Testing of windows and curtainwalls for water leaks can be done at various times for various reasons:
Window & Curtainwall Water Leak Testing for Product Certification
This test is performed on a new window in a lab as a part of a larger product certification program which also includes air infiltration, structural strength and a host of other tests depending upon product type. Windows that are tested according to AAMA standards usually car y a label stating information about the certification.
Window & Curtainwall Water Leak Testing for Quality Assurance
This testing would be specified in Project Specifications. A specifier might write, for instance, that newly installed windows are tested in the field for air infiltration and water penetration at 25%, 50% and 75% completion. The specifier might also state how many windows are to be tested each time, and the specified test pressures and results.
Window & Curtainwall Water Leak Testing for Diagnostic Purposes
This type of testing occurs when something goes wrong. Water leaks are probably the most common type of failure that can occur when a window is new, or much later in its service life. When window leaks occur, a first step may be to perform the same tests that might be performed in Quality Assurance. This helps to define the parameters of the leak, i.e. how long into the test did the leak occur, and where did it occur? This could be called “baseline testing” because it quantifies the starting point of the investigation.
With the information gleaned in baseline testing, the testing agency must get creative and decide upon next steps. The next testing steps may be performed by the testing agency or the supplier/ installer of the windows. Regardless of who performs the diagnostic water testing, there is an amount of art and experience involved. Sometimes it is appropriate to perform the AAMA 501.2 Hose Test, but this test is not appropriate for the crack around an operable window or door. Sometimes it is appropriate to use the AAMA 502 Sill Dam Test. This test can be creatively adapted to apply a water head to nearly any part of a window or curtainwall assembly, given that good duct tape is available. Other tools at the water test diagnostician’s disposal may be the use of smoke, sound transmission, or simply observing clues, Sherlock Holmes style.
Window & Curtainwall Water Leak Testing for Prove-Out
This testing would be performed after a repair is implemented in order to demonstrate that the repair is effective. The test protocol would be based upon the baseline testing, so that a true before-and-after repair comparison can be made.
When windows leak, or when performance testing is required for new window product
certification in the field, these methods are used:
Window Water Testing Standards…
Standard Test Method for Field Determination of Water Penetration of Installed Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls, by Uniform or Cyclic Static Air Pressure Difference
Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights, Doors, and Curtain Walls by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference
Voluntary Guideline for Forensic Water Penetration Testing of Fenestration Products
Quality Assurance and Diagnostic Water Leakage Field Check of Installed Storefronts, Curtain Walls, and Sloped Glazing Systems
Voluntary Specifications for Field Testing of Windows and Sliding Glass Door
RILEM Test Method 11.4