With winter quickly approaching, there’s no better time to make sure your windows are prepared to handle the cold weather and increased heating costs. How can you know if your windows need replacing or repairing to keep out the cold? Prepare your windows in advance with the following tips to help you evaluate their performance. Examine ventilation, weather stripping, and caulking to improve the overall efficiency of your windows.
Examine Window Ventilation
On a windy day, stand next to your window’s edge with a lit candle to test the weather stripping. If the candle goes out, your weather stripping might be damaged.
In the winter, pay close attention to ice or frost buildup on your window’s interior. If you notice any buildup, your window may not be properly insulating your home.
If you feel cold air coming in your window while sitting near it, it may be the result of an air leak. Your window is likely not ventilating your home properly. As your window allows cool air to get into your home, it’s probably driving up your heating bills. Check your windows for signs of condensation, which often indicates a seal failure that will require replacement glaze or a new window installation.
You can apply weather stripping in your home to cover air leaks on mobile components of your windows, but you will need to look for air leaks and evaluate your insulation requirements.
If you need to replace your weather stripping, select a type that seals your window thoroughly when shut but still enables it to open with ease. While felt and foam weather stripping are the easiest to install and least inexpensive option, they are often unable to effectively hinder airflow and are prone to wear and tear. On the other hand, vinyl is a more expensive weather-stripping material, but it’s also more durable and better able to combat moisture. Metal materials, such as stainless steel and aluminum, are both affordable and long-lasting.
Instead of weather stripping, use caulk to seal air leaks resulting from cracks in immobile components of your window. Caulking materials can differ in price, durability, and components. For example, you can wash water-based caulk with water, but other types, such as rubber, silicone, or latex, require cleaning with a specific solvent.
Before applying new caulk, clean and remove any remains of old caulk or paint and be sure that the area is free of moisture. Apply caulk to the joints within the window frame and to the joints between the frame and wall. Rather than stopping and starting multiple times, try to caulk in one ongoing stream to avoid bubbles and ensure smoothness. When planning to caulk your windows, keep in mind that the optimal time to apply caulk is when the temperature is over 45 degrees.