Get prepared for winter: Check your windows and doors

Although the cold weather can be an annoyance, it’s the perfect time to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Now is an ideal time to do a thorough check of the windows and doors in your home to make sure there are no leaks or drafts. Poorly insulated homes are the ones which have the heftiest heating and cooling bills. Naturally, you want to avoid that.

How do I inspect my windows and doors?

Check for a draft. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times we can forget the simplest of things. You’ll really notice a draft on an especially windy day. If there’s a significant draft coming from your windows or doors when they’re closed, it might be time to consider resealing them, or getting them fully replaced.

If your window looks like this, it's probably time to consider an upgrade.

If your window looks like this, it’s probably time to consider an upgrade.

Make sure the weather stripping – a strip of rubber within your window or door unit that protects your home from the weather – is in place. Reattach pieces that have moved, and replace any torn pieces. Weather stripping makes sure that water (as well as any other elements) stay outside the home, and do not end up leaking through your window and/or door. Ignored leaks can lead to mould build up, and eventually, can rot the unit out completely. You don’t want that.

Clean your windows and doors. Check the window sills and door tracks for dirt and debris, and make sure to vacuum or gently wipe out anything that could potentially impede the performance of the unit.

Make sure all of your windows and doors open and close properly. If your windows feel sticky, or won’t stay in the opened or closed position, it might be time to consider a replacement. It’s also extremely unsafe to live in a home where your windows don’t open, seeing as they may be your only way to escape in an emergency!

Check for peeling or flaking paint finishes on or around your windows and/or doors. This usually indicates the unit is aged, and it might be time to consider refinishing, or replacing.

Make sure your windows aren’t foggy. Now, we’re not talking about a foggy window after a hot shower, or on a cold day. We’re talking about the condensation that can build up in between the panes of glass on your window. This is a sure sign the window seal has failed.

Often, this just happens over time. In other instances, it could be the manufacturer’s fault. If your windows are relatively new, call up whomever replaced them for you to see what’s up. Any reputable window and door company will offer some type of warranty, and will happily schedule a service call. If they’re older windows, chances are it’s time to consider an upgrade.

If you watch out for these tell-tale signs and act in a timely manner, you’ll be able to get the most out of your windows and doors, and increase your home’s overall energy efficiency.

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