in a glass window

Pressure cracks are the least common and often the most confusing type of crack for window owners. The most common causes are extreme shifts in weather or improper installation. If the air pressure goes up drastically or if the windows are installed at a point with too high elevation the “pressure” from either of these conditions will likely cause a crack. To prevent this from happening, on very hot or cold days when you feel the need to change the temperature inside of your house do so gradually. If you suddenly crank the heat or turn the A/C unit the change in temperature may be too drastic and lead to a pressure crack.

Window Screen’s

Damaged/dirty window screen

Between harsh winters, dogs, cats, children, or just regular maintenance and cleaning your window screen can take quite a beating over the course of a year. While most of these thing may be inevitable in your life, knowing how to properly clean your window screens is helpful prevent you from causing any damage to them. This will also make your window area look cleaner and be more transparent then if you leave a dirty screen in there. To clean a screen all you need is a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment. Preferably you would turn you vacuum down to its lowest setting and avoid making direct contact with the screen. If this is not enough to clean your screen you can also take a warm cloth with dish-soap and water.

Window Sill              

Damaged/rotting window sill

Along with window screens, properly maintaining your window sill is another important aspect in optimizing a home. A significantly damaged window sill could possibly render the entire window ineffective. If this is the case then not only would you have to replace your window sill, but your entire window as well. This can be very expensive and quite inconvenient as living without a window even temporarily is far from ideal.

To prevent damaging your window sill’s it’s important too make sure to close your windows if it’s raining or snowing. Water damage can have very negative repercussions on your window sill, especially if it is a wooden one. Over time they may even start to rot if they have suffered too much water damage. If you have pets you should do the best you can to train them not to jump up on your window sill.

Looking to Replace Your Windows? Call AWS at 1-800-CALL-AWS

At Advanced Window Services you receive a Lifetime Warranty with any window purchase. This means that any window replacement or repair will be done free of charge! This not only applies to your windows but your window screen’s as well!

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By: Tim Connelly

Marketing Intern at Advanced Window Systems


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