Self-Cleaning Double Glazing – Myth or Reality?

Self-cleaning double glazing could once have been described as an impossible dream, but thanks to an intensive research and development programme by the Worlds leading glass manufacturer, Pilkington, self-cleaning double glazing glass is neither a myth or an old wives tale – it can even deal with bird droppings of the organic kind!

Pilkington Activ, was the World’s first self-cleaning glass, and has a unique dual action that harnesses the forces of nature to keep the double glazed glass free from organic dirt, providing a surface that requires less cleaning, whilst also at the same time delivering clearer, better-looking windows, door, conservatories, orangeries and roof lantern lights.

The real secret of Pilkington Activ is a special coating that reacts with ultra-violet (UV) rays from natural daylight (which even works on overcast days and during the night) to break down and disintegrate organic dirt.

Organic dirt generally comes from livings plants and various creatures i.e. tree sap or fingerprints or bird droppings, whilst inorganic dirt comes from non-living sources (i.e. cement or plaster dust etc.). The special coating needs about five to seven days exposure to daylight to activate fully. Self-cleaning glass really is no myth, as its special coating breaks down organic dirt, whilst reducing the adherence of inorganic dirt.

When rain water runs down self-cleaning glass, in double or even triple glazed units, it washes away the loosened dirt away (both organic and inorganic), as the special coating causes water droplets to spread out to form a â€Ŕsheet”, enabling dirt particles on the surface to be easily picked up by water and washed off the top of the double glazed glass. Inorganic dirt will only be removed by water. Compared with conventional glass, the water on self-cleaning glass dries very quickly, reducing unsightly streaks or marks.

The special coating on Pilkington Activ self-cleaning glass can break down even heavy deposits of organic dirt, but does need ultra-violet (UV) light reaching the glass in the double or triple glazing to enable the breaking down process to work. So during long dry dusty spells (if only!), or if windows, doors or glass roofs get heavily soiled, it is advisable to clean the glass using a hosepipe to replicate rainfall or a soft cloth and warm soapy water to enable the process to start all over again. It is worth noting that a period of reactivation may be required, which is usually in the region of five to seven days.

The great thing about Pilkington Activ’s special coating is that it lasts the lifetime of the double glazing itself, as it will not be worn away or rubbed off under normal conditions.  The coating is integral to the glass, on the outside pane of each sealed unit, so it will not flake or discolour, and can only be affected if the surface itself is damaged, for example, by abrasive cleaners or steel wool. The special coating is environmentally friendly, containing harmless chemical substances already found in most UK homes (i.e. in bath oils and toothpaste). In-fact, as only small amounts of cleaning agents are ever needed, self-cleaning glass is kinder to the environment that normal float, laminated or toughened glass, which needs regular cleaning.

Self-cleaning glass panes can be installed on almost any exterior application, such as windows, conservatories, orangeries and glass roofs. It can be installed vertically or at an angle of at least ten degrees, although most efficient at an angle of thirty degrees or more. Self-cleaning glass is ideal for inaccessible double glazed or triple glazed windows where organic dirt normally collects like skylights. Specialists and Licensed EnergiKare Pilkington partners Hazlemere Windows, advise that self-cleaning glass will prove ineffective if installed under an overhang or in a position where daylight and/or rain cannot reach it, as it has been only designed for exterior use.

Self-cleaning glass is an excellent long term investment along with double glazing or triple glazing, as over a period it will save time and money, plus from the cleaning standpoint it is far safer than ordinary glass windows, particularly for conservatories, orangeries and roof lantern lights.

Pilkington self-cleaning glass can be combined with other glazing products in insulating glass units to provide benefits such as thermal insulation, noise reduction, solar control and fire protection. Pilkington Activ is available in toughened safety glass or laminated glass for increased safety and security. Our contention is therefore, that self-cleaning glass is no longer a myth, hope or dream, but a real reality.

For further information, help or free expert advice about Pilkington Activ self-cleaning glass contact Licensed Pilkington EnergiKare partners Hazlemere Window Company Ltd


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