Reuben's Home Inspection Blog


Foggy Glass? You Don't Need A New Window.

Fogged Window
Fogged windows can be a real... nuisance (no bad puns today).   Fogged glass makes windows look constantly dirty, and some windows get so cloudy that you can't even see through them.  These windows will also have a lower insulating value, but not by much.  While replacing the window is usually most people's first instinct, this isn't always the best approach.  A couple other options would to replace just the pane or have the window serviced to make it look clean again.

Replace The Pane
Rather than replacing the entire window, you can replace just the defective pane.  Most newer double-hung windows have sashes that can be easily removed without any tools.  Major manufacturers such as PellaAnderson, and Marvin all have 20 year warranties on their glass.  If a window less than 20 years old develops foggy glass, contact the manufacturer.  If the window is older than 20 years, you can still replace the pane for less money than it would cost to rip out and replace the window, but you'll need a window specialist to do the work.

Service The Pane
Some window repair companies, such as Window Medics, will repair alter windows with broken seals to make them look good again.  This process consists of drilling a couple tiny holes in the glass, washing out the inside of the window panes to clean up the 'fogginess', and then installing tiny vents in the holes to allow the window to breath.  The window will no longer be foggy, and it will stay clean.  The downside to this repair is that the window will have a slightly lower insulating value than it had before the glass fogged over, but this will cost much less than replacing the window.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections - Email - Home Inspector Saint Paul 

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Comment balloon 15 commentsReuben Saltzman • August 18 2009 06:16AM


I've worked with a company for a while that does the repair to remove fog. From what I've been told the fog can be removed, if caught early on, but if you have the water streaks it's past the point of that type of repair. Even so being able to replace a single pane is an excellent option.

Posted by Vince Santos, Southeast Michigan Home Inspector (StepByStep Home Services LC) almost 11 years ago

Any idea on what the cost difference, "replacement of the pane versus the fog "abatement" approach is?

Posted by Harold Miller, Certified Professional Home Inspector (Miller Home Inspection) almost 11 years ago

Vince - I've heard the same thing about the bad streaks.

Harold - I've never price shopped replacement panes from the 3 major manufacturers that I  listed in my blog, but I have shopped prices from American Craftsman (Home Depot's vinyl window).  They charge 1/3 the price of the window for a new sash on a double-hung window.  The fog abatement costs about 1/3 to 1/2 the price of a replacement window.  A new sash is clearly the best option if it's an easy replacement.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 11 years ago

Some can even be done yourself for quite a bit less.

In additon, some of the panes (such as the tilt-outs) can be removed and taken to the glass store to be done there.  Again more economical than having the glass guy come to the house.

I'm not keen on the cleaning as it removes a bit of the insulating value.

Posted by Erby Crofutt, The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY (B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( almost 11 years ago

Hi Reuben good post. Very useful information. I have been telling my clients this for quite some time but as you stated most feel the window should be replaced right away. Also, I referred a deck inspection your way in the metro area on Monday, I believe Maple Grove. Hopefully he books with you. Figured I'd send the work to a fellow good inspector. Keep posting good info Reuben.

Posted by Randy King (Prokore Inspections) almost 11 years ago

Erby - very true.

Randy - Thank you for the referral, much appreciated!  I scheduled the deck inspection for Friday.  

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 11 years ago

I have seen the "fix" to the foggy glass and it works very well. It is a real cost saver for folks on a tight budget. Thanks for reminding me that this option is available, I haven't seen it used for a while. 

Posted by Jerry Spicer (Sonoran Property Inspections LLC) almost 11 years ago

And I'm all out of Windex this morning. I shall put it on my grocery list for later today.

Great post, Reuben.

Posted by Not a real person almost 11 years ago

Thanks.  I always said to replace but I guess alternatives could work.

Posted by Gene Allen, Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate (Fathom Realty) almost 11 years ago

Russel - thanks for reading!

Gene - replacement is a great option if the windows are all going to be replaced soon.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) almost 11 years ago

Reuben another side note regarding the cleaning method---it can only be done on windows that are not tempered glass. and also that don't have the intercept type spacers.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 11 years ago

Hello Reuben,

Good information & post!  Thank you for sharing! 



Posted by Rita Minion (O'Brien Realty) over 10 years ago

Thanks for sharing!! This is perfect for foggy glass repair Services

Posted by Jed Hovis almost 4 years ago


Hope you are having an awesome day!

Nice Blog... Thanks for the sharing!!

Have Nice Day

I am waiting for next posting.

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Posted by Alice Ramirez over 3 years ago

This is a comprehensive and helpful article...Thanks!!!

Posted by Maria Otero over 3 years ago