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Residential Comfort & Energy Efficiency
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Wednesday, October 06 2021
FACT: The drafts that you feel around your home on a cold winter day have very little, if anything, to do with the windows.
And, despite this provable fact, thousands and thousands of Maryland homeowners are replacing windows in advance of the cold weather.
But, I have news for you. Getting your windows replaced will not solve your drafty house problem. There is a reason that there are thousands searching online each day for answers to "why are my new windows still drafty?".
Guess what! The answers to that question are the same as they are to the question:
Why are my old windows drafty?
What causes drafty windows?
In some cases, preventing drafty windows lies squarely with the person who last used the window.
The biggest issue I see is when the top and lower portions of the window (double hung style) are not properly aligned so the lock does not close and there is a "manufactured" gap caused by the last person to operate the window. Many don't realize that the top sash will slip down a bit and needs to be pushed up for the two components to properly connect and create a seal.
Another reason that windows get the blame for drafts around a house has to do with physics and the density of cold air compared to warm air. On an extremely cold day windows can present a feeling that they are leaking air. But, what is actually happening is they are radiating cold off of the glass.
This happens when the air inside is a balmy 73 degrees and the air outside is a chilly 30 degrees. The glass in the window is obviously the weakest link and it gets cold. When the cold radiates off the glass it dives down (cold air is more dense than warm air) and it gives the sensation that there is a cold breeze.
People always describe this issue by explaining how they held a candle or match and it was flickering or blew out from the draft.
To many people's surprise, I usually can prove their theories wrong with proper testing and analysis during a comprehensive home energy audit.
Drafty Windows Meaning