“Oh, the weather outside is frightful…”
Now that December has arrived, the cold weather is here to stay. If you notice the extra chill in the air causing an upswing in your gas and electric bills, then it’s possible that your home is not as energy efficient as it should be. This time of year it is a good idea to check for areas where cold air could be sneaking in. Windows are the most common locations for drafts in the home.
Addressing this issue first and foremost will allow you to save money on heating your home in time for winter. Homeowners replace their windows for numerous reasons, but since window replacement can be costly, you may opt to do a temporary fix instead.
Find the Problem
The first step is pinpointing the location in your home where the draft is originating. There is one easy method that can be used to detect a draft in your home. First, walk through your home and make sure all of your windows are closed. 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.
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 affordable and an easy solution for those who love to DIY. You can purchase the material for a few dollars per window at your local hardware store. 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 installer should replace your windows. They will be able to pinpoint and correct drafts as well as create a tighter seal around the window. Below are a few common types of window vulnerabilities that you should be on the lookout for:
- 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 window panes means your windows are not functioning properly.
- Windows have an average lifespan of 15-20 years, but they will age faster in communities near the coast.