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What Effect Do Leaky Windows Have on Interior Heating?

As a proud Tucson homeowner, keeping your home comfortable is one of your top priorities. That means thinking through each component in your residence to ensure it’s contributing to your home’s overall comfort. One of the most important components to think through is your home’s windows. Since your windows are essentially major openings in your home’s exterior, it’s vital to make sure they’re as efficient as possible to help protect your AC/Heat system from overwork. At Rite Way, we do all we can to help our customers save money on their residential upkeep, which is why we want to take an in-depth look at the relationship between your home’s windows and your home’s comfort.

Losing Heat

Leaky and inefficient windows have two main problems: They lose heat from inside your home and bring in cold air from outside your home. Thanks to thermodynamics, your home, which is a place where energy is more highly concentrated because the indoor air is warmer in the winter, will naturally release heat to the outside air that is less energy dense. The worst part about this heat loss is that it doesn’t happen all at once. It would be easy to grasp the problem if one of your windows was wide open and you lost all of the heat in your home at the same time. Instead, leaky windows allow air to escape gradually, meaning you become accustomed to the more frequent operation of your furnace without stopping to question why your heating bills are increasing.

Thermal Transfer

Another problem with inefficient windows is thermal transfer. This is especially problematic for single-pane windows because there is no air gap to stop the heat inside your home from warming the outside of the glass. This same principle reverses during the summer when the sun heats the outside of the window and that heat energy transfers inside your home, forcing your air conditioner to run more frequently. Even double-pane windows can suffer from significant thermal transfer if there are leaks in the insulating layer between the two panes of glass. At that point, a double-pane window essentially becomes a harder-to-clean single-pane window.

Air Leaks

Warm air can seek out the smallest cracks and imperfections in a window to find its way out of your home. Air can flow through cracks that even water wouldn’t be able to get through. When you add up these small air leaks throughout an entire house, the energy loss quickly becomes significant. In some cases, you’ll be able to feel the air that’s coming in around the windows. However, the leaks may be too small to be detected in this manner. That’s why Rite Way recommends an energy audit of your home so that you can figure out where you’re losing heat and money.

Finding the Worst Offenders

During an energy audit, a technician will use special tools to get an idea of the worst energy-wasting windows in your home. By using a fan to draw air out of your home, the technician can use a thermal camera to find areas where cold air is rushing in to replace the warm air that was lost. In addition to discovering leaky windows, an energy audit can help you discover other areas in your home that could be wasting energy due to a lack of insulation or proper weatherproofing. After you receive the results of your energy audit, you can know which areas to tackle first to make the most of your home improvement budget.

Uneven Heating

The main problem with leaky windows is that they reduce the overall temperature in your home. This means that your furnace will need to run more frequently to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. One issue this can cause is uneven heating in different rooms in your home. If, for example, one room in your home has efficient windows that don’t lose much heat, that room will tend to be much warmer than the rest of your house because it isn’t losing heat as quickly when the furnace isn’t running. If you notice different temperatures in different rooms, Rite Way recommends having someone come to your home to check for leaky windows.

Avoiding Replacement

One big reason people learn to live with leaky windows is the high cost of replacements. Fortunately, there are plenty of fixes for leaky windows that are fairly quick and easy to implement. One of the most important things you can do is caulk around the edges of your windows on the inside and outside of the window frame. Good caulk creates an airtight seal, helping to significantly reduce the amount of air that can escape from your home. Even if you’ve caulked in the past, Rite Way recommends removing and replacing the caulk approximately every five years. There are also kits available that allow you to place a plastic sheet over the inside of your window to help reduce the thermal transfer that plagues inefficient windows.

Excess Wear and Tear on the Furnace

When thinking through how to improve the efficiency of your windows, it’s important to keep your furnace in mind as well. After all, leaky windows aren’t just a problem of wasted energy. Since your furnace will have to run more often to keep your home comfortable, leaky windows also become an AC/Heat repair issue. Adding extra wear and tear to your furnace means that it could potentially fail just when you need it most. Plus, when you add in the significant cost of a potential furnace replacement, it’s easy to see how important it is to take care of your leaky windows.

Replacement Windows

If your current windows are too far gone, it’s important to know what to look for before you make a significant investment in new ones. The first thing to consider is the number of panes of glass in the window. Most of the better consumer-grade window replacements are double-pane windows. However, triple-pane windows are available for an additional cost. You’ll also want to consider the gas used to insulate between the different panes of glass. Another important feature to think through is window glazing. You’ll want to be sure that your new windows have a protective glaze to help reduce the number of UV rays that come into your home. This helps your home stay cooler in the summer and cuts down on the fading of interior materials.

Helping With All of Your Options

At Rite Way, we want to help our customers to understand all of their options to take care of their home maintenance needs. We’re happy to talk with you about anything home related. Our main area of expertise is plumbing. We proudly offer water heater installation, drain cleaning, plumbing repair, water softener installation, and much more. Our commitment to service is demonstrated in being named one of the best plumbers in Tucson by In addition, we also consistently receive five-star reviews from satisfied customers throughout this area. For over 15 years, we’ve taken care of the plumbing needs of those in Tucson and the whole Tucson area. To learn more about leaky windows or plumbing repair, contact us at Rite Way today.