One of the most unstable parts of your home is the windows. Unless a window is installed very carefully, it is common for there to be minor gaps around the frames. Furthermore, many windows can start to sit a little uneven over the years, which can keep them from closing completely. Many homeowners make the mistake of assuming that these little gaps are fine as long as water isn’t coming into the house. However, even if your windows are not leaking water, they can leak air. This often ends up causing major issues during the winter.
Leaky Windows Let Your Warm Air Escape
During the chillier months, a window leak makes it incredibly hard to keep your home warm. The main issue is that windows allow hot air to escape. Your heater will try to keep your house warm by generating hot air, but if you have a window leak, this hot air can just head straight outside. This causes your heater to have to run for longer and longer amounts of time. If the window gaps are especially bad, your heater might struggle to keep up. When your home is constantly losing hot air, you might be unable to warm your home to the desired temperature.
Window leaks can be especially bad if they occur near the top of your windows. Since heat rises, a lot of the warmth from your heater will be right below your ceiling. If you have cracks at this level, massive amounts of warmth can end up escaping from your house. Keep in mind that this can occur even if you do not notice any visible gaps. Hairline cracks in your window can be more than enough to impact the temperature of your home.
Cracks Around Windows Can Cause Drafts
Another issue with gaps in your windows is that they disrupt airflow. Your heater is designed with a system of blower fans to circulate air throughout a closed space. Any cracks around windows get in the way of your heater’s design because they add extra air to your space. Your HVAC system may struggle to pull air into the heater or push air around the home. If your house’s circulation is disrupted, it is harder for your HVAC system to evenly mix hot and cool air throughout the house. The end result can be unpleasantly hot and cold spots in each room.
If the window leaks are big enough, you can even feel a noticeable draft in certain spots. This results in chilly areas where cold air rushes past you. Once your window leaks are this bad, it can be hard to stay comfortable. You might find yourself avoiding certain spots around the house because the drafts are so unpleasant. Some homeowners report that a room with a leaky window can end up feeling several degrees colder than other rooms.
Poorer Air Quality Can Further Disrupt Efficiency
Depending on where you live, leaky windows can also contribute to less-comfortable air in another way. As leaky windows let air flow in and out of your home, they can let a lot of dust enter your house. This is especially common if you live near a road, construction site, or other source of pollution. When all this fine grit and dirt enters your air, it gets sucked into your HVAC system.
Though your filters will help to stop some of the dust, it is still possible for a lot of grime to get inside your system. All this dust can do more than just cause respiratory issues. Over time, this dust builds up on parts inside your heater. It can make fans rotate more slowly or make heat exchangers a little less effective. In the long run, the dusty air can cause your heater to work harder with less of a result. You might find yourself spending more money while getting less heat.
How Much Money Does a Window Leak Cost You?
Many homeowners focus on unpleasant drafts when they think about window leaks. However, it is important to realize that they can also end up hurting your wallet. Since window leaks make your heater work harder, they also cause you to waste money. When your heater runs for longer amounts of time, you can expect a very high energy bill. The Department of Energy estimates that homeowners with leaky windows may end up paying an extra $330 per year.
The exact amount of money you lose due to leaky windows will depend on many factors, including your cooling preferences and the size of your leaks. The typical homeowner saves at least 5% on their energy bills by repairing leaks. In cases with massive window leaks, you might be able to save up to 40% by stopping any leaks. This can add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of your heater’s lifespan.
Tips for Locating and Sealing Leaky Windows
Even if you haven’t noticed any significant leaks around your windows, there is a chance that your windows can still be causing heating problems. There are several things you can do to look for leaks. A simple method is just making it as dark as possible inside your house and seeing if you notice any daylight shining through the frames. You can also run your hands around the window frames to check for any areas where it is noticeably colder.
Another option is using a piece of tissue paper or a lighter to check for minor drafts. Turn off your heater and fan altogether. Then take the item and walk around the house carefully. If you notice the item wiggling slightly, it can be a sign that airflow is disrupted. If you want to be absolutely sure that all air leaks are found, you can even get professionals to come out to your home with special leak-identifying equipment.
Once you locate a leak, you have several options for sealing it. If there is a crack around the trim on the frame, caulk or expanding foam insulation can block up the gap. When you have leaks on parts that are meant to move, you can try attaching weatherstripping to the edges of the windows. In some cases, homeowners may decide to replace their windows altogether. If this is not an option, you can also try weatherproofing your window with plastic film. This plastic material can be wrapped around the inside of your windows to block drafts entirely. Though it keeps you from using your windows for the rest of winter, it can be an affordable, temporary solution for leaks.
If you’re interested in improving your home’s energy efficiency, Affordable Air & Heating has plenty of ways to assist you. We can help perform energy audits to locate air leaks, and we can also maintain your HVAC system to make it function more optimally. Our technicians also provide a lot of other helpful services to Santa Clarita residents, including maintenance, repairs, and installations. To learn more about our heating and cooling services, call today or schedule an appointment.