Take a drive through the Pioneer Valley region, and it quickly becomes clear that there are many old homes in the area. While old homes are not necessarily inefficient by default, problems can stem from antiquated windows, which can be leaky and cause conditioned air to escape the home. Leaky windows may not seem like a big deal at face value (especially if you can barely notice the leak), but they may well be negatively affecting the energy efficiency of your home and costing you more money each month than necessary.
Why Windows Leak
It’s important to realize that the age of your home’s windows isn’t always the most important factor when it comes to leaks. There are a variety of different things that can cause windows to leak, including:
1. Build Quality
Sometimes, a home’s windows themselves are actually the source of problems with leaks. Windows that are poorly built cannot perform at anywhere near the capacity of those that are on the higher end of the market, and leaks can result when the winds really start howling.
2. Installation Quality
It doesn’t matter whether it is a $200 or an $800 window, if it is installed poorly it is likely a contributor of air leaking into and out of your home. Just as not all windows are created equal so too not all installers are the same.
Even if you have the highest-quality windows, insulation plays a major role in their effectiveness. Over time, the effectiveness of old insulation begins to wear down, which is why it’s so important to have your home properly evaluated for any efficiency issues (take a look at our recent blog on home performance for more information).
4. Air Sealing
Like insulation, air sealing can have a dramatic effect on whether or not your windows are able to keep conditioned air inside and outside air from entering your living space. Small cracks and gaps in the vicinity of your home’s windows are the most common offenders, and bringing in a professional to address air sealing issues is always the most effective solution to the problem.
Other Common Areas for Leaks
Windows may be common culprits for air leakage, but they aren’t the only offenders. Other common areas for leaks around the home include:
Wire and pipe penetrations
Vents and fans
Leaky windows can cause excessively high heating and cooling bills, reduced home comfort, and poor indoor air quality due to outdoor contaminants making their way inside the home. Don’t let leaky windows dominate your energy bills!