The difference between a properly installed window and one that is performing insufficiently can end up costing a homeowner hundreds of dollars in utility bills. When buying new windows or serving existing ones, making sure they are properly sealed from the onset is imperative. This job is a simple one that will require a minor amount of materials and some time. At the end of the day, you will be glad you took the time to make sure everything is sealed up. If you have noticed unusually high heating and cooling bills, then you should definitely be reading this.
Check your windows, even if they are new
Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that simply because they bought new windows, their problems will be fixed. While modern energy-efficient windows certainly do much towards insulating your home and keeping your utility bills down, they do need to be inspected after installation to ensure nothing is leaking out. With old and new windows alike, the first thing one should do is examine the frame.
Caulking and weather stripping should be adequately applied to all areas surrounding the window to ensure they are completely sealed up. If you notice moisture or frost buildup at all on the glass, or can see light coming through the frame, then you should make the proper applications. With newer windows, the frame is generally the trouble zone, and with a quick coating of caulking where needed, the job can be complete within a matter of seconds.
The most critical piece of information for making sure your windows are air and water tight is to know their rating for these conditions. The Canada Standards Association rates a window’s air tightness and water resistance capabilities by the A and B standards. An A1 window will likely leak air, while an A3 window will do a much better job at preventing them. Likewise, a B1 window will leak water at rain pressures above a certain point. B7 windows are the highest rated and can withstand substantial wind-rain pressure.
Make sure old materials are stripped clean
A very important tip to keep in mind is to make sure that when replacing your windows, the old material is also completely removed. Sometimes old caulking is left in place, which can lead to leaky spots around the frame where it was not removed. Scraping it clean with a putty knife will leave a smooth surface for the new caulking to be applied, which will possess greater insulation properties.
When applying new caulking, it is important to apply it evenly. Be sure to cut the tip of the caulk gun at the right spot, so that excess run-off will not occur during the application process. Once the layer has been applied to the corners of the window frame, the material should be spread smooth to ensure all of the crevices are being sealed. Improperly applying caulking to a window can leave areas exposed that may be invisible to the naked eye, which can be a hassle when trying to pinpoint the problem of leaks. If you want to do the job right the first time, you can go a step further by removing the trim around the window. The exposed area can be filled with foam insulation, which will expand and fill in any gaps that are inaccessible by external caulking. Once hardened, the foam insulation in addition to the outer layers surrounding the frame will ensure your window is completely sealed from air and water.