As our homes age, keeping all of those windows properly insulated can be an ongoing battle. It’s especially important to address any insulation problems before winter arrives and brings cold drafts into your home. Taking matters into your own hands might do the trick, providing it’s done properly and for the right reasons. A good insulation job should last for years and does often require some minimal maintenance.

But before grabbing the canister of spray foam and heading toward the nearest draft, just be sure there isn’t a bigger problem that needs to be resolved. Having new windows installed is certainly more costly than insulating a few cracks around your window frames. However, a full window replacement may be the best option for eliminating deeper issues with old, worn out units that can’t be resolved through simple repairs. 

When You Should Insulate Your Windows

Properly insulating your windows makes a big difference when it comes to reducing your energy bills and keeping your family warm in the winter (and cool in the summer). Window insulation kits can be a fairly straightforward and cost-effective way of treating minor leaks in your windows.

1. Test Your Window for Air Leaks

If it’s unclear where the drafts are coming from, try the candle test. While inside, hold a lit candle four to six inches from your closed window. If the flame flickers, it’s a sign that air is leaking in from the outside. Perform this same test on all of your windows you suspect of having a leak. 

2. A Small Space or Damage in Insulation Is Visible

Perhaps you’ve noticed your insulation showing signs of wear. Whether your windows are insulated with caulking, foam spray or something else, inspect them closely to determine if the insulation is starting to break down.

3. A Minor Leak is the Only Problem

If your windows are fairly new or are in otherwise great condition, then replacing them is not the solution. With minor issues, reapplying insulation to the affected area might be enough to address the problem. There are different ways to handle DIY repairs. Typical steps might include:

  1. Examining window units for spaces air could be getting through 
  2. Checking strips of calk for cracking or peeling
  3. Checking weather stripping between frames and the walls
  4. Applying fresh insulation where needed

When to Replace the Entire Window Unit

There are dozens of reasons a window unit may need to be replaced. When repairs have become insufficient to address the root of the problem, a full window replacement may be necessary. If they don’t shut properly, the wood is rotting, or drafts are getting out of control despite attempts at repairs, have a trusted home exterior professional examine them to determine if a full replacement is your best option.

What Is a Full Window Replacement?

Homes require a full window replacement when either repairs or a partial replacement of glass panes that leaves the existing frame or casings is insufficient at fixing the problem. Perhaps an examination by a professional has determined that a full replacement is the only long-term solution for your aged, damaged or nonfunctional windows. If so, a replacement can save you from repeated repair attempts that waste money and threaten further damage to the integrity of the building.

A full frame window replacement may even take less time than DIY repairs. It typically involves a few steps:

  1. Removing the complete existing window frame and sashes, down to the studs 
  2. Selecting advanced, weather-resistant products, which typically include wood and fiberglass windows 
  3. Ensuring the frame jamb thickness matches the surrounding wall
  4. Installing a new full frame window in the opening 

Contact Harris Exteriors to Determine the Best Solution for Your Windows

As winter approaches, it is crucial to identify any window treatment your home may need. Hiring a partner to handle the job properly will help you and your family enjoy the months ahead knowing your home’s exterior is fully protected.

Harris Exteriors helps clients inspect, select and install the best windows for buildings in Streamwood, Barrington and Glen Ellyn, Illinois, as well as the surrounding areas. Reach out for a free consultation with one of our window experts today!

A man repairing a window.