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How To Identify Drafty Windows

When windows become a source of drafts in your North Carolina home, it’s a reliable sign they’ve reached the end of their useful life span. Window replacement is a home improvement project that gives your home a new appearance, keeps it protected from drafts, and, in most cases, pays for itself over time.

In this post, we’ll take a look at a few of the common visible signs of drafty windows and explain why it’s worth replacing them with new, energy-efficient models.

5 Signs Your Windows Are Drafty

Many homeowners are shocked to learn how much heated and cooled air their house loses because of broken seals, failed caulk, or cracked windowpanes. Here are the top five signs your North Carolina home’s windows are adding to your cooling and heating bills.

  1. Cracked or damaged seals: At some point, the seals around panes and cases, especially on older windows, develop cracks and dry rot.
  2. A crooked or out-of-plumb window: Windows sitting out of plumb are not precisely vertical. Once the condition happens — usually due to warping or incorrect installation — they won’t create an airtight seal when you close them. Crooked windows are difficult to close and latch, creating additional space between the casings.
  3. Cracked windowpane: The easiest defect to recognize, a cracked windowpane is a sure sign a window isn’t operating at the level of efficiency it should be.
  4. Condensation on the window or between the panes: This usually means the window is not as energy-efficient as it once was. Condensation between the windowpanes is often an indication of failed seals. Excessive condensation on the interior side of a windowpane indicates generally poor performance. Windows that retain condensation should usually be replaced.
  5. The window coverings move when the window is closed. If a window is closed but the curtain, shade, or other covering on it blows in the breeze, it’s a good sign there’s a draft. Plus, an air current powerful enough to move a curtain means there’s a good chance of other damage to the window.

The “Candle Test”

One way to determine if air is leaking through a window is if the area around it feels colder or warmer than other parts of the room. Another popular and reliable drafty window evaluation is known as the “candle test.” As you conduct the test, take care to move flammable materials like curtains out of the flame’s way.

  • Tools you’ll need include a taper candle, a lighter or matches, a small stool or table, and blue painter’s tape.
  • Turn off the heater or AC and close any doors to ensure the room’s air is as still as possible.
  • Light the candle. You might want to wear a protective glove to protect your hand from hot wax drippings.
  • Put the candle near the suspected air leak and hold it as still as possible near the window seams. If necessary, position the candle on the small table to keep it steady.
  • Watch the flame for signs of air movement coming from the direction of the suspected drafty window.
  • You have a window draft if the flame is curved or bent.

Once you detect a draft, mark the faulty window with a piece of removable painter’s tape.

Another test you can try that doesn’t involve fire is hanging a thin, light-colored piece of material over the window. If you notice an inward or pushed-out movement in the fabric, the window most likely has a draft.

Window Replacement Experts in North Carolina

Sometimes you can repair a drafty window with caulking or weatherstripping, but in many cases of windows failing and underperforming, it’s time to think about replacing them. Zen Windows offers a stress-free, no-pressure approach to replacement window sales and installation.

To learn more, contact us online or call (877) 572-2988 in Charlotte or (336) 600-0096 in Greensboro.