Thermal stress cracks are a type of crack that can appear in windows when temperatures outside reach extremes—either very hot or very cold. Often thermal stress cracks appear without a sound and without the entire window breaking. Before you can solve the problem, it's important to know why your glass cracked and how to prevent your glass from cracking again in the future.
Why did my window crack?
Thermal stress cracks usually occur because of a temperature difference between the inside and outside of the glass. Glass expands and contracts depending on its temperature. When one part of the glass reacts to a low temperature, and another part of the glass reacts to a high temperature, those two sections of glass will expand at different rates. If this discrepancy is extreme enough, it can cause the glass to crack.
To give an example, when the temperatures outside drop into the negatives and the heat inside is turned all the way up, your window freezes on the outside and bakes on the inside. If the temperature difference is extreme enough, the glass could crack.
What should I do now that my windows are broken?
Although your broken window may not seem to be an urgent problem, ignoring the crack could lead to bigger problems in the future. In addition to the fact that cracked glass can worsen with time, cracks in your window will leak energy from your home, which in turn leads to wasted money and higher energy bills. If your window is cracked, seek residential glass replacement services from a company like Ryan's All-Glass.
How can I prevent my windows from cracking in the future?
Thermal stress cracks are relatively rare but also difficult to avoid. Your best option to avoid this problem in the future is to replace the old glass with a stronger pane of glass. Tempered glass and tinted glass types are both less likely to crack in the future. Thick glass is less likely to crack than thin glass, so sometimes buying a pane of glass that is thicker than the original window is all it takes. Work with your glass installer to choose the best glass for your home based on the amount of sun exposure that the window receives and the type of climate that you live in.
For more information about replacing your cracked and broken glass, contact a glass installer in your area for a consultation and repair.