These Windows are Hiding a Secret

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Energy auditing these days has become more precise and informative largely due to the newer breed of portable, less costly infrared cameras. Traditionally the major tool for home energy assessments was the blower door fan. This piece of equipment is a bulky calibrated fan designed to mount into the front door frame of the home. Its purpose is to determine how "leaky" the home is and help the auditor locate some of these leaks. One thing it can not do is find problems such as defective thermal pane windows.

 During a recent infrared energy assessment on an 8000 square foot home I discovered a thermal anomaly on some of the windows in the homes living room. There were large cold areas in the center of some of windows. These cold spots were 10-15 degrees colder than the perimeter glass. Checking the rest of the house the camera revealed more windows with the same abnormality.

At first the home owner thought the heat was affecting the glass, but the glass was showing the defect in spite of the heat. (The arrow indicates the heating register)

Not all windows were defective. Notice the window below the extreme left window, there is no spot as well as the upper far right.

The next image is of two skylights. The left is extremely affected the right hardly at all.

These windows were made by a large well known national manufacturer. They are a high end thermal pane window.

 I contacted the company to inquire about this problem. They immediately asked to set up a claim on behalf of the homeowners to replace the defective windows. I said they are not the original owners and the home was built in 1989. No matter they will investigate the problem and replace any defective windows.

I was astonished! Now that's customer service.

The company representative did tell me that there was a manufacturing defect they referred to as collapsed glass. The person on the phone did not expound on this information, but believe I can extrapolate the meaning.

The two glass panes must be moving toward each other (collapsing). This would very likely explain what the IR camera was seeing. The closer the glass, the quicker it transfers cold.

 There were no outward signs on the glass such as condensation or fogging that would have alerted someone to a potential problem. Only with the infrared camera were the windows secret revealed.

The infrared camera is an outstanding instrument for energy loss investigation. It can quickly visually display the location of the energy deficiencies in a home. It can also find problems that may have gone undiscovered. This device used as part of an energy audit can aid in providing a detailed over all energy assessment. Energy audits performed without infrared are lacking important information.

My advice is when looking for an energy auditing service, be sure they utilize infrared. You never know what secrets might be revealed through the eyes of these cameras.

James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

To find out more about our high tech services click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services. Learn more about our energy audits, the Home Energy Tune uP®.
Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.


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Jenny Persha
Keller Williams - Madison, WI
Thanks for the info.  The pictures of the windows are amazing.  At least the company was responsive to the problem.  Makes me wonder about all the times this may have been missed!
Nov 23, 2007 03:03 AM #1
Wes White
Lucky Star Realty - Crescent City, CA
Crescent City, CA
Wow!  What a neat, yet expensive I'm sure, inspection tool.  I would love to find someone locally who owns one.  It seems your IR camera has proven itself useful as an authority.  Especially with a hands down claim from the manufacturer for defects as a result. 
Nov 23, 2007 06:38 AM #2
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor
that was really amazing! When I see a really good inspector come through I am always amazed by the latest gadgets and what they can do! Thanks for sharing!!!
Nov 23, 2007 09:27 AM #3
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector
Thanks to everyone for your comments. Just to be clear, this was NOT a home inspection. I generally do not use infrared as a home inspection tool. I use it for energy auditing and, as was the case here, custom energy loss inspections. The homeowners contacted me because of heating problems and high energy costs. Being a home inspector is a great back ground for investigating these types of problems. With the rising cost of energy I have been getting more requests for this type of inspection.
Nov 23, 2007 11:18 PM #4
Dale Baker
Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections - Claremont, NH
New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information

Howdy James

Thanks for the fine info you wrote for us to read in this post. Let us know if the window company did actually replace the windows or not. Could you let us know who the company is.

Have a good one


Nov 24, 2007 12:53 AM #5
Joseph Lang
Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection - Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Home Inspector, Southern California
James, let us know if the window company did actually replace the windows... and since they said they had a defect with some of their windows, could you let us know the company name?
Nov 24, 2007 02:21 AM #6
Eva Armstrong
Environmental Visions - Tallahassee, FL
Environmental Visions
James--- Great article!  I have a number of people asking me about energy audits - and one of the power companies serving our area is completely revamping it's energy audit program... I'm going to forward your post to the general manager so he will make sure to inlude this equipment and training for the new staff.  Thanks!
Nov 24, 2007 07:24 AM #7
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Those are some great bulls' eyes!

I can't believe I didn't see this when it first came out.

Oh, it was before I came to AR...

That customer service experience is what I have heard from Anderson Windows.  True here?

Nov 22, 2014 10:03 PM #8
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Jay, True here. 

Nov 22, 2014 10:22 PM #9
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