Drafty Windows: How to Find and Solve the Problem
You may not be thinking about how your windows are performing right now, but with Michigan’s brutal winters, we may soon be experiencing snow, freezing rain, and cold temperatures.
It is time to do maintenance on your home now while the weather is warm. If you’ve been thinking about replacing your home’s windows for energy efficiency but can’t afford the big splurge, the following easy fixes may help.
How to Find the Problem: Drafty Windows
- Look Around
Find all your vulnerable areas, like doors and windows, and do a visual inspection. Look for old caulking, gaps between the frames and doors or windows, damaged glazing (putty holding individual panes of glass in place on an old window, and perimeters.
If the entire perimeter of the door or window is not sealed tight, you can be sure air is leaking. In addition, take a look at the weather stripping on the outside of the house around windows and doors.
- Do a Smoke Test
Air leaks cannot always be easily seen. To do a smoke test, close all windows and doors. Turn off combustion appliances (furnace, hot water heater). Turn on kitchen and bathroom exhaust vents to create negative pressure inside your home that sucks outside air in through any crack.
Check for leaks by holding a lit incense stick around the edges of your windows and doors. If there’s a leak, the smoke will be drawn inward by the negative pressure.
- Use an Infrared Thermometer
An infrared thermometer is a non-contact thermometer that measures ambient air temps. It will measure colder (in the winter) where there are air leaks in your home. You can also hire a professional to do this type of test or a blower door test, which does essentially the same thing.
Quick Fixes for Drafty Windows
Curtains can help a lot, especially if they are thick and long enough to cover the whole window opening. However, many people want to let in sunlight, which cuts down on curtains’ efficiency.
Replacing old caulking and sealing new cracks is needed to maintain your home’s openings.
- Plastic Film
An inexpensive shrink plastic film for your windows can make a big difference in the winter and allows you to still see sunlight.
- Door Snake
Old doors with a gap at the bottom can benefit from one of these. You can make your own with a tube sock and dry rice. Weatherstrips nailed to the bottom of your door can similarly help with drafts, but if you are unsure of proper installation, you may need to hire a professional.
- Rigid Foam
Rigid foam is a good solution for basement windows where it doesn’t matter if there’s much sunlight. Cut foam to fit an opening and push into place. In addition, the foam may be removed when you need to see the light.
When to Replace Drafty Windows
The bottom line is if your windows are drafty and you’ve sealed them the best you can, if they don’t open and close easily or you’re tired of painting them, it may be time to save up for new windows. You could lower your energy bill by 7-15%.
If you are experiencing any of these situations, contact Renovations Roofing & Remodeling, Inc. to come and take a look.