Q. What is low-e glass?
Low-e glass significantly improves a window’s thermal performance and fights UV degradation of furnishings. The “e” stands for emissivity. Heavy metals like tin and silver are molecularly attached to the glass or imbedded into it, and the metal coating acts like an invisible thermal curtain to control energy flow in either direction. Old-fashioned low-e is called hard-coat, where the metals were burned into the molten glass during its cooling stage to become embedded into the finished glass. Since, technology has evolved to favor soft-coats, where significantly more layers of metals and other products could be “sputtered” onto the finished glass and then sandwiched into hermetically sealed insulating glass units. Soft coats are superior to hard coats.
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Q. What do U-values and R-values really mean?
The same thing. U-factors are always decimals, the lower the better, and .50 is a good baseline number. R-factors are always whole numbers, the higher the better, and R-30 attic insulation would be a high-performance measurement. In fact, U- and R-values are reciprocals, so you can divide the number one by either to get the other. For example 1 divided by a .25 U-Factor equals R-4; or, 1 divided by 4 equals .25. Confused? Don’t be; just remember that these numbers represent a thermal performance measure of windows and the lower the U-value the better. Also remember that some structural tests use the letter “R” to represent “Residential” as opposed to “Commercial”, and that structural tests have nothing to do with thermal performance measures. Be wary of sales persons who try to impress you in this area, there is much bad information out there.
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Q. What is the best method for removing residue or other stubborn materials from glass?
There are a few recommended products and procedures for cleaning stubborn materials from glass.
IMPORTANT: Do not clean glass while it is exposed to direct sunlight.
Cleaning with soap and mineral spirits
Apply mild soap, mild detergent, LEPTYNE® solvent, mineral spirits or naphtha solvents to glass either by spraying or using a clean, grit-free cloth or sponge saturated with cleaning solution.
CAUTION: When using solvents, do not use too much solvent. Damage to the glazing or insulating unit seals can occur.
After cleaning the glass with solvents or mineral spirits, immediately clean the frame with soap and water to prevent staining.
Follow solvent manufacturer’s directions on label for toxicity, handling and flammability warnings. Wipe the cleaning solutions on the glass in a circular motion, applying light to moderate pressure. Approximately three to five passes of the affected area may be required to remove the residue. Rinse the glass surface immediately with generous amounts of clean water, removing the cleaning solution from the glass surface.
Using a squeegee or clean, lint-free dry cloth, remove water from the glass surface.
If glass residue is still evident, repeat steps 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Cleaning with toothpaste
Use a damp cloth and toothpaste for glue, pitch, and other less harsh contaminates.
Apply toothpaste to damp cloth and buff circular motion until clean.
Cleaning with polishing compounds
For harsher contaminants and scratches, there are polishing compounds on the market such as cerium oxide, which works well for reducing fine scratches and scuffmarks.
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Q. Can scratched glass be repaired?
Typically, scratches in glass are the result of debris during construction or dirt on the glass. If care is not taken to lightly flush and remove the debris it could etch the glass surface resulting in a scratch. Andersen doesn’t manufacture a product to remove glass scratches but there are companies that manufacture polishing compounds that remove scuffs, light scratches and deposits on glass that can’t be cleaned with regular washing. As a guideline, if the scratch is deep enough to catch the edge of a fingernail, it’s too deep to remove. Sommer and Maca Industries offer a product called Rare Earth which is a cleaning compound for glass. You can purchase Rare Earth from many glass suppliers, or directly from Sommer and Maca Industries' sales department (1-800-323-9200 or 1-708-863-5446).. Follow directions carefully and heed all product warnings.
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Q. How can I get rid of the condensation that forms on my window/patio door glass panes?
The answer varies, depending upon whether the condensation is on the Exterior Pane, the Interior Pane Between the Panes.
Condensation on the outside of your windows or patio doors may occur during spring and in the fall, usually when cool nights follow a warm day. It is a result of moisture in the air exceeding certain limits and the temperature of the glass falling below the dew point in the air. Condensation on the exterior glass panes is a natural phenomenon, especially for energy-efficient High-Performance™ insulating glass, which restricts the airflow between the panes of glass. This condensation will evaporate once the day warms.
Edges or entire pane.
Condensation on the inside of your windows is a result of too much moisture in the air of your home. This condition is common in new homes, where it may take months for the moisture from paint and fresh building materials to dissipate.
This condition is also common in winter. Humidity levels in winter months should not exceed 30-35%. To maintain these levels in your home, you may want to:
check your venting,
use a dehumidifier to remove moisture,
turn your humidifier on furnace down or off,
turn on exhaust fans during showers, and
allow ceiling fans to run and circulate the air.
Oval in Center.
An oval condensation ring on the interior glass surface is an indicator that interior and exterior panes of glass have collapsed toward each other. You need to repair or replace the window sash or door panel.
Please check and make sure the glass does not have chemicals or pollutants on the outside surface. Once you confirm that the condensation is between the panes, you will need to replace the window sash or door panel.
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Q. How do I remove hard-water deposits from glass shower doors?
A. For removing hard-water deposits, use a de-greaser to cut through them. Janitorial supply stores have products specifically designed to remove it. Or, you may want to try automatic dish detergent in a bucket of warm water. The best time to work on this is immediately after you shower when the hot water and steam have already loosened the build-up. You can use a white nylon sponge to scrub. Follow up with glass cleaner. In the future, dry the doors after every shower to prevent further build-up.
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Q. How can I keep my windows and mirrors sparkling?
A. To make windows and mirrors sparkle, dip a clean cloth in a 50/50 mixture of borax and water or denatured alcohol and wipe down. Polish with a lint-free rag or paper towel. To achieve the highest shine and clearest view on windows and mirrors, after washing and drying thoroughly, wipe them down with a clean, dry blackboard eraser.
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