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What Window Film Can’t Do

August 12, 2014 | 0 comments

The right window film can improve the insulating capacity of existing commercial windows by up to 92% – an impressive and impactful number. Installing newer low-e films can offer single-pane windows the same insulating performance as double-pane windows, and provide double-pane windows the same insulating performance as triple-pane windows.

Despite what high-performance window film can do – reduce solar heat gain during warmer months, keep heat indoors during cooler months, decrease HVAC loads, reduce glare, eliminate hot/cold spots, lessen reliance on electric lighting, and maintain outdoor views – there are some window problems that window film isn’t meant to solve.

Before you decide that low-e window film is the right solution for your commercial building, make sure you’re not experiencing one of these issues:

  • Moisture/condensation/mold. Window film can keep solar heat gain and glare out of your building, but it won’t keep moisture out when window seals or frames are damaged, ineffective, or failing due to age or poor window design.
  • Air leakage. Drafts due to high winds, pressurization problems, or poor seals or gaskets often result in reduced comfort levels for tenants and occupants. While low-e window film may improve interior comfort levels as they relate to solar heat gain and hot/cold spots, it wasn’t designed to reduce or eliminate drafts or pressurization issues.
  • Cracked or failed glass. Security window film is designed to hold glass in place upon impact, preventing or slowing glass breakage when a window is shattered (whether accidentally or on purpose). However, if existing window glass already has cracks, applying window film over the cracks won’t solve the problem – the window glass still needs to be replaced.
  • Structural inadequacy. If the existing window system (including connections) isn’t structurally adequate, is deteriorating, or doesn’t effectively accommodate building movement and structural loadings, this can affect window performance (and safety). Window film does improve window performance as it relates to insulating power; however, window film can’t improve or repair the window’s overall structure. If your windows are structurally inadequate, you’ll need to look at solutions beyond window film to solve this problem.

If your facility is encountering some of these window problems, then window replacement may be the right answer. Make sure you identify the real reasons behind window problems before you invest in new windows or window film. Conduct window surveys, including a visual inspection of both the interior and exterior, to look for damage (or conditions that may cause damage in the future). Also talk to tenants and occupants about what they experience during the course of a workday.

Have you experienced any of these window problems? How did you determine the true cause?

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