Lock out winter weather

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274-smWinter wind, rain, and cold temperatures are knocking at the door this year. Making sure your home’s doors and windows are up for the challenge will increase energy efficiency as well as lessen the chance of costly emergency repairs.

Out-dated or poorly maintained doors and windows can account for 10 percent to 25 percent of your heating bill by letting heat escape, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition to making your home less comfortable, leaks or poorly insulated windows that allow condensation can promote unhealthy mold growth.

Start by visually inspecting the exterior of your home. Look for cracked or deteriorated wood, gaps around doors and windows and missing or damaged caulk around window and door trim. Call in a professional if you see signs of roof or drainage problems. Noticeable drafts or cold spots inside your home also may point you to doors and windows that need to be sealed.

• Repair window sills and sashes. Cracks in wood frames should be filled with epoxy putty, sanded and repainted. Use caulk to fill punctures or cracks in vinyl- and aluminum-clad windows to prevent water damage to the wood core.

• Replace weather stripping. Because weather stripping wears out over time, it is important to inspect and replace it periodically. Weather stripping windows is easy to do yourself. However, there are different ways to weather strip depending on the type of window. Double-hung windows require self-adhesive foam insulation and V-channel weather stripping. Casement windows only need self-adhesive foam insulation.

Consider adding a door sweep to seal the gap between the bottom of an exterior door and the threshold.

• Reseal with caulk. Check outside for missing or damaged caulk around window and door trim. Seal gaps with a suitable caulk.

• Replace fogged windows. Cracked or fogged double-pane windows have lost much of their insulating benefits and should be resealed or replaced.Milgard Window installation

If your home has single-pane windows, the Department of Energy recommends replacing them with double-pane windows with high-performance glass for improved insulation. It may take years of energy savings to equal the cost of new windows, but the benefits of added comfort and a more beautiful and functional home can more than offset the cost.

Here are some window shopping tips from the U.S. Department of Energy:

  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label.
  • Check with local utilities to see what rebates or other incentives are available for window replacement.
  • Choose high-performance windows that have at least two panes of glass and a Low-E coating.
  • Have your windows installed by trained professionals according to manufacturer’s instructions; otherwise, your warranty may be void.
  • Call us and we will walk you through the process.