Year after year, as the seasons change, energy bills rise. Most homeowners assume this has to do with the insulation materials in their walls, but the rising costs can come from something as simple as doors and windows. No mater what climate you live in, every seasonal change affects your checkbook. Weatherstripping is likely a component of the home that doesn’t get much thought until a winter draft is felt. However, weatherstripping is one of the essential components of quality windows and doors, especially when it comes to your energy bills.
What is Weatherstripping?
Weatherstripping is the process of sealing doors and windows against the elements. Depending on the quality of your current windows and doors', you may not be getting the best seal possible.
According to ENERGY STAR®, up to 40% of the energy used to heat and cool a home is lost due to poor sealing around windows and doors. Over the course of any given year, that accounts for almost ten percent of an average homeowner's energy expenses. Once you take into consideration the age of your home, the numbers increase. If you live in a house built by a budget contractor within the last five years, your windows may be nearing the end of their natural sealing lifespan. If your home is older, your energy loss is likely more than the estimated forty percent, as contractor-grade windows have a general lifespan of between five and ten years.
If you own an older home, or one built with above contractor-grade materials, you may get up to twenty years of reliable sealing with your windows. That estimate takes into account window installation by qualified professionals and regular maintenance per the manufacturer guidelines. Also, consider which windows and doors get the most sun exposure, as heat will contribute to seal breakdown over time.
Signs That Your Weatherstripping Is Costing You Money
Begin by checking window and door frames for visible damage, such as trapped debris, missing chunks, warping, or compression. Be sure to look for visible light showing around the outer edge of a closed frame as well. If a piece of paper can easily slip under a closed front door, so can cold air.
To identify the source of a draft, hold a piece of tissue paper or plastic wrap near a closed window or door on a windy day. Then, slowly trace it around the edges of the frame. Wherever you see movement (either outward or inward), there is a significant leak.
Old or Outdated Weatherstripping
Older, outdated weatherstripping can allow more subtle leaks. Age, friction, and exposure to the elements deteriorate seals, turning what was once an effective countermeasure into an unattractive eyesore and an expense. DIY fixes like self-adhesive foam tape can lose grip and pull away from where they were anchored, while foam can lose elasticity and no longer spring up to fill the gap. Rubber and vinyl weatherstripping eventually become brittle, warped, and cracked. Spring metal V-shaped stripping can bend out of shape, crack or tear, and come loose from missing nails.
Should You Replace Windows or Weatherstripping?
Signs you Should Replace Weatherstripping
If you were to ask a contractor, some would tell you that you can save money by merely replacing the weatherstripping around a leaky window or door. Then the DIYers would say that replacing the weatherstripping isn't complicated. However, once you begin removing old sealing materials, you risk doing more damage to the window or door, damaging the product and compromising its efficiency.
If windows are your primary source of heating and cooling loss, you will likely find the leaks aren't limited to the space between the panes, but extend to the window casing itself. These leaks will require a lot of careful work to repair, and should be completed by a qualified window professional. Consider the amount of expertise and time required to get into the window casing to diagnose and fix the problem correctly. Keep in mind, some materials may not be replaceable, so any 'fix' may only be temporary.
Signs you Should Replace your Windows
When it comes to the window frame and sash, the most effective way to stop leaks and rising electric bills is to replace your windows. Not only does replacing your windows provide a brand-new seal, but new windows can also come with multi-locking point systems, low-e glass, and argon gas fills to reduce heating and cooling costs, add value to your home, and provide maximum comfort.
SoftLite windows are engineered for longevity. Our eco-friendly insulating foam and multi-pane windows ensure a great seal, helping you save on energy costs right away. In addition, windows such as the Imperial Elite feature Ultra-Smart™ triple fin weatherstripping with built-in antimicrobial protection that minimizes drafts, dust, and pollen and fights the growth of mold and bacteria on the weatherstripping material. An average of 600 inches or 50 feet of weatherstripping is used in every Imperial Elite double-hung window which is up to 66% more than an average double-hung window. The extra amount of weatherstripping on our windows provide superior air infiltration benefits at .02 cfm per sq. ft. which is up to 15 times better than other premium brand windows - all helping you save even more on your energy costs. Our vinyl window frames are more durable than metal and wood counterparts, are virtually maintenance-free, and won't rot or corrode over time. Because we place such focus on quality materials and energy efficiency, we back our windows with a lifetime warranty.
Protect your Windows and Doors
Our windows and doors have earned ENERGY STAR® certifications, a Gold Label Certification from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), and strong Nation Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) ratings. We're proud to continue our tradition of excellence with the 2020 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award and Sustained Excellence Award. Choosing SoftLite Windows & Doors means you can take comfort in knowing you are getting the best in energy efficiency and investing in a product with a high return on your investment. For more information on how our products can help you save on your next energy bill, find a Soft-Lite dealer in your area today.