How to find and fix drafty windows

Oh the weather outside is weather..

Much to our surprise, it appears that the cold weather is finally here to stay. Although it the temperature may be decreasing outside, that doesn’t mean your gas and electric bills should start increasing. If this is the case, then it’s possible that your home is not completely secure, insulated or functioning as energy efficiently as possible. The most common place that could be allowing a draft in the home is the windows. Addressing this issue first and foremost will allow you to save money on heating your home just in time for winter. Homeowners replace their windows for numerous reasons but since window replacement can sometimes be costly, you might opt to keep them and do a temporary fix. When doing a temporary fix on drafty windows, the first thing to do is find the problem.

Find the problem
The first step is pinpointing the location in your home where the draft is coming from and discovering which window(s). There is one easy method that can be used to detect if you have a draft in your home and where it’s coming from. First, walk through your home and make sure all of your windows are closed and locked. Next, light a candle and hold it next to each window, moving the candle near the seam, if the flame flickers then you most likely have an air leak.

Quick Fixes
There are several ways to tackle the situation, some are temporary fixes and some may be a more permanent solution.

  • Weather stripping – This option is more affordable and an easy solution for those who love to DIY. You can purchase the material for a few dollars per window at your hardware store of choice. Cut the strips to size and fill the gaps between the window sash and jamb.
  • Caulking – Tubes of caulk are inexpensive and with practice, they become easier to use. Make sure you caulk the window inside and out, where the window meets the casing and where the casing meets the wall or siding material.
  • Draft snakes – This product is a metal tube made of fabric and they can be placed on the windowsill or under a door to keep out the cold air.
  • Curtains – Replacing lightweight curtains with a heavier, more insulating curtain material can act as a trap and catch air between the layers of fabric to provide insulation.

When to replace
Replacing your windows can be a little pricey, but installing the right windows can increase the value of your home. For instance, Energy star windows can lower your energy bills by 7-15%. Only a trusted professional window installer who can pinpoint and correct or minimize drafts as well as create a tighter seal around the window should replace your windows. Below are a few common types of window vulnerabilities that you should be on the look out for:

  • Single pane windows- if you have older single pane windows, they are the least energy efficient and usually allow heat to escape.
  • If your windows do not open or close properly it is usually a sign they are ready to be replaced.
    Condensation between windowpanes means your windows are not functioning properly.

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