How Can You Make Windows Energy Efficient?
There are only a few things in this world that are as beautiful as the dappled, soft light that shines through a window when the sun rises each morning. However, many Canadians have windows that allow far more than just soft beautiful light into their homes. If your windows are sealed tightly or are poorly fitted, you may be letting cold unpleasant drafts into your property. This can cause serious problems during the winter, where you may not be able to differentiate between the outdoors and indoors when it comes to the cold.
Furthermore, the issues can go beyond just feelings of comfort. That is, if you have air leaks in your windows, then you will also have a serious energy efficiency issue on your hands. For instance, all of the cold air that has made its way through the leaks in your windows will only force your heating system to work that much harder in order to generate a pleasant and comfortable room temperature.
Moreover, sealed windows and improperly fitted windows will allow large amounts of the warm air in your house to escape your home. In fact, you may lose as much as a third of the heat in your home through your windows. Hence, learning how to make your windows energy efficient is the key to staying warm and saving green during the winter.
What about Replacement Windows?
If you have air leaks in your home, a long-term fix may involve purchasing replacement windows. However, replacement windows aren’t for everyone, because they can be quite expensive. Those who rent may not even have the option of buying replacement windows available to them. The good news is there are techniques that you can implement on your existing windows that will reduce drafts, mitigate heat loss, and make your home a more comfortable place to live in during the frigid winter months.
Weatherstripping and Caulking
One way to enjoy energy efficient windows in London is via caulking and weatherstripping. You can reduce drafts and leaks in a simple and cost-effective manner. Moreover, if performed correctly, many Canadians will see a return on their investment after just one year thanks to significantly lower utility costs over the course of the year.
To caulk properly, you should use it to seal cracks that are less than a quarter inch in width on the components of your windows that can’t be moved. In other words, caulk where the trim meets the wall as well as around the frame of your windows. For gaps that are shaped irregularly, or for larger gaps, use a can of spray foam instead as it will expand to fill in the space.
As for weatherstripping, it is designed for the parts of the window that can actually be moved. For instance, where the base sash meets the sill. You can also opt to purchase tentative caulking products instead if you are worried that the effects of weatherstripping or caulking will be too permanent for your liking. For instance, you can use the temporary caulking product during the winter, and, when spring rolls around, you can remove the product so that you can open the windows to let the fresh spring air enter your home.
Use Window Coverings
You can weatherize the doors and windows in your home by using draperies. Draperies can not only enhance the beauty of a home, but can also serve as an extra thermal barrier. However, you can only eliminate air leaks via caulking and weatherstripping. In other words, simply adding some curtains won’t stop air leaks at all. However, they can help reduce heat loss by as much as 25% in some cases.
You can also reduce the level of discomfort that is brought on by drafty windows by hanging your curtains in the appropriate fashion. Also, please remember to open and close your curtains throughout the day.
Install Interior Storm Windows or Insulating Window Panels
If caulking and curtains won’t suffice to handle your energy efficiency needs, then you may want to consider installing interior storm windows or insulating window panels: These products are usually made with an insulating material that is encased within a frame made of metal or wood. Moreover, it will seal itself tightly against your existing windows interior side, using either Velcro or magnets. It is also worth noting that these products are not permanent, so you can simply take them off when spring arrives and then reattach them when the next winter arrives.
In addition, the biggest difference between interior storm window panels and insulation window panels is how much they obstruct the view. For instance, insulation window panels, are, as the name implies, rigidily insulated. As such, they will completely obstruct your windows. Interior storm windows, however, are made with a sheet of plastic that is durable but also quite thin.
As such, they will insulate your window but also provide you with a view through your windows. As one final caveat, while interior storm windows do provide you with a view, their R-value is not as good as your typical insulating window panels; which will provide you with an R-value between 4.0 and 7.0.