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Keep Out the Cold In Washington DC: Checking the Seal of Your Windows

Nov 19, 2021

Your windows play a crucial role in your home for a variety of reasons. While we tend to think of them in terms of their aesthetic appeal, they have crucial functions beyond how they look. Your windows impact you and your home in look, feel, and function. They provide a way for the sunlight to fill your Washington DC house; they allow a nice summer breeze to flow through it. They also protect you from the weather. Stormy weather and winter cold are the last things you want creeping into your home. As the fall continues to get colder, it is vital to check your windows and do your autumn to-do list. Your windows can impact the insulation of your home, which also impacts you financially. You want to ensure that your windows are properly sealed and ready for the long winter months ahead.

Types of Window Seals

In the winter, drafts and leaks are the last things you want to deal with. Drafts can enter any opening in your home, such as windows, door vents, as well as electrical and plumbing fixtures. While it is important to consider all these areas of contact, your windows tend to be the most common culprit when it comes to the outside elements making their way into your house.

To avoid these issues, it is crucial to take the time to make sure that your seals are correctly maintained. Your window seals are constantly being exposed to the forces of Mother Nature. Your windows are bombarded with heat, cold, moisture, wind, UV rays, and the general wear and tear caused by repeatedly opening and closing the sashes. In time, older seals will fail. This failure leads to drafts and leaks. When properly maintained, you’ll be able to spot the health of your seals, helping to ensure a longer life.

Modern windows have three types of seals, depending on weather protection. Unsurprisingly, all three affect their insulating properties. These seals are:

  1. The seals between the frame and walls. This seal is created when the window is installed and is often made with flexible caulk.
  2. The second seal is between the window frame and sash. This was put in place at the factory when the window was assembled.
  3. The third seal is between double or triple panes of glass in insulated windows. This seal is also created during assembly.
When Should I Check?

You should inspect your window seals at least once a year. Autumn is a great time in Washington DC to do so because the weather is still cool, and there tends to be more wind, which helps make drafts more obvious. This also gives you time to repair or replace your seal before winter to ensure that your home is draft-free. You’ll want to start with a simple visual inspection. Take the time to look at points in your home where the window meets the wall and where the sash meets the frame. If you notice any gaps or light, your seal is likely failing. You’ll also want to look for any cracked, discolored, loose, or missing sealants. Also, look at the walls surrounding your windows for any indication of water. Water seeping in can show itself through cracking and peeling paint on the walls or signs of mold. Finally, if your windows appear cloudy or foggy, it could be a sign of a failure in the seal that holds your double or triple panes of glass. Fogginess is often a sign of moisture getting into the glass.

Once you’ve completed your visual inspection, take the time to feel how securely your window and its components are installed. Your sashes should open and close smoothly without excessive movement or noise. Tapping each pane will let you hear if there is any rattling or movement within the glass. Checking for drafts is also important. In many cases, you’ll be able to feel the draft with your hand on a windy day. If you aren’t sure, you can use a lighter, candle, or incense stick to determine if there is a draft that you can’t feel. On a windy day, hold your flame near the seals. If the flame looks like it is bending, or if the smoke moves, there is a good indication of a hidden draft.

What If I Still Feel a Draft?

Checking your seals regularly can help ensure that they are working correctly. When it comes to your windows in Washington DC, you’ll also want to consider the window itself. If you have an older window, it may simply be time to replace it. Many older windows are not double or tripled paned, meaning their ability to insulate is lower. Window chips, cracks, or breaks will also impact your windows’ ability to keep your heat in and unwanted weather or pesky bugs out. If you feel that your seals are working appropriately, you’ll next want to assess the window itself. If you’re unsure, a professional will be able to help you determine what the best course of action will be. Many modern windows are better insulated and can save you over time in heating and cooling costs. They also come in such a variety of styles that there is something for everyone. The quality of your windows could be a factor in your draft levels.

Be Prepared

When it comes to your autumn to-do list, it’s vital that you check your window seals. Remember that windows do more than just beautify our homes. They protect us from the elements, so it’s crucial to keep them ready for all types of weather.

It is easy to overlook window care until you feel a draft on a cold winter day. Not only does this impact your comfort level, but it can also impact your monthly energy bills. Check any seals that expose the interior of your home to external elements. Make sure that your home is draft-free so that you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of your home. Winter is only a few months away; it is important to prepare now to relax later.

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