Windows are an often overlooked necessity in any home – windows allow light enter the home, provide a view of the surrounding area and even ventilate the room when opened.
But windows can also be a source of problems for homeowners. Leaky windows can allow water to penetrate into the living quarters which may result in mold forming in the home. Older windows can also allow air infiltration. This allows hot air to enter the home during the summer and cold air penetration during the winter. This can result in areas of the home that are drafty and uncomfortable during windy winter weather.
Some window repair projects can be rather simple home improvement tasks. A drafty window can sometimes be repaired with caulk depending on the severity of the problem.
Use Caulk for Better Sealing
Caulk is installed using a caulking gun. This device holds the caulk tube and applies pressure to the material as the trigger is squeezed. The caulk flows out a nozzle on the end of the tube.
To seal areas of a window or window frame that are leaky, lay a bead or continuous strand of caulk into any crevice between two parts of the window or between the window frame and the window opening. Use a finger to smooth the caulk bead into the crevice. The intent is to fill in possible opening air or water could flow through and stop the draft within the home.
When Sealing Cracks Isn’t Enough
Simply caulking and weather stripping might not be enough to make older windows energy efficient. Sooner or later, most windows will need to be replaced. This kind of task falls into the category of an advanced home improvement project. It should only be tackled by a do-it-yourselfer with the proper skills and tools to complete the job right.
A window replacement project starts by taking the measurements of the existing window and a trip to the lumberyard or home improvement outlet. Order a window with the same dimensions as the existing window. Choose the most energy efficient type of replacement window possible. Look for double or triple-pane windows as the best way to cut down on heat loss and add insulation.
Installing Replacement Windows
Once the new window arrives, you need to replace the old. Start from the outside and pry loose any trim that may around the outside of the window. Use a flat pry bar to work free any nails that are holding the window to the wall studs.
After all the nails or screws have been removed, try to slide the window out of the opening. In some cases, paint may adhere between the window and the trim or wall on the interior. Break this free with the gentle application of the flat bar or cut it free with a utility knife.
Slide the new window into the opening. If you measured correctly, it should fit in place. Fasten to the studs using nails or screws. Pack fiberglass insulation into any gaps that might be seen between the window frame and the studs before replacing the trim on the outside of the window.
Replacing a window can provide a marked improvement in the homes energy efficiency. Windows typically last about 20 years before the air leaks become a problem. New, energy efficient, windows may provide as much as a 15 percent in home energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.