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A Guide to Drafty Windows

The last thing you want in your home is drafty windows. They allow heated or cooled air escape your home while letting in outside temperatures. Why is this happening? Isn’t there a way to stop your windows from leaking once and for all?

drafty windows

Window drafts are a common but serious problem. Not only will your home be less comfortable, but you’ll end up spending more money on your heating and cooling bills throughout the year. The good news is that there are several ways you can fix this problem.

In this article, we’ll show you what causes drafty windows and how you can fix them. Let’s get started.

Common Causes for Window Drafts

Before you can fix your drafty windows, you need to know where the problem originates. Pinpointing the cause of your problem can change the urgency and the solution. We’ll highlight all of the major causes for window drafts below.

Window Seal Failure

One of the worst problems is seal failure. This is when the seal of your double or triple pane window breaks and the argon gas between the glass escapes. Your window is no longer energy efficient when this happens.

There are a few reasons window seals can break:

  • Wear and tear over time
  • Windows are poorly installed
  • Seals break during shipment
  • The elements (if your windows aren’t built to handle extreme temperatures and weather)
  • Build-up of mold

ice build up between two window panes - seal failure

When seal failure occurs, outside air is able to easily get into your home and affect the temperature of your home. This forces your furnace and air conditioner to work harder, increasing the amount of money you’ll pay on your energy bills. You can learn more about window seal failure in this article.

Poorly Installed Windows

If your windows are poorly installed, you’ll feel drafts coming from them because they don’t fit properly in the opening. That means there will be gaps between the window and its frame.

Installing windows isn’t a DIY job. Make sure you hire a professional for your window installation. They’ll make sure your windows fit into the opening perfectly and you won’t feel any drafts.

There Are Cracks in Your Window Caulk

Caulk goes around your window where the frame meets the building structure to help prevent drafts from getting into your home. If there are cracks in your window caulk, then outside air has an easy way into your home.

Some cracks in your caulk aren’t as obvious as you think. You can test to see if drafts are getting into your home by moving your hand along the caulk. If you feel a breeze coming through, then it needs to be replaced.

Window caulk wears down over time especially when the weather changes causing your windows to expand and contract. It’s important to check every year if your window caulk is doing it’s job.

If you do feel a draft, you’ll need to recaulk around your window. This video will show you everything you need to know on how to caulk your windows:

Your Windows Are Old

Sometimes there isn’t a physical problem with your windows. Maybe they’re drafty because they’re old. You will feel drafts if you have older windows – especially if they’re single pane windows.

Your Windows Aren’t Energy Efficient

Some windows are much less energy efficient and aren’t built to withstand the harsh Midwest weather. For example, wood and aluminum windows aren’t as energy efficient as vinyl windows so they may become drafty much sooner.

Also, wood windows warp when exposed to moisture (which is very common in the Midwest). If this happens, you may start to see gaps form and outside air get into your home.

It’s very important to make sure the glass of your windows is double or triple pane. This refers to the amount of glass that makes up the window. Double and triple pane windows can be filled with argon gas which makes them more energy efficient and prevents heated or cooled air from escaping your home through the glass.

double pane argon gas-filled window

Get by in a Pinch with These Temporary Solutions

Now that you know where the problem areas can be, it’s time to fix them. There are several temporary solutions that can help you out in a pinch. These cost-effective options will get you through a rough winter or a smoldering hot summer but the problem isn’t solved until you replace your windows.

Plastic Window Wrap

Window wraps are plastic covers that are applied to the interior surface of your window to prevent drafts from getting into your home. They doesn’t last long (about one season) so window wraps should only be used to get you through a particularly tough season, not as a permanent fix.

It’s very easy to apply window wrap. You can find a 3 meter box at Target. You’ll need to measure the amount of wrap you’ll need, cut off the portion to use and blow dry it to your window. Make sure no air bubbles get caught between the wrap and your window – it needs to be a tight fit to prevent outside air from getting into your home.

Storm Windows

Storm windows work very similarly to a storm door. They’re installed on the outside of your existing windows and work as a barrier and extra layer of insulation.

The problem is that they don’t fix your windows. While storm windows will decrease the amount of outside air that gets into your home, you still have drafty windows behind them. You haven’t solved the problem, you’ve only put a band-aid on it.

Invest in a Draft Stopper

A draft stopper is a rectangular pillow that you put on the sill to prevent drafts from sneaking underneath your window. It’s a very specialized product and only works for drafts sneaking under the sash.

Plus, it isn’t guaranteed to work 100% of the time. Drafts can still get into your home around the pillow. It’s a very quick remedy while you’re looking for a more permanent solution.

There’s Only One True Fix for Drafty Windows: Have Them Replaced with Vinyl Windows

If you really want to rid yourself of drafty windows once and for all, there’s only one way – invest in replacement windows. It’s the only way for you to know that they’re energy efficient and installed properly – especially if you choose a reputable company.

works replacing a window

Also, make sure that you get vinyl windows – they’re made specifically for homes in the Midwest. You already know that they’re more energy efficient and durable than wood or aluminum windows so you won’t have to worry about drafts sneaking into your home.

Another advantage of vinyl windows is their frames are also insulated. They have a foam insulation that prevents drafts from passing through the frame. You won’t find this perk with other window styles.

Say Goodbye to Drafty Windows

Make drafty windows a thing of the past. Make sure you check them every year for bad caulking, seal failure and wear and tear. If you ever feel a draft, it’s time for a replacement. Any other solution is only a band-aid that ends up costing you extra money in energy bills.

If you start feeling drafts coming from your windows, get a free quote from Feldco. Our team of product specialists will make sure that you get the perfect replacement window measured correctly to fit the opening. We take the stress out of getting replacement windows.

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