RSIP Odorous Windows

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Odorous windows have been reported by a small percentage of homeowners who have participated in the Residential Sound Insulation Program (RSIP or Program). To resolve this issue, the State of Illinois has enacted legislation to provide funding for the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) to replace windows and doors with entirely new windows and doors at homes where an offensive odor was confirmed.

If you have noticed odors emitting from your RSIP-installed windows or doors, the CDA encourages you to request an odor inspection by contacting the RSIP Program Office via e-mail at customerservice@cmcpartners-rsip.com or via telephone call to 773.838.5632 for homes near Midway or 773.894.3636 for homes near O’Hare. The Program Office will then coordinate with you to schedule an odor inspection. If an odor is confirmed, your home is eligible to receive replacement windows and doors.


​Odorous Windows Overview and Timeline

For 25 years, the RSIP has worked to mitigate airport noise on behalf of the communities near Chicago’s airports. The Program is designed to reduce the effects of aircraft noise inside the home, with the goal of achieving a quieter environment and better quality of life for residents located within the highest impacted areas affected by aircraft noise. To date, the City of Chicago (City) has sound-insulated more than 21,000 homes near O’Hare and Midway. Of the homes insulated, less than 4% of homes have experienced a confirmed issue with odorous windows.

Prior to 2017, the CDA received complaints of odorous windows at three homes; two near Midway and one near O’Hare. The windows at these homes were manufactured by Sound Solutions Windows & Doors, LLC (Sound Solutions). Sound Solutions closed its window manufacturing facility in June 2014. At that time, there were 99,377 windows in warranty at 6,352 homes. Sound Solutions failed to honor those warranties, so the CDA decided to address the warranty service for homeowners who contact the Program Office by issuing field orders to current construction contractors. These warranty service repairs started in June 2014 and continue to be performed on windows that have safety, security, or water infiltration issues.

The RSIP-installed vinyl windows come with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty. The RSIP last installed windows manufactured by Sound Solutions in April 2014; therefore, the warranties for the last of those windows will expire in April 2024.
The complaints of odor from windows in three homes prior to 2017 seemed to be anomalies within the 18,700 homes that were sound-insulated at that time. However, several new complaints of odors from windows were received in the Spring and Summer of 2017. In order to respond to community concerns, the CDA established an odor inspection protocol and made a commitment to replace windows in homes with confirmed odor as funds allowed.

In the CDA’s efforts to determine the root cause of the odor and evaluate whether there are any health hazards with the odors, a comprehensive testing program was started in June 2017. Two independent expert firms, an industrial hygiene firm and an architectural testing firm, conducted laboratory testing of select windows that were emitting an odor, and in-home testing at homes where the homeowner agreed to allow the City to replace the RSIP-installed windows with new windows. At the conclusion of testing, the industrial hygiene firm concluded that there is no evidence that RSIP window products or the odors emitted from them pose a threat to health. Through extensive testing, the expert firms determined that the primary source of the window odors is the PVC-coated screens found in many window installations.

The City then initiated an investigation to determine what could be done to help prevent odors from developing from windows in future installations. These investigations recommended changes to the window specifications including: the requirement that no PVC coatings be allowed on the insect screens, the windows be manufactured so that the screens are installed outboard of all panes of glass, the windows be installed and shimmed from the inside and outside of the building, and that testing for odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is required for representative vinyl windows and vinyl sliding glass doors before they are manufactured for future construction contracts. The CDA’s technical specifications have been revised to incorporate these recommendations and will be included in future construction contracts.

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Window and Door Replacements

To date, the CDA has confirmed odor being emitted from previously installed RSIP windows and doors in over 800 homes. In June 2019, the State of Illinois created the “State Aviation Program Fund and the Sound-Reducing Windows and Doors Replacement Fund” (Illinois Statute 30 ILCS 105/6z-20.1) to provide a source of funding for the CDA to replace windows and doors at homes. Separately, the State of Illinois enacted legislation identifying eligibility criteria for residences to receive replacement windows and doors, and creating an advisory committee (the “Residential Sound Insulation Program Advisory Committee”) to confirm which residences are eligible and determine the order in which homes are to receive window and door replacements (Illinois Statute 65 ILCS 5/11-101-3). The CDA and the Residential Sound Insulation Program Advisory Committee are developing a process to replace odorous windows and doors. The CDA will make more information about this process available to the public as it develops.

Once the odorous window and door replacement process is finalized, the CDA will publish and send written notification to RSIP participants informing them of next steps. The participant will need to contact the Program Office, within six (6) months of the date written notification is published and mailed, to schedule an in-home odor inspection to assess eligibility for replacement windows and doors. This notification has not yet been sent to homeowners. Residents in homes where offensive odors have already been confirmed do not need to request an additional odor inspection. The right to request an odor inspection and seek replacement is not affected by any odor-related claims made or odor-related products received from the RSIP prior to June 5, 2019 (the date that the state statute took effect).

​Additional Information

In 2017 and 2018 the City of Chicago ordered testing to determine the source of odors associated with some of the vinyl windows installed as part of the RSIP. All of the testing reports are provided below. 

January 2018

CDA Letter to Midway homeowners (January 10, 2018)​ 
CDA Press Release (January 12, 2018)​ 


June 2020

Illinois statutes 30 ILCS 105/6z-20.1 and 65 ILCS 5/11-101-3 are amended for window and door replacements. For reference, the current versions of the statutes are provided at the links below:

The following links to excerpts of the Illinois Public Acts highlight the amendments that were incorporated into the Illinois statutes linked above:

If your question has not been answered on this page​, please submit your question to the Residential Sound Insulation Program, via e-mail at customerservice@cmcpartners-rsip.com​ or call 773.838.5632 for homes near Midway and call 773.894.3636 for homes near O’Hare.

Common Que​stions related to Odorous Window Issues

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​QO01: There is an odor coming from my windows or doors and I want an odor inspection. When can I get an appointment?
AO01: Please contact the Residential Sound Insulation Program (RSIP) office to schedule an odor inspection for your windows or doors. For residents near Midway, please call .773.838.5632. For residents near O’Hare, please call 773.894.3636. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the RSIP, under the guidance of the CDA, has developed a protocol of procedures for safely resuming in-home appointments. The protocol includes a list of health-related questions that we will ask you before an appointment can occur. We can send you a copy of the protocol if you would like to review it before your appointment.

QO02: What is causing the window odor?
AO02: Two key findings have been identified through extensive testing by industrial hygiene expert Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.:
  1. The primary source of the window odors are the PVC-coated screens found in many window installations; and
  2. Testing has affirmed that there is no evidence that RSIP window products or the odors emitted pose a threat to health.

QO03: Where can I find the odorous windows test results?
AO03: The CDA has uploaded the test reports to the CDA website at https://www.flychicago.com/community/SIP/Pages/OW.aspx.

QO04: What happens during an odor inspection?
AO04: At least two RSIP inspectors will be present at the odor inspection and they will be wearing RSIP photographic identification cards, face coverings, eye protection, and gloves. Upon entering the home, the inspectors will introduce themselves and then will explain the following activities to complete during the inspection.
  • Prior to the start of the appointment, the inspectors will ask you five health-related questions listed in the RSIP protocol of procedures for safely conducting in-home appointments. If you are able to answer “no” to all five questions, the appointment can continue. If you answer “yes” to any of the five questions, you will be asked to contact the Program Office two weeks in the future to reschedule your appointment.
  • Open all prime windows and smell the area between the prime and storm window to determine if an atypical vinyl odor is present.
  • Open all sliding glass doors and smell the area between the prime door and the storm panel, if present, to determine if an atypical vinyl odor is present.
  • Open all prime doors or storm doors to determine if an atypical odor is present between the prime door and the storm door.
  • Prepare a report that summarizes the results of the odor inspection.
  • The inspectors will review the report with you and answer any questions that you may have.
  • You will be given a copy of the report for your records.

QO05: The inspectors who came to check for odors determined that my windows and doors do not smell, but I disagree. What can be done?
AO05: Please contact the RSIP office at 773.838.5632 for Midway homes or 773.894.3636 for O’Hare homes, if you detect an odor from the windows or doors in the future, so that a Customer Service Representative can schedule another odor inspection. A notice will be mailed at a later date to each homeowner who participated in the RSIP describing the process and deadlines for requesting odor inspections, which will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed odor.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the RSIP, under the guidance of the CDA, has developed a protocol of procedures for safely resuming in-home appointments. The protocol includes a list of health-related questions that we will ask you before an appointment can occur. We can send you a copy of the protocol if you would like to review it before your appointment.

QO06: I received a letter after scheduling an odor inspection. What is the purpose of the letter?
AO06: The letter is a confirmation that you called on a specific date to request an odor inspection. It is for recordkeeping purposes.

QO07: There is an odor coming from my windows, but my windows are out of warranty. What can be done?
AO07: If the RSIP is able to confirm an odor coming from your windows or doors, you will be eligible to receive replacement windows and doors even though your windows are out of warranty. If you have not already scheduled an odor inspection, please call the RSIP office at 773.838.5632 for Midway homes or 773.894.3636 for O’Hare homes.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the RSIP, under the guidance of the CDA, has developed a protocol of procedures for safely resuming in-home appointments. The protocol includes a list of health-related questions that we will ask you before an appointment can occur. We can send you a copy of the protocol if you would like to review it before your appointment.

QO08: Is there a deadline for me to request an odor inspection in order to be eligible to receive replacement windows and doors?
AO08: A formal notice will be mailed at a later date to each homeowner who participated in the RSIP, describing the process and deadlines for requesting odor inspections. Odor inspections will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed odor. If you have noticed odors emitting from your RSIP-installed windows or doors, the CDA encourages you to request an odor inspection by contacting the RSIP Program Office via e-mail at customerservice@cmcpartners-rsip.com or via telephone call to 773.838.5632 for homes near Midway or 773.894.3636 for homes near O’Hare.

QO09: Can I have indoor air quality testing in my home?
AO09: The State of Illinois enacted legislation, 30 ILCS 105/6z 20.1, .2 and .3 and 65 ILCS 5/11-101-3, which establishes a new approach for homes with confirmed odorous windows or doors. This legislation became effective on June 5, 2019, and was amended on December 13, 2019, and June 10, 2020. The amendment that was enacted on June 10, 2020, provides information regarding indoor air quality testing. An excerpt of the state statute that describes a portion of what was amended follows:
The municipality shall also perform in-home air quality testing in residences in which windows and doors are replaced under this Section. In order to receive in-home air quality testing, a homeowner must request such testing from the municipality, and the total number of homes tested in any given year shall not exceed 25% of the total number of homes in which windows and doors were replaced under this Section in the prior calendar year.

QO10: Since the test reports affirm that there is no evidence that the windows or the odors emitted pose a threat to health, will I be able to get my windows replaced?
AO10: The State of Illinois is providing funding for the replacement of RSIP-installed windows and doors in homes where offensive odors have been confirmed pursuant to a process that is currently under development. A notice will be mailed at a later date to each homeowner who participated in the RSIP describing the process and deadlines for requesting odor inspections, which will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed odor.

Residents are advised to call the RSIP office at 773..838.5632 for Midway homes or 773.894.3636 for O’Hare homes to schedule an odor inspection if one has not already been scheduled. Residents in homes where offensive odors have already been confirmed do not need to request an additional odor inspection. If your home has received an odor inspection and an offensive odor was not confirmed, you can call the Program Office to request another odor inspection. The right to request an odor inspection and seek replacement is not affected by any odor-related claims made or odor-related products received from the RSIP prior to June 5, 2019 (the date that the state statute took effect).

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the RSIP, under the guidance of the CDA, has developed a protocol of procedures for safely resuming in-home appointments. The protocol includes a list of health-related questions that we will ask you before an appointment can occur. We can send you a copy of the protocol if you would like to review it before your appointment.

QO11: My neighbors got their windows replaced. When will my windows be replaced?
AO11: The CDA offered window replacements to a limited number of homeowners as part of the process of assessing the odors from windows and proactively responding to an immediate concern. At this time, the State of Illinois is providing funding for the CDA to replace RSIP-installed windows and doors in homes where offensive odors have been confirmed pursuant to a process that is currently under development. A notice will be mailed at a later date to each homeowner who participated in the RSIP describing the process and deadlines for requesting odor inspections, which will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed odor.

Residents are advised to call the RSIP office at .773.838.5632 for Midway homes or 773.894.3636 for O’Hare homes to schedule an odor inspection if one has not already been scheduled. Residents in homes where offensive odors have already been confirmed do not need to request an additional odor inspection. If your home has received an odor inspection and an offensive odor was not confirmed, you can call the Program Office to request another odor inspection. The right to request an odor inspection and seek replacement is not affected by any odor-related claims made or odor-related products received from the RSIP prior to June 5, 2019 (the date that the state statute took effect).

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the RSIP, under the guidance of the CDA, has developed a protocol of procedures for safely resuming in-home appointments. The protocol includes a list of health-related questions that we will ask you before an appointment can occur. We can send you a copy of the protocol if you would like to review it before your appointment.

QO12: I heard that some of the homes that had odorous windows already received replacement windows. How were those homes selected and how can I get on that list for my windows to be replaced now?
AO12: The CDA offered window replacements to a limited number of homeowners as part of the process of assessing the odors from windows and proactively responding to an immediate concern. The State of Illinois is providing funding for the CDA to replace RSIP-installed windows and doors in homes where offensive odors have been confirmed pursuant to a process that is currently under development. A notice will be mailed at a later date to each homeowner who participated in the RSIP describing the process and deadlines for requesting odor inspections, which will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed odor.

Residents are advised to call the RSIP office at 773.838.5632 for Midway homes or 773.894.3636 for O’Hare homes to schedule an odor inspection if one has not already been scheduled. Residents in homes where offensive odors have already been confirmed do not need to request an additional odor inspection. If your home has received an odor inspection and an offensive odor was not confirmed, you can call the Program Office to request another odor inspection. The right to request an odor inspection and seek replacement is not affected by any odor-related claims made or odor-related products received from the RSIP prior to June 5, 2019 (the date that the state statute took effect).

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the RSIP, under the guidance of the CDA, has developed a protocol of procedures for safely resuming in-home appointments. The protocol includes a list of health-related questions that we will ask you before an appointment can occur. We can send you a copy of the protocol if you would like to review it before your appointment.

QO13: What is the status of the odorous window and door replacement program?
AO13: The State of Illinois is providing funding for the CDA to replace RSIP-installed windows and doors in homes where offensive odors have been confirmed pursuant to a process that is currently under development. A notice will be mailed at a later date to each homeowner who participated in the RSIP describing the process and deadlines for requesting odor inspections, which will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed odor.

Residents are advised to call the RSIP office at 773.838.5632 for Midway homes or 773.894.3636 for O’Hare homes to schedule an odor inspection if one has not already been scheduled. Residents in homes where offensive odors have already been confirmed do not need to request an additional odor inspection. If your home has received an odor inspection and an offensive odor was not confirmed, you can call the Program Office to request another odor inspection. The right to request an odor inspection and seek replacement is not affected by any odor-related claims made or odor-related products received from the RSIP prior to June 5, 2019 (the date that the state statute took effect).

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the RSIP, under the guidance of the CDA, has developed a protocol of procedures for safely resuming in-home appointments. The protocol includes a list of health-related questions that we will ask you before an appointment can occur. We can send you a copy of the protocol if you would like to review it before your appointment.

QO14: Where am I in line for the homes that will receive replacement windows and doors?
AO14: The Residential Sound Insulation Program Advisory Committee has not yet established the procedures or sequence of homes to receive replacement windows and doors. A notice will be mailed at a later date to each homeowner who participated in the RSIP describing the process and deadlines for requesting odor inspections, which will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed odor.

QO15: Which homes will be selected to receive replacement windows and doors and how can I get my home on that list?
AO15: If an odor from an RSIP-installed window or door was confirmed in your home, the CDA has all the information needed at this time. The State of Illinois is providing funding for the CDA to replace RSIP-installed windows and doors in homes where offensive odors have been confirmed pursuant to a process that is currently under development. A notice will be mailed at a later date to each homeowner who participated in the RSIP describing the process and deadlines for requesting odor inspections, which will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed odor.

QO16: I heard that the Chicago Department of Aviation released reports with test results. Is this true?
AO16: Yes, the CDA has uploaded the test reports to the CDA website at
https://www.flychicago.com/community/MDWnoise/SoundInsulation/OW and
https://www.flychicago.com/community/ORDnoise/SoundInsulation/OW

QO17: How many test reports has the CDA released to date?
AO17: The CDA released five test reports between December 2017 and October 2018. All reports can be found on the CDA website at https://www.flychicago.com/community/SIP/Pages/OW.aspx.
QO18: Could you please provide me with more details regarding the latest test results?
AO18: Yes, the CDA released findings by an independent expert that confirmed there is no evidence of health risks in connection with the RSIP windows or the odors emitted.

Two key findings have been identified through extensive testing by industrial hygiene expert Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc.:
  1. The primary source of the window odors are the PVC-coated screens found in many window installations; and
  2. Testing has affirmed that there is no evidence that RSIP window products or the odors emitted pose a threat to health.

The CDA has uploaded the test reports to the CDA website at https://www.flychicago.com/community/SIP/Pages/OW.aspx.
QO19: Now that the test results have been released, when will the City replace windows and doors for homeowners with confirmed odors?
AO19: The State of Illinois is providing funding for the CDA to replace RSIP-installed windows and doors with entirely new windows and doors in homes where offensive odors have been confirmed pursuant to a process that is currently under development. A notice will be mailed at a later date to each homeowner who participated in the RSIP describing the process and deadlines for requesting odor inspections, which will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement window and doors for homes that have a confirmed odor.

QO20: Which qualified licensed medical physician(s) at Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc. (Wood) made the medical determination and statement that there is “no evidence of health risks in connection to RSIP window products or the odors emitted”? Please provide a copy of said signed physician report from Wood along with an explanation as to why this medical statement wasn’t included in the expert’s reports.
AO20: The statement is based on analytical testing results performed by Wood (formerly Amec Foster Wheeler), which used multiple lines of evidence to determine the source of odors and the potential for health concerns. Investigation of the contribution, and potential contribution, to indoor air quality of windows and window components included:
  1. Evaluation of an entire window at an elevated temperature (104 degrees F);
  2. Continuous exposure to intense short-term ultraviolet (UV) radiation for 48 hours;
  3. Windows were cut up and off-gassing from individual window components was evaluated in closed containers at high temperature (149 degrees F); and
  4. Air sampling of private residences over a 24-hour period next to an odorous window (indoor air testing conducted during fall 2017 and summer 2018).
The analytical method used by the laboratories, to quantify volatile concentration in air samples collected for this investigation, has the capability of identifying (when present) more than 200,000 compounds. Wood compared concentrations of air constituents attributable to the windows with applicable health guidelines: particularly Chronic Reference Exposure Levels (ChRELs) published by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for indoor air.

These health guidelines were developed using the best available data from the scientific literature by a broad range of medical and public health practitioners. California’s ChRELs “... are designed to address continuous exposures for up to a lifetime: the exposure metric used is the annual average exposure.” For more information, go to https://oehha.ca.gov/air/general-info/oehha-acute-8-hour-and-chronic-reference-exposure-level-rel-summary​.

In its testing and analysis, Wood was not able to identify an air constituent attributable to the windows tested that was consistently above an applicable health guideline. The reports and data on which the conclusions for this FAQ are based are posted on the CDA website at https://www.flychicago.com/community/SIP/Pages/OW.aspx.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the RSIP via e-mail at customerservice@cmcpartners-rsip.com or call 773.838.5632 for homes near Midway and call 773.894.3636 for homes near O’Hare.

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