Your home is supposed to protect you from the elements, but even the slightest structural breach can usher the outside world in. Windows can allow unintended airflow and heat transfer, which can cause your thermostat to kick in to compensate. Improving the energy efficiency of your windows can help reduce your monthly heating bill, mitigate mold and sun damage, improve your air quality, reduce noise, and keep pests out. To help fortify your home’s front line, here are four tips to weatherproof your windows and help to improve their energy conservation:
- Examine, repair, and replace
Your first step is to do a physical assessment of your windows. Look for indicators that the window is underperforming and whether there are physical defects that could be contributing to the problem. Assess whether the temperature is significantly different around your windows compared to the rest of your home, as this could indicate poor energy conservation. Check for broken parts, warped surfaces, cracks in the frame, loose joints, signs of mold, and loose panes by gently pressing against the glass to see whether it wiggles. Faulty parts can be repaired or replaced to improve the structural integrity of your windows.
- Minimize airflow using weather stripping
One of the easier improvements that can be made to help reduce air leakage is to weather strip your windows. Weather stripping your windows improves the seal using caulking and foam tape for single-paned windows, or what’s known as a V-strip for double-paned windows. The material goes around the inside border of the window frame creating a tighter seal and minimizing airflow.
- Install double or triple glazing
Glazing refers to the number of panes of glass held together in the frame. Each frame is separated by a small pocket of air or other gas that poorly conducts heat. As a result, the temperature transfer from the exterior to the interior surface of the window is reduced. Glazing your existing windows can be handled by a professional glazier or those with the knowhow and an affinity for do-it-yourself projects.
- Treat yourself by treating your windows
Low emissivity (low-E) coated windows are specially treated to block certain wavelengths of light. They allow visible light to pass through but prevent infrared and ultraviolet light from penetrating the surface. Infrared light carries considerable heat energy, while ultraviolet light fades fabrics and wall surfaces. By using low-E windows, you can still capture sunlight without the drawbacks of infrared and ultraviolet light.
- Add window furnishings or films
Windows can be fitted with curtains, blinds, awnings, and adhesive films to physically block incoming sunlight and heat transfer. Unlike low-E windows, this solution also blocks a percentage of incoming visible light. You can choose the opacity of these surfaces to match your desired sunblock. It’s a relatively easy installation compared to your other options if you don’t mind the blackout effect.
The goal of weatherproofing your windows is to improve their structural integrity and help reduce any undesirable airflow and heat transfer in your home. By incorporating these solutions, you can reap the benefits and reclaim your home from mother nature.