How Harsh Winter Weather Can Actually Crack Your Windows!

April 8, 2019 5:05 pm Published by

For anyone not from the Midwest, the insane weather of a Minnesota winter may not seem much different than living in the Arctic! But, for people who have lived here all their lives, a -30-degree winter day isn’t anything out of the ordinary, and heaping feet of snowfall is just expected.

Amazingly enough, though, there are still some winter feats that amaze even the most hardened Midwesterner. For example, when cold temperatures and high winds are so severe, they can actually crack a window in Minneapolis, MN! That’s right: winter here can be so brutal that glass fails and windows crack under the pressure.

How on Earth Does This Happen?

There are actually a few ways in which winter weather can send you on a search for a window replacement in Minneapolis, MN. The most common is a thermal stress fracture.

Thermal stress fractures (or cracks) occur when there’s a huge temperature disparity clashing at the pane of glass. For example, if your home is heated to a balmy 70 degrees and the temperature outdoors is -30 degrees, there’s a violent convergence right where these two temperatures meet… at your window. And while most modern windows have Argon or some other efficient gas barrier between the panes, older windows suffer the full brunt of colliding temperatures. The result is pressure so intense it causes cracking!

Less likely, but still very possible, is a window that’s heavily iced and succumbs to rapidly dropping temperatures. This generally happens in basements and attics—areas not routinely heated to the same temperatures as the main living area. Ice buildups add excess weight to the glass and, coupled with rapid temperature change, stress the pane to the point of cracking.

How Can I Prevent This?

No one wants the howling winter wind to blow through a cracked pane in the middle of the season! Thankfully, preventing thermal stress cracks is relatively simple. Here’s how to protect your windows in Minneapolis, MN:

  • Make sure there are no existing cracks! Preexisting cracks are a fast track to thermal fractures. Having damaged panes replaced—especially with efficient panes—will build your window’s resistance to extreme pressure.
  • On extremely cold days, keep your blinds, shades and/or drapes closed. This will actually create a pocket of air between your heated home and your freezing-cold window, stunting the major temperature disparity.
  • Another major catalyst for thermal stress fractures is a damaged window frame. Make sure yours is in good condition before winter rolls in and you could save yourself the cost of a window replacement in Minneapolis, MN.

Unfortunately, sometimes Mother Nature is just too much of a force and even these tips won’t prevent a thermal crack from appearing on your panes. Be diligent in inspecting your windows all winter long—especially if they’re fogging or ice is forming on them. These are generally signs your glass is compromised and will need to be serviced sooner or later.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all in a Midwest winter, the conditions outside could literally crack your glass! For your sake and the sake of the technician who will have to replace your panes, let’s hope conditions next winter are merciful.

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