There is a relatively easy way to break double-glazed windows: a sharp tap with a sharp, hard object, preferably near a corner. In the case of toughened glass, the pane will shatter into thousands of tiny pieces.
Double glazing is virtually burglar-proof as it's incredibly hard to break, effectively putting two barriers between you and potential thieves. Furthermore, the gas in-between the gaps also acts as a shock absorber.
The short answer is no, you can't. It's not possible to replace just one pane of a double pane window. The reason is because a double pane window is actually a sealed, insulated glass unit (IGU). In other words, the two panes are sealed together, often with an insulating gas filled in the airspace between the panes.
Because your double glazing unit has a vacuum, air getting into this is a violent process. If both hot and cold air can get inside the unit, then the two pressures fill the space rapidly, fighting for control. As a result, the pressure on both panes of glass is enormous and, eventually, they shatter.
You can easily remove the double-pane window from the frame without any professional help. For doing this, you can use a little razor or a putty knife. With the razor knife cut between the glass and the plastic or the windows of vinyl.
Use a thin, flexible putty knife or utility knife to cut through any caulk you see and get the stops out. Then you can flip the window and slip the knife between the window and frame to loosen or cut through the caulk. You may have to break the glass out if this task becomes too difficult.
Gone, it seems, are the days of young boys working off the debt to replace a window pane shattered by a wayward football. However, as strong as they are, double glazed windows are not completely unbreakable and, although rare, there are a number of factors which may cause a double-glazed window to shatter.
Spontaneous cracking is an occupational (although rare) hazard of many double-glazed windows – particularly those at the cheaper end of the market. At any time of year, a window might suddenly decide to collapse inward, causing an unsightly (and heat-inefficient) shatter effect.
Considerable stress can build around chips, cracks, or other imperfections in the edges of a tempered glass window. Over time, environmental stressors like temperature, wind, and road vibrations can put those glass imperfections under even more stress, which triggers spontaneous breakage.
The design pressure for a basic residential window is 15 pounds per square feet. Under most conditions, the window can hold up to 15 pounds of pressure for every square foot of its surface before it breaks.
Security and noise benefits
Triple glazing can act as a security deterrent, because it's incredibly hard to break.
The hammer is very sturdy looking and easy to fix in place. Fortunately we haven't had the need to use it yet, but it offers the necessary reassurance that if the worst happened, then you could break the double glazed windows easily.
“You want to go toward the edges of the glass, which is the weakest point of the glass,” Baldi said. “The hardest part of that glass is in the dead center.” He says choose a window as far from the child as possible.
If the window insulation doesn't match the elevation level, the pressure can cause the glass to break. Unfortunately, thermal stress cracks are not a rare thing. Extreme temperature fluctuations cause the glass to expand and contract. We often see tiny cracks appear when a cold spell turns into hot weather.
Any flaw in the edge or glass surface can cause spontaneous breakage. Small cracks in glass grow over time. As the glass expands in the heat and contracts in the cold this crack will grow. Eventually, this change in temperature can cause the tempered glass to shatter.
Improper installation – Sometimes windows will shatter all on their own. Don't worry. It's not a poltergeist. If a window suddenly breaks without warning, it is probably because at some point during the installation, the edges were chipped and caused the glass to sit improperly within the frame.
If the stress gets to be too much, from the glass expanding in the heat or shrinking in the cold, it can crack. “Stress cracks are often a function of the architectural design of the building as much as the glass in your window,” says Bruce Baier, director of product engineering at Pella Corporation.
Seriously though, infrared heat is a great way to remove glazing putty. Like steam heat it helps to soften the putty and make it more pliable so that you can scrape it off with something as simple as a 5-in-1 or putty knife.