When the outside winter air is cold, you don’t want that chilly weather inside your home. And you don’t want the hot air that your heater has generated leaving your house. Your home windows are the main way that frigid weather can get in and warm air can get out. So it’s in your best interest to check your windows for air leaks.
Here are some simple steps you can use to find those window air leaks and keep your house cozy even when the wind blows and the snow flies.
Make sure your windows are shut tightly. Cold air can slip in between double hung window sashes or between a casement window and its frame. Make sure the clam shell type locks that keep the window sashes held together are tight. Likewise, check to see that your casement window locks keep the window tightly against its frame. A tight window lock is one easy way to reduce air leaks through the windows.
Check for air leaks around your interior windows. First, turn off anything that can blow air around inside your house such as a stove vent or central heating system. Even close your fireplace flue. Light a candle. Hold it away from you and upright and move it all around the window and all around each pane of glass. A flame that flickers or burns in any direction but up is an indication of a draft.
Check your window exteriors for heat escaping your home. Turn the heat on inside your home. Then go outside each window and move a tissue all around the edges of the window. If the tissue moves, you probably have warm air leaking out of the house.
Look for light. Do a visual inspection by going outside and looking all around your window. Do you see any cracks or any gaps in the exterior window molding or window framing? Do the same from inside the house, looking for any place that light is entering where it shouldn’t. If you see light, you know that air can get in and out through that space.
Examine the window glass. Chipped or cracked glass can easily let heat escape from your home. Compromised window panes are also more likely to shatter during extreme temperature changes or heavy storms. You may decide to seal small cracks yourself or you may want a professional to replace entire window panes.
Check the window frames. On wooden window frames, check for peeling paint that might indicate rotting wood. Also, check the sealant or gasket between the window and the glass. If your glazing putty is cracked, it may mean that air is getting into your house or escaping from your house through those cracks.
Open the window. With the window open, check the inside of the frame and sash, especially the underside of the operable window. If you find damp or decayed wood, call a reputable contractor to investigate further.
Doing these simple checks on your window will help you find air leaks that you or a professional can then repair. Doing these repairs can help you reduce your winter heating bill and even save on air conditioning use in the summer.
For more information about weatherproofing, read 5 Ways to Weatherproof Your Windows.