Window and Door Upgrades Can Cut Your Summer Cooling Costs
The problem of a drafty home leaking energy in the winter is well known, but it is a summer time problem as well. In the summer, a drafty home will lose cooled air and humid air from outside will infiltrate. In both cases, air leaks will add to the cost of heating and cooling. Obviously, the key to improving your home’s energy efficiency and keeping it comfortable year round is to remedy the draft problem. The first places to check are your windows and doors. Your windows and doors may be outdated or they may be poorly installed, making them major contributors to your home’s air leaks.
The Value of Replacing Windows and Doors
While measures like installing caulk and weather stripping limit heat loss and gain, the most cost effective way to solve drafts may be to replace your windows and exterior doors. The up-front cost will be higher but lower energy bills will make this home improvement a smart investment in the long run.
Checking for Air Leaks
Look for obvious signs of air leaks like damaged caulking and glazing on the windows. When it comes to your exterior doors, look at the opening under each of them. Is it too big? If it is too big, it may be allowing too much air in and out of your home. Check the weather stripping around each of your doors and windows. Damaged weather stripping should be replaced. Focus on areas like the exterior corners and the places where your siding and your chimney meet.
On your home’s interior, check your electrical outlets along with your door and window frames. You should also look for leaks where your dryer vent comes through your wall. Consider conducting a smoke test by lighting an incense stick and passing it close to the areas where air leaks commonly occur. If the stream of smoke wavers, this could be an indication of a nearby air leak. The most thorough, foolproof way to check for leaks is to have a professional conduct a blower door test. This test involves attaching a special type of fan to a door in your home. This fan draws out air thus lowering the air pressure in your home.
Energy Efficient Window and Door Options
There are numerous window and door options to keep your home comfortable and improve its energy efficiency. Your options include double-paned windows and windows with Low-E coatings, both of which will help to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. ENERGY STAR certified windows lower energy costs by 12 percent on average. Energy efficient windows are also able to improve your home’s resale value. You may recoup as much as 60 percent of the cost when you sell your home. Like windows, your doors often contribute significantly to energy leakage. Newer steel or fiberglass entry doors typically have R-values of between R-5 and R-6, making them much better than solid wood doors of the same size.
Window installation will vary depending on the type of window as well as on the home’s construction. Other factors include the type of cladding (whether stucco, brick or another material). The installer must have a thorough understanding of the window-type and know how to install it.
A new door should be installed as square as possible to ensure that it opens and closes freely and so that it seals tightly to the jamb. It will also be necessary to apply caulk to the door frame to prevent air leaks.
With both windows and doors, the quality of the installation will determine whether you see benefits or not. This is why it is best to have your energy efficient windows and doors installed by professionals. If you are interested in replacing your windows and doors, contact us at Apex Exteriors, Inc.; our friendly and knowledgeable customer service staff will be happy to help.