Winterizing your windows isn’t something we think about during the sunny warmer weather. But knowing how to take care of your windows in the winter can save you thousands in the long run. Window replacements can be a hassle, and can be costly if one doesn’t know what to look for, especially during the winter months. Gone are the days when a homeowner’s interest in windows was limited to whether they could find stylish window treatments. Today, energy-conscious homeowners’ main concern is to minimize the costs of heating and cooling their homes during the colder months.
So how do you know which upgrades are best? Or which Do-it-yourself tips really work? We’ve come to the rescue to let you in on a few secrets. The key is knowing whether window upgrades will give you the biggest bang for your buck without delivering a blow to your bottom line.
1. Choose Energy Efficient Windows. Heating systems consume loads of electricity and can be taxing on household bills. Its been found that most of the heating is lost due to heat transfer through windows to the outside atmosphere which is much cooler. To avoid this there are lots of energy efficient windows available in the market which save on electricity bills of the house. Just remember, there are few factors to consider when choosing energy efficient windows: frame, glass, and installation.
Frame: There are a variety of materials available for window frames such as vinyl, wood, aluminum and wood-clad. Each frame type has positive and negative aspects. Vinyl are less expensive but wood frames offer more insulative value, however require more maintenance. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your style and your budget.
Glass: Right now people want a double-paned window with Low-E glass, with a vacuum-sealed argon fill. It’s an extra $40 or so per window to add these features, but they really do make a difference in a home’s utility bills. These windows protect the inside of the house from the sun’s heat and UV rays in the summer, and they prevent heat from escaping during winter. From the standpoint of energy efficiency and value, these types of windows make a lot of sense.
Installation: Finally, don’t overlook the importance of proper installation. Even the most expensive window unit won’t perform effectively if it’s not installed correctly. Be wary of any contractor who relies too heavily on expanding foams or sealants to get a window to fit well — these materials aren’t waterproof and can lead to problems down the road. Pre-installation waterproofing, often completed long before windows are installed, is the best option.
Window repairs and replacements require a fair amount of skill and experience to make sure they are installed properly and work as intended. Having an EPA certified quality control inspector certainly increases the credibility of the job undertaken, as well as ensures that the investment has been done correctly
2. Calculate Your Return on Investment. If a home is sold after some time, one might need to get some investment returns on the replaced windows. Thus calculating payback, or return on your investment, is a wise option before diving into shopping windows. Usually wooden windows with a fair price tag always dole out the highest payback. However, don’t restrict your decision to just this alone..
3. Apply Rubber Sealing Or Insulation Film: Replacing your window is the best investment, but if you are not able to purchase new windows, there are a few do-it-yourself options to keep the winter weather at bay. You can buy strips of self-stick rubber weather sealing at a hardware store or online. For rubber sealing, cut long strips down to fit your window dimensions, then peel and stick to the frame to close any gaps and keep out drafts. Kits for insulating windows usually include plastic shrink film that is applied to the indoor window frame with double-stick tape, then heated with a hair dryer to shrink the film and remove any wrinkles. Window insulation kits are very effective at sealing out drafts, but keep in mind that you won’t be able to open the window until next spring, when you peel off the plastic wrap. These are both a cheap but effective alteration to the appearance of your windows.
4. Add An Extra Sash Lock. Here’s one final tip for sealing drafty double-hung windows. Most of them have a single sash lock installed at the horizontal meeting rails where the upper and lower sash meet. To ensure that the two sashes fit tightly together, add a second sash lock: Unscrew the existing sash lock and reinstall it about one-third of the way in from the side jamb. For example, if the window is 24 inches wide, move the sash lock from the middle of the sash to about 8 inches from the end. Next, buy a second sash lock and install it 8 inches in from the opposite side jamb. Now, when you engage both locks, the sashes will fit together tightly.
With winter rapidly approaching, these handy tips to seal drafty windows will help prevent cold winds from blowing into your home. It’s up to you to decide what your budget is and how that budget will affect how effectively you can insulate your windows and give you the best return for the time and investments you’ve made.