I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.
For a very long time I avoided buying recreational vehicles that had dual pane windows because I knew that after a certain period of time they would fog and thus damage a unit. For many years there was no way to repair them, but even though this problem has been eliminated, fixing them can be very expensive and sometimes a waste of money if you do not go to the right place for the work. I have seen pricing disparities of as much as $350 per window!
If you learn what you need to know, you will be able to make an educated decision about whether you want to own a unit that has these types of windows. Although I never thought I would want to have them, owning and traveling in a motorhome that included them has definitely changed my mind.
This being the case, I wanted to share what I learned with my readers to help them make their own choices about this issue.
RV Thermal Windows Have Both Good and Bad Points
There are both good and bad issues with recreational vehicle dual pane windows. Read more about the negatives below so that you can decide whether you want to own a unit that has them.
On the one hand they make travel cleaner, quieter and more comfortable, but on the other, they can create issues that are very costly to repair and may even be dangerous if not addressed.
Dual Pane Window Damage and Fog
Anybody who is knowledgeable about these windows knows that sooner or later, they will have problems because the panes of glass are constructed with a special gas that sits between them. Over time, road vibration can cause damage that gives the gas an escape route. When this happens, windows begin to fog up.
Fogged windows are unattractive but they also make living and travel uncomfortable because seeing through them becomes increasingly difficult. If they are located by driver and/or passenger seats, they also present a safety hazard.
The bad news is that this happens sooner or later no matter how careful owners are.
The good news is that there was a time when it was not even possible to repair or them, but this is no longer the case.
Only a Few Companies Do Good Repairs
However, this good news comes with a big "buyer beware" sign on it. Many companies do a poor job of repairing, and offer no guarantees. There is a special way to fix them, and if a dealer does not use it, consumers are wasting their money.
To fix them properly, the panes of glass must be removed, separated, cleaned and replaced with new gas and then sealed. If the gas is not included, the damage will reoccur very quickly. Even when properly repaired, they still will eventually fog. This is why a guarantee is so important, and why so few companies give one!
If people wait too long to fix the damage, the entire window must be replaced because the fogged glass becomes scratched. This problem can significantly increase the cost, so the sooner you arrange for a repair, the better.
Only a few companies do this work correctly, and only one that I know of, Suncoast Designers in Hudson, FL, gives a ten year guarantee.
6 Facts You Should Know About Dual Pane Windows In Your RV
- The only way you can buy one of these windows is If you are replacing one you already own.
- The only smart way to do so is from a company that actually can manufacture and install what you need.
- A properly repaired window is just as good as one that you replace, and it is much less expensive than purchasing a new, custom unit.
- All dual panes eventually fail.
- Early repairs avoid further damage and can save you money.
- There is no way for you to switch from one type to another. In other words, what you see is what you get!
A Case History
My husband and I are living proof that taking your coach to a good repair shop for thermal window damage pays off. It has been almost four years since we had our driver and passenger side windows repaired, and they are still doing well. Choosing to purchase a coach that had them was a good decision, and we would do it again.
Energy Efficient RV Windows Are Worth Having
Although these windows do fail, they also make for comfortable travel, easier interior maintenance and quiet enjoyment while traveling or camped. Now that you have read this article and know the pros and cons, you will have to decide for yourself whether they are worthwhile. Personally, I just love them!
People shopping around for camping units do not have to fear those that come with energy efficient windows. In fact, it is to their benefit to purchase an RV that has them. If a consumer purchases a new RV that has these windows, they do add significantly to the cost of the unit. However, on a used RV, they make no difference in price. Since these types of windows make travel more comfortable, easy, and secure why not buy a unit that uses them. Weigh the pros and cons of RV Thermal Windows and decide for yourself.
If you decide to buy an coach that has them, you will be glad that you did!
Costs Can Vary Greatly
The cost of a repair or a replacement depends greatly on who does the work and the condition of the glass. Some of the worst shops charge the most!
Prices can range anywhere from $250 all the way to $600 per window. The lower amount is reasonable; the higher one is highway robbery. This is why you should always do your homework to find a shop that will do the job correctly and at a fair price.
Foggy Window Repair
Questions & Answers
Question: If your rig came with dual pane windows and was sent for repairs due to fogging, and the windows again failed wouldn't you think that they would agree to they would install a dual pane instead of a (single pane) at the astronomical price of $1,250.00 + $190.00 labor? OUCH!
Answer: Not sure what you're asking here, but it appears that when your dual pane windows failed, they were improperly replaced with windows that did not have the gas put in between the pains, which is why they failed again. Lots of companies do this, but it never works. Also, you're paying far too much for this work. Contact the company I noted in the article. They did ours correctly for about $300 a piece total.
© 2012 Sondra Rochelle
Sondra Rochelle (author) from USA on February 07, 2015:
Tom Kerns: You'd be lucky to have him out there, that's for sure, but he's got all the business he can handle right here...and besides, you'd have to arm wrestle me before I'd let him move his business so far away lol!
Tom Kerns on February 07, 2015:
Now if Jeff would open a shop out west, maybe around Phx, Az. that would be nice..
travelcraftELITE on December 03, 2012: