FAQ: The abbreviation FENSA stands for FENESTRATION - SELF ASSESSMENT.
The uk dictionary definition of the word fenestral or fenestrate is " belonging to or like a window" The word fenestration is "the arrangement of windows in a building". FENSA is used by double glazing uk trade companies to certify that their replacement windows and doors installed comply with Building Regulations Document L (and more), actually checking av. 1% of all replacement windows installations.
Did You Know?
Double glazing and failure of sealed units in plastic and aluminium frames.
Some causes of premature failure of double glazed sealed units in PVC-U and Aluminium frames:
Actually it was a lovely clear and bright sunny day when I took this picture!
Some causes of premature failure of sealed units in PVC-U and Aluminium frames.
(Wooden frames have there own different problems).
PVC-U and Aluminium frames share similar frame arrangements:
There are variations of the above, but that is the common principle.
When a double glazed sealed unit fails...
It is often said that a sealed unit "is blown" or "has gone misty", etc. This means that a fault, and it may only be a pinhole to start with, like a small puncture, has developed somewhere in its perimeter, and moisture is getting inside and between the two panes of glass. At different times of the year there will be different amounts of moisture in the atmosphere, and even in the hottest of balmy summer days the atmosphere that we breathe has a moisture content (humidity). With changes in sonic and atmospheric pressure being put upon the 'sealed' unit, moisture will be drawn in to mix with the otherwise arid interior of the unit through this breach. As temperatures change the moisture will condense into a liquid, which will continue to build up and up, as the liquid cannot escape anywhere as easily as the moisture that is being drawn in. I have seen sealed units that have had several inches of water laying at the bottom of them because the unit is acting like a tank! When sealed units are manufactured they are not designed to be taken apart again in the future, and therefore in practice they cannot be economically cleaned and put back together. When a sealed unit has failed it will need replacing, and the old glass is usually just scrapped.
The most common causes of premature failure in this type of frame are:
Not sealed correctly during manufacture:
Not seated correctly on glazing blocks:
Exterior seals not fitting correctly, letting water in:
Flexing of the framework:
1. One of the BIGGEST mistakes a window supplier or the fitter on site can make is in the use of solid 'flat' packers to sit the glass unit on. All sealed units NEED to be sitting on 'bridge' packers, that is so that any water ingress past the outside gasket will have ready access to egress out through the drainage system of the frame. The use of solid 'flat' packers, and often blocking drainage may well be the biggest single cause of premature sealed unit failure that we see today. Leaded designs let even more water past the outer gasket because of the bumps the lead causes on the outer pane of glass.
2. Any company that (wrongly) does not use bridge packers should at least make certain that their fitters are trained in the correct placement of their flat packers (I.E. inside of the drainage slots, and certainly not over them), AND should also engineer the frames so as to have a drainage slot in between the packers in the middle, as well as at each end.
In old aluminium frames the often used glazing block was with a soft packer, and very often not fitted properly at 90 degrees to the unit, (looked like a piece of 'Spanish'), and this has proved to be a disaster, as the unit will inevitably fail prematurely due to the soft glazing packer pressing into the edge seal.