RSIP Odorous Windows

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

ODOR INSPECTION NOTICE: The 6-month period for requesting odor inspections, in accordance with the state law (see below), began on August 20, 2021 and ended on February 21, 2022.

Odorous windows have been confirmed in a small percentage of homes that 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 previously contacted the Program Office by the end of February 21, 2022 and have not scheduled an odor inspection, call the Program Office at (773) 838-5632 for homes near Midway or at (773) 894-3636 for homes near O’Hare. If an odor inspection was conducted in your home and an offensive odor was not confirmed, you can call the Program Office to request another odor inspection. If an odor is confirmed, your home is eligible to receive replacement windows and doors.

See the ​RSIP COVID-19 Response webpage for information regarding our ability to schedule appointments in homes.


​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, approximately 9 percent 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 over 99,000 windows in warranty at over 6,300 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.

​​

Window and Door Replacements

To date, the CDA has confirmed odor being emitted from previously installed RSIP windows and doors in over 1,900 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 “RSIP Advisory Committee”) to confirm which residences are eligible and determine the or​der in which homes are to receive window and door replacements (Illinois Statute 65 ILCS 5/11-101-3). The RSIP Advisory Committee approved specific criteria and calculation formulas to determine the order in which homes are to receive window and door replacements and that information can be found on this sequencing criteria fact sheet. The RSIP Advisory Committee ap​proved Sequencing Group 1 on July 21, 2021, which includes the first 709 homes.​ A​ list of homes did not exist prior to the approval of Sequencing Group 1. The CDA is implementing a process to replace windows and doors in Odor Mitigation Phase 1, which will include the first 225 homes approximately. The CDA will make more information about this process available to the public as it develops. 

The CDA published a Legal Notice​ on August 20, 2021 in the Chicago Tribune and sent an Odor Inspection Notice to RSIP participants informing them of the 6-month notice period for requesting an odor inspection. The CDA published additi​onal legal notices in English, Spanish, and Polish newspapers. See the Additional Information, August 2021 section below. The CDA published a second notice in several newspapers in October 2021. Se​e the Additional Information, October 2021 section below. The CDA published a third notice in several newspapers in December 2021. Se​e the Additional Information, Decem​ber 2021 ​section below. ​

​Additional Information

In 2017 and 2018 the City 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 2019 - 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:
Pursuant to the Illinois statutes, the Odor Inspection Notice that was distributed to all RSIP participants, and the Legal Notices that were published in the Chicago Tribune, Polish Daily News, Greater Southwest News Herald , and  Fin de Semana, which can be viewed at​ the links below:

October 2021

Second Legal Notices were published in the Chicago Tribune, Polish Daily News, and Greater Southwest News Herald. Additionally, Legal Notices were published in ​Reflejos and La Raza, which can be viewed at​ the links below:

December 2021

Illinois statute 65 ILCS 5/11-101-3 was amended for window and door replacements and was included within Public Act 102-0​678 on December 10, 2021. For reference, the portion of the Public Act that pertains to window and door replacements can be found in the section titled 65 ILCS 5/11-101-3 at the following link:
Third Legal Notices were published in the Chicago Tribune, Polish Daily Newsand Greater Southwest News Herald. Additionally, a second Legal Notice was published in La Raza. These Legal Notices can be viewed at​ the links below:

January 2022​​

A second Legal Notice was published in Reflejos, which can be viewed at the link below:
If your question has not been answered on this page​, please submit your question to the Residential Sound Insulation Program, via email at [email protected] 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: The notice period for requesting an odor inspection ended on February 21, 2022.

QO02: I called the Program office before the February 21, 2022 deadline, but have never had an odor inspection. What should I do??
AO02: Please call the Program Office at (773) 838-5632 for homes near Midway or at (773) 894-3636 for homes near O’Hare so an odor inspection can be scheduled.​

QO03: I called the Program Office before the February 21, 2022 deadline, and had a previous odor inspection, but odor was not confirmed. Can I get another inspection?
AO03: Yes, if an odor inspection was conducted in your home and an offensive odor was not confirmed, you can call the Program Office, at the telephone numbers listed above, to request another odor inspection.

QO04: What is causing the window odor?
AO04: 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.

QO05: Where can I find the odorous windows test results?
AO05: The CDA has uploaded the test reports to the Additional Information section above .

QO06: What happens during an odor inspection?
AO06: At least two RSIP inspectors will be present at the odor inspection and they will be wearing RSIP photographic identification cards and face coverings. Upon entering the home, the inspectors will introduce themselves and then will explain the following activities to complete during the inspection.
  • Open all prime windows and smell the area between the prime and storm window to determine if an offensive 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 offensive odor is present.
  • Open all prime doors or storm doors to determine if an offensive odor is present within the doorway.
  • Make notation of any mechanical problems with windows and doors identified​ by the homeowner.
  • Prepare a report that summarizes the results of the odor inspection.​
  • You will be given a copy of the report for your records.

QO07: The inspectors who came to check for odors determined that my windows and doors do not smell, but I disagree. What can be done?
AO07: Please call the Program Office at (773) 838-5632 for homes near Midway or at (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.  ​​

QO08: I received a letter after scheduling an odor inspection. What is the purpose of the letter?
AO08: The letter is confirmation that you called prior to February 21, 2022 to request an odor inspection. It is for recordkeeping purposes to record that you called before the end of the 6-month notice period.

QO09: There is an odor coming from my windows, but my windows are out of warranty. What can be done?
AO09: If you previously contacted the Program office by the end of February 21, 2022 and have not scheduled an odor inspection, call the Program Office at (773) 838-5632 for homes near Midway or at (773) 894-3636 for homes near O’Hare. I​f the RSIP is able to confirm an offensive 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.

QO10: I already have a confirmed odor and I recently received a letter regarding mechanical issues and warranty service repairs. If I get warranty service repairs, will that remove me from eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors because of odor?
AO10: Warranty service repairs will not affect eligibility for replacement windows and doors due to odor, nor your sequence number if you have one already. To request a warranty inspection, please call the Program Office at one of the telephone numbers listed above. If a valid warranty claim is determined, those warranty service repairs may be performed while you are waiting for replacement windows and doors. Please be aware that the timing of warranty service repairs is dependent on available funding and the scheduling of homes.

QO11: Can I have indoor air quality testing in my home?
AO11: 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 law 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.

QO12: 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?
AO12: 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 being implemented. If you have noticed odors emitting from your RSIP-installed windows or doors, you must have initially requested an odor inspection by the end of February 21, 2022. The odor inspection 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 Program 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 and are already eligible to receive replacement windows and doors. If an odor inspection was conducted in your home and an offensive odor was not confirmed, you can call the Program Office to request another odor inspection. 

QO13: My neighbors got their windows replaced. When will my windows be replaced?
AO13: 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 being implemented. If you have noticed odors emitting from your RSIP-installed windows or doors, you must have initially requested an odor inspection by the end of February 21, 2022. The odor inspection will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed offensive odor.

QO14: 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?
AO14: 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 being implemented​. If you have noticed odors emitting from your RSIP-installed windows or doors, you must have initially requested an odor inspection by the end of February 21, 2022. The odor inspection will  be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed offensive odor.

QO15: What is the status of the odorous window and door replacement program?
AO15: 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 being implemented. The CDA is implementing a process to replace windows and doors in Odor Mitigation Phase 1, which will include approximately 225 homes. Homes eligible for Odor Mitigation Phase 1 will be invited to a homeowner briefing as the next step in the process. 

QO16: Where am I in line for the homes that will receive replacement windows and doors?
AO16: The RSIP Advisory Committee has established the criteria for sequencing homes to receive replacement windows and doors. The Advisory Committee finalized​ Sequencing Group 1, which includes the first 709 homes, and those homeowners received​ a letter informing them of their sequence order number. All homes with a confirmed odor after April 7, 2021 will be sequenced at a later date.

QO17: Which homes will be selected to receive replacement windows and doors and how can I get my home on that list?
AO17: If an offensive 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 being implemented. If you have noticed odors emitting from your RSIP-installed windows or doors, you must have initially requested an odor inspection by the end of February 21, 2022. The odor inspection will be used to determine eligibility to receive replacement windows and doors for homes that have a confirmed offensive odor.

QO18: I have already received replacement windows (or screens), but there is still an odor coming from my windows. What should I do?
AO18:You must have made a new claim by the end of February 21, 2022. If the RSIP is able to confirm an offensive odor coming from your windows or doors from this new claim, you will be eligible to receive replacement windows and doors even though you have already received replacement products. 

QO19: ​I already had windows (or screens) replaced because odors were already confirmed. Can I get new windows and doors because odor was already confirmed?
AO19: On June 11, 2021, IDOT informed the CDA that the state law does not allow reimbursement of cost for homes that already had the odor issue addressed by the installation of replacement products. ​​If odor developed after the installation of replacement products, and you made a new claim by the end​ of February 21, 2022, please call the Program Office to schedule an odor inspection. If the RSIP is able to confirm an offensive odor coming from your windows or doors from this new claim, you will be eligible to receive replacement windows and doors even though you have already received replacement products.

QO20: I heard that the Chicago Department of Aviation released reports with test results. Is this true?
AO20: Yes, the CDA has uploaded the test reports to the Additional Information section above.

QO21: How many test reports has the CDA released to date?
AO21: The CDA released five test reports between December 2017 and October 2018. All reports can be found on the CDA website in the Additional Information section above
QO22: Could you please provide me with more details regarding the latest test results?
AO22: 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 tes​​t reports to the Additional Information section above.

QO23: Now that the test results have been released, when will the City replace windows and doors for homeowners with confirmed odors?
AO23: 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 being implemented. The timing of the window and door replacement work is contingent on the availability and distribution of state funding on a yearly basis, the approved plan for sequencing, and your participation​​. 

QO24: 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.
AO24:     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 tohttps://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 to the Additional Information section above​.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Program Office​ via email at [email protected] or call (773) 838-5632 for homes near Midway and call (773) 894-3636 for homes near O’Hare.


​​