Drafty house? Your windows might be the problem.

January 21, 2022

You don’t tend to notice the insulating abilities of your windows—until it’s cold outside and that cold seeps inside

How do you determine if your windows are drafty? What are some of the factors that contribute to draftiness? How can you go about remedying the problem? What are the best windows to avoid the problem in the first place? These are all good questions.


Identifying drafty windows is simple.

There are a number of ways to determine if your windows are drafty. For the pyrotechnically inclined, you can use a candle, match, lighter, or incense stick. If the flame and/or smoke moves away from the window, you know air is coming through. If you’d rather not use smoke or fire, you can cover your window with a large sheet and see if it moves. For either of these methods, you’ll want to make sure the air is coming from the window and not a nearby vent. Another method is to slowly wave a damp hand near the window. If it gets cooler, you have a draft.


What causes windows to be drafty in the first place?

Drafty windows may be caused by a number of factors. They may have been doomed at the start if they were damaged during shipment or if they were installed incorrectly. If the seals are broken during shipment or installation, outside air will be able to seep in. Improper installation may leave gaps between the window and frame, which is an obvious problem, highlighting the importance of professional installation. 

Cracks in your window caulk can also let in cold air. Window caulk should be checked on an annual basis. Caulk wears down over time—as can the windows themselves. If your seals wear out, your windows will be much less energy efficient, letting cold air in during the winter months and warm air in during the summer months. Another issue is that mold can build up, especially in rooms where high condensation is more common, and weaken seals.


What now?

If your window caulk is cracked, you can apply new caulk. Otherwise, there are also all sorts of short-term fixes, including a number of products like tension seals, foam tape, or felt that can apply to your windows to temporarily stop drafts. You can also apply window film, but doing so will not allow you to open your windows. Other options include adding shades, curtains, or draft blockers—pillows that can be placed on the window sill to physically block air from entering your home.


What about a long-term solution?

At some point, you’ll need to replace your windows. This is the only surefire solution. Yes, this is a hefty investment, but one that will pay off in the long run. The right kind of windows can last 20 to 40 years. New windows increase the value of your home and improve energy efficiency, saving you money no matter what the season. As noted above, you’ll want to make sure to have your windows professionally installed because improper installation can cancel out the benefits they provide.


What are the best windows to install?

This is an easy question to answer: vinyl

Vinyl windows have so many benefits, especially for homes in the Midwest that deal with both extreme heat and cold, as they are heat, water, and UV resistant. No matter the weather, vinyl will not rot, mold, or warp like wood can. In other words, vinyl windows are durable in any climate.

A lack of energy efficiency is a major concern with drafty windows, one that vinyl windows solve well. Vinyl is an excellent insulator, helping you keep your home at the optimal temperature.

Not only do vinyl windows save you money by conserving energy, but they’re also the most affordable option on the market. Having them installed is also more affordable than paying for other window options to be installed. That’s because they are lighter and more versatile than their wood and aluminum counterparts.

You can also think of installing vinyl windows as a smart investment because they boost home value due to this long list of benefits.

Vinyl windows are very easy to maintain, as they can be cleaned with mild detergent and water. Unlike painted wood windows, the color will not scratch, chip, or fade away; and you’ll never need to sand or repaint them.

The fact that vinyl cannot be painted does not mean that vinyl windows don’t come in a variety of colors. There are many neutral colors to choose from, with some bolder options, as well.

An underrated benefit of vinyl windows is their soundproof qualities. Because vinyl is a good insulator, it helps lessen outside noise, making your home a little more peaceful inside.

Another benefit is that vinyl windows are recyclable, so when they do need to be replaced years from now, they won’t necessarily end up in a landfill.


What now?

If your windows are drafty, now is a great time to do something about it. As with many exterior improvements, it’s best to have professionals install new windows because if they are installed incorrectly, they could end up being as drafty as your old windows. The professionals at Keyprime are your local window experts. Contact us for a free quote today.


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