VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - A Virginia Beach woman called 10 On Your Side after she learned her energy saving windows melted the siding on the house next door.
Georgina Egas bought her home from a bank in 2009 after a foreclosure. Because of that, she does not have information about the origin of her windows, which seem to be a major player in the melted mess.
"I noticed two summers ago that their siding looked funky," Egas said, talking about her neighbor's home.
When she alerted the neighbors, they came out to see for themselves.
"We came out and looked at it and it looked like it was melting!" Egas' neighbor Beth Hall said.
The source of the problem are energy saving windows, known as "low-E" or "low emmittance" windows. Their concave shape causes sunlight to reflect in a focused beam, and, consequently, melts materials in the beam's path.
"I didn't know what to say," Egas said. "I told people and they told me that was absolutely absurd and they had never heard of such a thing."
But, the phenomenon is real and well-documented by the National Association of Home Builders, which reports it has happened in other states.
"The concavity can reflect sunlight much as a magnifying glass does," the NAHB's David Crump said. "The heat from this focused light can reach temperatures in excess of 200 degrees."
Egas used a temperature gauge on her neighbor's home Tuesday and recorded temperatures as high as 250 degrees. The siding that was not in the sunlight gave a reading of 28 degrees.
Residents find themselves marveling at the numbers. Even thousands of dollars of new siding can't stop Mother Nature from melting it again.
"I really want it to be solved," Egas said. "I don't want to put something in there and have it do the same thing. I want it corrected."
Experts advise concerned homeowners, like Egas, install a screen on the outside of the window to diffuse the light. Egas plans to try it. And, if it works, the neighbors will have the siding replaced, using their own money.
Experts say this is a rare phenomenon that can happen with any double pane window, but appears to be exacerbated by the "low-e" materials. To protect yourself, ask about diffusers when you buy any type of double paned window.
Read the full report released by the NAHB here .
None of the homes affected by the phenomenon caught fire.
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