Damaged and poorly maintained windows are a major cause of heat loss in the cold months, driving up heating costs significantly. Following these tips for getting your windows ready for fall will reduce your energy bills all season.
Determine Whether it is Time to Replace Windows
Only windows that are worth keep are worth repairing, so this issue should be decided first. Windows that are due to be replaced have one or more of the following characteristics.
They are drafty: If you feel air coming through the window frames, then your windows don’t fit properly. It’s possible that the frames have shrunk with age, and there is no solution to most leaky window issues short of replacement.
Seals are broken: Does condensation build up on window panes near the frame? Do they fog up? Broken seals can be repaired, but often the cost-effective choice is to put the money into new, energy-smart windows that are backed by a solid warranty.
The windows don’t work well: If opening and closing the windows isn’t a smooth operation, the frames are likely out of alignment due to shrinkage, warping or bowing. These issues cannot be repaired without significant expense, and the money is better spent on new windows.
If you do decide to replace your windows, there may be glass (glazing) packages available designed specifically for your climate. Many are Energy Star rated to reduce heat loss. Talk with your window contractor about energy-efficient windows.
Getting your Windows Ready for Fall
For windows you’re going to keep, these tips will prevent energy loss and make your home more comfortable.
- Inspect and replace outside caulking around the frames. This is a major source of drafts and heat loss.
- Replace weather stripping where it is missing – a good tip for doors too.
- Install insulated blinds or curtains to help retain heat during the cold months.
- Install clear plastic window film over drafty windows when replacement isn’t in the budget.
- Fill tube socks with insulation or rice, and lay them on the sills of drafty windows as a short-term solution until the windows can be replaced.
- While replacing your windows is the most energy-efficient choice, getting existing windows ready for autumn using these tips will provide a noticeable reduction in your heating bills in the cold months ahead.