By Tony Radocchia of Ambia Windows and Doors Inc.
This past winter was long and cold. It felt like it would never end. Before you turn your thoughts to the warm weather, think back and ask yourself if your house felt drafty and cold. Did that cold air come from your windows? If it did, then take a closer look at your windows to see what is going on. Windows are an important part of your home; they let the light in, help your energy performance and are a design feature that everyone can see. Over the last couple of months we have had numerous questions come our way about home windows and I will answer as many as we can.
Question from Anthony Z. from Mississauga: My living room gets so hot in the summer, and the windows have condensation on it, what can I do?
The summer will be hot, but your rooms don’t have to be. The sun energy that makes it into your room will make it hotter. A simple solution would be to install curtains, since curtains are located on the inside of the room and not outside your room, the room will still get warmer. The best solution is to use a special coating on the glass that reflects the heat outside before it ever enters your home.
Condensation is common and will happen when the humid air touches a cold surface, like an ice cold drink in the summer or your mirror in the bathroom when you take a shower. If you have condensation on the inside surface of your window it could mean that your home is too humid and if it is left unchecked you will get water damage to your window frames, rotting of the studs, and potentially mold. The simple solution for this is to increase the airflow around your windows like unblocking your vents or turning off your humidifier, or you can use a dehumidifier in the room with the problem, if the problem doesn’t go away then it’s time to replace your windows. If you see condensation between the two glass panes, then this is a seal failure and it is time to replace your window.
Question from Roxanne T. from Markham: I can feel cool air leaking around my window frame, how can I stop it and my windows are 14 years old, do I need to replace them?
You would be surprised how much energy you are wasting due to air leaks in your windows and doors. Check and replace the weather-stripping around your windows if they are damaged or old, it is a cost-effective and simple way to extend the life of your window. Second, check the caulking around the outside of your window, if there seal is broken then this will result in a draft you can feel on the inside of the window. Third, if the window was not installed properly in the first place, then it won’t be properly insulated and sealed to your house. This is the worst case scenario and you may need to replace the window.
To answer your question about replacing your windows because they are old, I would start with simple repairs as it will be a less expensive alternative. Replacing your windows is a great investment that will save you money on your energy bills for years to come. You should be properly inspecting your windows every couple of years to make sure that there aren’t any problems.
If you are looking to replace your windows, then I suggest a double glazed window, which is often a good cost-effective solution. I suggest that the use of special coatings and films is a better use of your money and will help further improve the energy performance of your windows.
My last thought for you is to do it right. You are about to spend thousands of dollars and you need to do your due-diligence and select a professional. This means you should check references, don’t pay cash, get a contract, get a warranty, and don’t get taken advantage of. If someone is asking for a large deposit, be cautious. For windows, there are upfront costs for the manufacturing of the windows, but a professional company on average would only ask for 25-35% deposit and should provide evidence of what you are paying for upfront.
I also suggest that you work with a professional that is a part of an industry association like BILD and be a member in good standing with the RenoMark program and be Window Wise certified.
Tony Radocchia is a project manager with Ambia Windows and Doors Inc. and has more than 17 years of experience in the residential window and door industry. Ambia Windows and Doors Inc. has been a member of Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and Renomark since 2007. Ambia Windows and Doors has been a member of Sawdac and Window Wise and since 2006 and 2009 respectively and an accredited BBB member with an A+ rating since 2007; you can visit their website at www.ambiawindowsdoors.com
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