Minnesotans and Wisconsinites certainly do ask a lot of their heating and cooling systems. In fact, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s home energy guide, heating and cooling accounts for slightly above half of all energy expenditure in any given Minnesota home. As for Wisconsin, the statistics are closer to 60 percent, as per data collected in 2009 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
If heating and cooling take up such large portions of the energy we use in these states, it’s logical to assume that it’s also responsible for a significant, if not a large portion of what we spend on that energy. Plus, any longtime resident of these northern states will tell you that heating in the wintertime does get expensive!
However, high energy bills aren’t always the fault of a frigid climate or unusually cold winter; it’s your windows that often cause severe spikes in how much you pay annually for heating and cooling. C&T Siding, a seamless siding and fiberglass windows installer, explains why, along with what you can do to save money this cold season.
What Can Go Wrong with Windows?
According to the United States Department of Energy, heating and cooling loss through windows alone is responsible for 25 to 30 percent of all residential (home) heating and cooling spent. That’s a significant portion of your energy bill. If your windows aren’t doing their job, imagine how much bigger that portion could get.
Rest assured that windows employ various methods to keep the cold out and the heat in—that is, to be as energy efficient as possible and keep your bills low. However, because of this, there are equally as many areas in which things could go wrong, leading to drafts and more money spent on heating. These areas include:
● Weatherstripping. Weatherstripping is generally store-bought product used to patch areas that lead to leaks and drafts in windows. It can come in all sorts of materials, from felt to vinyl to metal. However, none of these strips are permanent solutions to your draft problem, as they all wear out eventually; they’re sort of like a bandage over the larger problem that is a poorly installed or worn-out window.
● The frame itself. Certain frame materials can expand and contract when the temperature rises or falls quickly. This causes cracks, which can let cold air into your home in the winter months. To prevent this problem, choose more cold-friendly frame types, such as wood windows. Wood window contractors stand by the fact that this organic material does not stretch or warp in our capricious Midwestern climate.
● A broken seal. Windows that have multiple panes often have a gas, such as Argon, pumped in between them for insulation purposes. A tight seal keeps this gas from escaping into the surrounding air. This seal, however, is vulnerable to damage. A buildup of mold, for one, can put excess strain on it, as well as the overall wear-and-tear caused by years of use. Once the Argon or other gas escapes, your window’s shield against the cold outside is rendered useless, and the crack in the seal means that that cold can sneak right into your home.
As you can see, there exist as many ways for your windows to fail as there are ways they work to keep your family warm and save on your energy bills. However, while knowing potential problems is one thing, spotting those problems is another. High energy expenditures aren’t the only tell that your windows need replacement!
How Do You Know Your Windows Have a Problem?
● Condensation. Water buildup on the inside or outside of your panes is perfectly normal; it’s a result of your home’s inner temperature being strikingly different from that of the outside air. However, condensation between the panes of double-paned window can be a sign of a broken seal.
● Cracked frames. No window can last forever. If the frames are cracked from cold or rotting with age, it’s obviously time to invest in an upgrade.
● Your windows are from before the year 1977. Before 1977, lead in paint was still legal. If you live in an older house, your window frames could contain lead, which is released into the air every time you open or shut the panes. This could cause lead poisoning in smaller toddlers, so it’s especially crucial that you replace your windows in this case. Moreover, they probably aren’t doing your heating bills any favors!
For the Best Window Installers Around, Contact C&T Siding
Despite our name, we also are expert window contractors! We’ve been around since 1978, and we’d love to see what our skilled craftsmen can do for your home. Give our Woodbury, Minnesota office a call today at 651-483-6146.