Drafty Windows: What You Need To Know
Colder weather has officially arrived which means turning up the thermostat to keep your home warm and comfortable. If you notice your energy bills have been rising steadily over the years, extreme temperatures may not be the only culprit. Your furnace may be working overtime because drafty windows are allowing all the air you paid to heat go right back outside.
Drafty windows are the most common reason homeowners replace residential windows. Who wouldn’t want to save on their heating bills and help keep their home warmer in the winter? The U.S. Department of Energy reports that reducing drafts around windows and doors can result in energy savings that range between 5 and 30 percent per year. That translates into hundreds of dollars every year that you could be spending on something a lot more enjoyable than high heating bills.
Is My Home Affected by Drafty Windows?
What can you do to determine whether poorly sealed windows are affecting your home? Sometimes it’s obvious. If you can see your curtains fluttering in the breeze but your windows are closed, you know you’ve got a problem.
If it’s not quite that obvious, you can detect air leaks yourself by using an infrared thermometer. This non-contact thermometer measures the ambient air temperature around windows and doors by registering colder temperatures in specific areas. These helpful thermometer tools are available at your local hardware store to test on your own.
For more detailed information, you can also call in the professionals and have a home energy audit performed. This is a series of tests done by a certified energy conservation specialist. There are several places you can request a free energy audit for your home here in eastern Iowa including Alliant Energy.
What Causes Air Leaks in Windows?
Poor installation is one of the leading causes of drafty windows which means brand new windows in a brand new home could still be affected. If your windows don’t fit the rough opening properly, if the wrong sized windows were installed, or if the window was never properly insulated, drafts are sure to occur.
In some cases, the windows may have been installed properly when the house was built but they may have simply outlived their useful life. Particularly with older, wood windows, the frame may have shifted and changed shape due to moisture variations. Another problem we often find with older windows is insufficient or deteriorating insulation. All of these changes will affect the original fit and the seal.
In other cases, deteriorating weather-stripping or caulking can lead to air leakage and draftiness. If your attempts to repair these areas have failed, new windows may be in order.
How To Decrease Window Air Leaks
Advances in window technology and improved energy efficiency make window replacement more affordable than ever. However, replacement windows will only correct draftiness if they are quality windows with a good rating from the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC), and installed correctly.
Home Town Restyling carries a complete line of NFRC rated windows along with licensed and insured crews for professional installation. If you are thinking about replacing some or all of your home’s windows, stop by or contact us for a free estimate. You can also download our FREE Guide to Replacement Windows to learn what else you need to know and start planning for your new windows like a pro.