Whether we want to believe it or not, winter is coming again this year. As the temperatures begin to drop outside, you want to make sure that your home is going to stay nice and warm inside. The windows in your home can be one of the greatest contributors of heat loss throughout Alberta’s cold winter months. Ensuring that your windows are properly insulated is the best way to prevent cold air from seeping in.
Many homeowners suffer through winter with spiked energy bills and a chill they just cannot shake because they are unaware of how to keep the cold air from coming through the windows. You do not have to endure another cold, drafty winter in your home, though. Follow along to learn how to winterize your windows so you can stay toasty warm all winter long.
CAULK & SEAL
The first step in ensuring that your windows perform how they should, is to inspect the frames regularly and verify each one is properly sealed. Most window manufacturers recommend yearly inspection and maintenance of all windows, especially if you want to retain warranty coverage. Any dry, brittle, or cracked caulking needs to be addressed immediately. These areas are sure to be the first place that cold air will seep into your home during the coldest months of the year. Faulty seals also expose your windows to potential water damage, which can cause a whole myriad of other problems such as mold and mildew growth. Simple preventative maintenance such as recaulking will not only save you money on your energy bills but costly window replacements as well.
To caulk your windows properly, you must start with a clean slate. Using a sharp edge, such as a utility or putty knife, you can scrape all the old, disintegrated caulking from around the windows. Once the surface is clean and dry, you can apply the new caulking. It is important to note that it needs to be warm and dry enough for the caulking to properly cure and create a good seal around your window frames.
After you have ensured the condition of the seal around your window frames, you should inspect the weatherstripping. Weatherstripping, which can be made from a variety of materials, is designed to create an airtight seal between the glass and the sash of a window. The most common types of weatherstripping available are adhesive-backed foam, tubular rubber/vinyl, felt, and spring v-seals. Foam weatherstripping is affordable and easy to install, making it a popular and effective option for all window applications. Felt weatherstripping is even cheaper to install than foam, but it does not have the same level of durability. Tubular rubber or vinyl weatherstripping is more commonly used at the top or bottom of the window sash. It takes a little bit more effort to install than foam weatherstripping, requiring the use of screws to fasten some types. Spring-v seals are usually made of either plastic or metal, making them one of the most durable options. They create a tension seal that is highly effective, but it takes a bit more skill and patience to install correctly.
It is generally quite easy to determine which type of weatherstripping is currently installed around your windows. Once you have completed a thorough inspection of which areas require replacement, you just have to remove the damaged sections and snap the new material into place. With the addition of a high-quality and properly installed weatherstripping, it is possible to reduce energy costs anywhere between 10 and 30% during the winter months – those are significant savings!
INSPECT LOCKS & HANDLES
One of the more unsuspecting culprits of heat loss are the locks and handles of your windows. If there are issues with either the locks or handles, your window will not be able to properly seal when closed. Wear and tear of the locking mechanisms and window handles is normal with frequent usage. Ensure that you inspect each window in your home by opening, closing, locking, unlocking, and reopening to check that nothing sticks or catches. It is also a good idea to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance on the locking and operating mechanisms for your windows. You may also need to contact your local window installer to make repairs if any of the parts are broken or need replacing.
Once you have ensured all locks and handles are in good working order, you can go around your home and tightly secure all windows before winter arrives to prevent unnecessary heat loss.
INSTALL THERMAL CURTAINS
Sometimes, even with your best efforts to seal all around your windows and prevent cold drafts, cool air can still be felt through the window glass. Older single-paned windows, for example, do not have the same level of insulation as gas-filled double- or triple-glazed windows. As a result, your furnace has to work harder to try keep each room warm enough. Installing thermal curtains is a simple, inexpensive way to boost window insulation and improve overall energy efficiency in your home. As a bonus, insulated curtains also reduce noise, provide room-darkening benefits, and even double to keep the heat out in summer months.
If all your attempts to prevent cold air from getting into your home seem to fall short, it may be in your best interest to consider replacing your windows altogether. Alberta winters are unrelenting, and having high-quality, energy-efficient windows are the best solution to keeping your home comfortable all year round. Additionally, new windows improve the aesthetic of your home, and in turn the overall value as well.
Winterizing your windows ensures they are operating at peak efficiency throughout the coldest months of the year. By taking the time to inspect the seals, locking mechanisms, and handles of all your windows and making repairs as needed, you will not only improve the overall energy efficiency of your home but also extend the life of your windows.
For help with window maintenance and winterization to prevent cold air in your Edmonton home this winter, contact Window Mart. Our team of experts is here to help with repairs or window replacement to ensure ultimate performance all year long.