Information and solutions for a safe, healthy,
comfortable, durable and energy efficient home

Windows

Have you ever tried to relax in your favorite comfy chair only to experience freezing feet and chilly shoulders? All you can think about are those cold, drafty windows! Before you decide the only solution is to either wrap up in another afghan or spend serious money replacing your windows, keep reading.

 

What’s the Problem?

The surface temperature of a window – even the best windows money can buy, will be colder that the surrounding insulated wall.  The draft you feel may not be a draft from leaky windows but from convection currents inside the house.  Additionally heat moves from hot to cold.  You are hot! (Relatively speaking).  And the window is cold.  The window is actually sucking the heat out of you.  Convection currents and heat sucking windows are main to reasons you feel cold.  Good insulated window treatments, like cellular shades can make a huge difference in your comfort.

But there could be other issues with your windows

  • Any window will naturally feel colder than a well-insulated wall. However, a single pane window has the worst insulating value compared to double and triple panes. Double or triple pane windows can lose their seal (looking cloudy) thus losing insulation value.
  • Just like glass in a picture frame, a window needs to be slightly smaller than the wall opening in order to fit. There is always a small gap between the wall and the window. Cold air comes right in if the installer did not seal the gap before covering it with the casing.
  • Drafts can come through around warped window sashes that don’t fit snugly when closed.
  • If you have older double-hung windows, the channel containing the weight mechanism in the frame can be a pathway for cold outside air.

Solving the Problem

Before you spend your kid’s college fund or your retirement savings on new windows consider more cost effective options first.  Generally if your windows are not rotting, falling apart or inoperable there are many things that can be done to fix your current windows or address the real cause of the comfort issues in your home.  Remember, the window sales person will always recommend windows.

Use an independent third party to assess the situation. Hire a Certified Energy Professional to find air leaks, assess window glass, and look at the larger system of the home to idendify the items that are the best value for your money. She will provide a prioritized ‘scope of work’ plan. In a single visit, the
Energy Pro will assess the home and the windows to determine what’s needed – sealing air gaps, replacing panes/sashes or replacing the whole unit. There’s quite a cost difference between these options!

If the solution is new windows, and you hire a contractor to repair or replace your windows, be sure to have the Energy Pro return for independent review and testing. This ensures that your investment has been properly installed or repaired.

 

Next Steps

 

Note: Lead was banned in paint in 1978. If your home was built before then, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to learn how to protect your family from toxic lead dust and chips during construction/remodeling projects. Ask to see your contractors Lead Certification from the State of Minnesota.

  1. Read Important First Step
  2. Find a Certified Energy Professional
  3. Hire a contractor to complete the work
  4. Build your confidence and knowledge by visiting the following sites

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