As the holidays end and winter begins to sic its coldest temperatures upon us, our greatest reprieve is cozying up indoors. Many families take advantage of this home-oriented time of year, using the inhospitable outdoor weather to read more books, play games with the family, or rewatch favorite movies. While this time of year can comfort many people, it can be a drafty time for your windows and doors. Many homes, especially older ones, tout outdated window technology, letting more cold air sneak inside than is necessary. This means higher energy costs, increased vulnerability to colds and the flu, and chillier fingers and toes. While there are a few common temporary fixes, there comes a time when every homeowner must face the fact that new windows are necessary.
Downsides to Temporary Fixes
Searching the internet, you’ll undoubtedly find some DIY ways to keep the heat inside your home without window replacement. These include:
- Shrink film
- Draft snake
- Rope caulk in gaps
- Adhesive draft stoppers
While these options can be convenient and cost-effective in the short term, they can add to your problem in the long term. When removed, many of these options can damage your windows and trim and need constant upkeep and replacement. If installed incorrectly, some of these options can further exacerbate your problems. Ultimately, these makeshift fixes only prolong the inevitable and may even make your need for new windows even more dire.
Aside from a drafty home, your windows give off other indications that it’s time to replace. One of the easiest tests is simply to touch your windowpane. Is it cold to the touch? Chilly windows usually indicate a single-pane window, meaning that the bulk of it has little insulation from the outside world. Even if a draft isn’t blowing directly through the sides of the window, significant heat is lost through the pane itself. A single piece of glass conducts temperatures easily, integrating the outside and inside with ease. Modern energy-efficient windows contain two or three panes of glass rather than one. This means that the outer pane that’s exposed to the elements gets nowhere near the inside of your home, keeping the cold out and the warmth in.
Condensation or Ice
Another big indication that your windows are outdated is seeing water or ice inside the pane. In the winter months, condensation on your windows means that the heat from your home is reaching the outside of the pane. The cold air settles on the window, is warmed, and the molecules turn from a gaseous air state to a liquid. Conversely, if you have ice on the inside of your windows, the warm air from inside is encountering a cold windowpane that causes the moisture in the air to freeze and become ice. Neither are good signs; they indicate that your windows are a serious liability when it comes to your home’s climate control.
New Window Technology
With new technology in the window world, replacing your windows can provide benefits beyond adding warmth. Though you will certainly be more comfortable without a constant draft from your windows and doors, well-fitted windows keep heat where it’s supposed to be, lowering your energy costs. With utility prices rising, you can ill afford to waste precious warm air to the outdoors. New EnergyStar technology provides windows that protect your home better than ever and significantly increases your home’s value overall. In the long term, window replacement is a far better option than constantly battling using temporary fixes that do not work.
Why Winter Is the Time to Replace
For many families, the need for new windows is a cyclical problem. Usually, the issue is most obvious in the winter. Many people assume that they must wait until spring for replacement, but when spring rolls around, the issue doesn’t feel as important, and they opt to wait. The issue is forgotten until next winter, when the process begins again. The major flaw in this thought process is that windows should not be replaced in the wintertime. Winter is one of the most convenient times to do so. Many installation companies run off-season specials in the winter, allowing you to replace your windows more economically. Because it’s a less popular time of year for window replacement, scheduling installation is generally more convenient. You are more likely to find a time that works seamlessly with your schedule, whereas in warmer months, you may have to schedule at the mercy of the installation company.
Winter Installation Temperatures
Though it may sound like a chilly prospect, winter installation is easy and barely disrupts your home at all. Installers go room by room with one worker outside and one inside, allowing quick installation. Workers understand that being cold is uncomfortable and take every precaution not to disrupt the rest of your home. By closing doors and installing one window at a time, less cold air makes it into your home during installation. Likely, you’ll barely notice a difference in temperature while the installers are doing their work. Afterward, however, the increase in warmth and comfort inside your home will be obvious.
Extra Winter Precautions
Though winter installation is a great option, workers often take additional precautions when installing during cold months. Dropcloths are often used throughout the home to avoid any snow or mud being tracked onto your floor. Additional cleaning and preparations happen to the window beforehand to ensure the least amount of time between removing your old window and installing the new one. Extra cleaning measures are taken afterward to ensure that salt and debris don’t stay in your home and wreak havoc on your carpet or hardwood. Professionals are well versed in the installation process, and many will go the extra mile to ensure that a winter installation is as smooth as a spring or summer one.
Don’t waste another minute in a chilly house. Take advantage of the savings and warmth new windows can provide, and have them installed this winter instead of waiting until spring. Your family, and your bank account, will thank you.