Window repair with Tupperware, Silica Gel and an Aquarium pump...
while ago, the Ivy that was growing on the wall of my garage/workshop found its way
through the seal on a double-glazed window unit, causing condensation to form inside.
About a quarter of an inch of water had also accumulated in the bottom between the panes.
I realised that what it needed was some airflow through the space between the panes, and actively extracting the moisture from the circulating air. I drilled a second hole in the opposite corner of the glass, and attatched some polythene windscreen-washer tubing to both holes, using the ends of a couple of syringes glued on with silicone sealer. I was expecting to have to leave it going for a long time (maybe weeks) so I stapled the tubing to a wood block screwed into the frame (right).
I found some bags of silica gel I had lying around. Silica gel is highly
moisture-absorbent, and commonly used in various packaging applications. The stuff I had
was pretty old, and so needed reactivating by baking in an improvised oven at
about 100 deg.C for 24 hours. This turned it from milky pink to a deep blue colour.
The silica gel was then placed inside a Tupperware food container, along with an aquarium air pump. This provided a sealed drying system, which would circulate the air through the window and the silica gel. The pump inlet wasn't very amenable to attatching a tube, so it was easiest to just put it inside the container. The heat from the pump might also help things along.
(The picture on the right was taken after it had been running for a few hours -
the silica gel near where the inlet tube came in had turned white, showing that
moisture had been absorbed.)
By 9 hours, all the condensation had gone. The only visible remains were some very slight marks where the droplets had been.
After the ivy was removed, I used a syringe to inject some conformal coating under the
rubber seal on the outside - hopefully this is runny enough to soak into the remnants of
ivy and flexible to remain sealed - time will tell, but at least I now know I can recover
it if it does get damp inside again!