During our recent heat wave a friend mentioned that he thought his air conditioner was on the fritz. He called his HVAC repair man to take a look but was told his AC was in tip-top shape. It turned out he had an insulation problem. When most people think of insulating their homes, they think of rolls of pink fiberglass insulation, but this friend had added insulation to his house before winter hit last year. The culprit seemed to be his windows.
We have windows in almost every room of our houses because they open up areas in our home by allowing in natural light, and a nice breeze when the weather allows it. However, windows can also let out the cool air your AC produces in the summer and the heat your furnace provides in the winter. But windows have come a long way in the last few decades, so you don’t have to choose between letting in enough light (measured by U-Factor) and maintaining a consistent temperature in your home.
As technology has advanced, multi-pane windows have become even better at providing insulation. Multi-pane windows work by creating a space between the panes that is filled with a mixture of gases that are denser than the air. This creates another level of insulation that can offer impressive savings on heating and cooling costs over time. Double-pane windows provide a single layer of sealed insulation, while triple-pane windows have two layers of insulation. triple-pane windows are more expensive up front, but homeowners can expect see even more long-term cost savings because of the added insulation.
This friend already had double-pane windows, but they were over forty years old. On a few of his windows he noticed that there was condensation between the panes. This was a sign that over time the seal on his windows had deteriorated, allowing the insulating gas between the panes to escape and moisture to seep in. In the end he decided to replace his windows with new triple-pane windows, knowing that the upfront cost would be offset by the savings he received on his heating and cooling bill.
Replacing Old Windows
Replacing windows can be a large investment, and it can be tempting to try and save a few dollars because of this. However, when choosing installers, it is important to remember that some manufactures may not honor their warranties if the windows aren’t installed properly. Many of the problems we see with faulty windows wouldn’t have occurred if the installation was done by trusted professionals.
If you think your home’s windows might not be providing the insulation that they should, you can try and spot some common issues we see with older windows or you can seek out professionals that offer free, in-person estimates to come take a look at your windows.