When it comes to extreme temperatures in your home, National Resources Canada cites windows as one of the most common sources of heat loss, and The Washington Post mentions both windows and doors as culprits. The drafts that can be created by poor sealing paired with the natural loss of heat associated with the glass elements of windows and doors can be a major factor in how warm or cold your home is, and subsequently how much you’re spending on heating or cooling.
Luckily, though, there’s several strategies for doors and windows that can save you money and keep your home looking its best.
There’s several parts of a door, all which can be reinforced to protect the insulation of your home. Notably, the doorframe is frequently where drafts can originate: this encompasses the door jambs down the vertical sides, the sill running horizontally across the bottom, and the head that runs horizontally across the top.
Any of these places are prone to damage that could create drafts. They experience some of the heaviest wear with the door’s natural opening and closing motions, and are vulnerable to physical damage from:
There’s also problems that can occur as a result of poor installation. Without proper sealing, moisture can build up in the frame which results in the rotting of any wooden components or the rusting of metal ones. The corners and trim of the door frames can also be damaged if not properly installed, increasing the wear and tear on them especially with the repeated slamming of doors.
Insulating doors goes beyond repair, though. You could have a whole and undamaged door and still not be getting the best efficiency out of it. The material of the panel (the name for the door itself, that opens and closes), the efficiency of any decorative flourishes (especially glass), and the sealant used to insulate the door can all have a big effect on how well it retains heating and cooling.
Looking at energy loss through your windows may be one of the most cost-efficient ways to approach improving the heating and cooling efficiency of your home. National Resources Canada dismisses heat radiation as less than 10% of energy loss in most homes, but most of that percentage is associated with windows. Luckily, window leaks are among the easiest to fix, depending on which part of your windows are vulnerable.
Radiation isn’t the only spot where windows can leak. Like doors, windows are more than just glass: they have frames, jambs, sills, and many other parts depending on the style of window. Just like a door, too, these areas are prone to wear and tear, cracks, and sometimes warping that encourages gaps.
There’s many different types of windows, and the more parts you have the more vigilant you have to be for damage that could be leaking air. One of the easiest parts of a window to malfunction are the seals, which you’ll notice if you look for:
Unfortunately, once it gets to the point where you’re constantly seeing moisture and grime, it’s already time for a full replacement.
Other issues associated with leaking energy, such as gaps and cracks, can easily be patched for temporary fixes when you’re without the budget for a full replacement. Beware over-repairing a window that should be replaced though, and remember that whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s done before the extreme weather hits.
There are many potential vulnerabilities in the building envelope that circulates heat in your home. The very foundation of your house could be a compromised area where energy is leaking, but before you invest in an invasive and expensive procedure to proof your house from top to bottom, consider the two biggest culprits of energy loss: your doors and windows. From quick fixes to full replacements, it might make a bigger difference than you think.