Did you know that a lit candle will determine whether or not there are leaks around your windows? Just hold the flame up to the interior windows and if it flickers, you’ll know that there is a draft and that will tell you that you will need to add more weather stripping or caulking.
Here is something else that the candles can do for you. If your window is stuck and you have a hard time opening it. Use the end of the candle to rub along the runners. The wax on the runners will make it much easier open. So keep some candles handy around the house so that your windows will open easier in the springtime and keep your house warmer in the winter.
Here is some more energy saving information when it comes to your windows.
We all know that windows bring light, warmth, and beauty into buildings and give a feeling of openness and space to living areas. They can also be a major source of heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. According to the Department of Energy, in 1990 alone, the energy used to offset unwanted heat losses and gains through windows in residential and commercial buildings cost the United States $20 billion (one-fourth of all the energy used for space heating and cooling).
However, when properly selected and installed, windows can help minimize a home's heating, cooling, and lighting costs.
Controlling Air Leaks
When air leaks around windows, energy is wasted. Energy is also transferred through the centers, edges, and frames of windows. Eliminating or reducing these paths of heat flow can greatly improve the energy efficiency of windows and, ultimately, of homes.
Several options are available to reduce air leaks around windows; the least expensive options are caulking and weather-stripping, followed by replacing window frames.
Caulking and Weather-stripping
Caulks are airtight compounds (usually latex or silicone) that fill cracks and holes. Before applying new caulk, old caulk or paint residue remaining around a window should be removed using a putty knife, stiff brush, or special solvent. After old caulk is removed, new caulk can then be applied to all joints in the window frame and the joint between the frame and the wall. The best time to apply caulk is during dry weather when the outdoor temperature is above 45° Fahrenheit (7.2° Celsius). Low humidity is important during application to prevent cracks from swelling with moisture. Warm temperatures are also necessary so the caulk will set properly and adhere to the surface.
Weather-stripping is a narrow piece of metal, vinyl, rubber, felt, or foam that seals the contact area between the fixed and movable sections of a window joint. It should be applied between the sash and the frame, but should not interfere with the operation of the window.
Replacing Window Frames
The type and quality of the window frame usually affects a window's air infiltration and heat loss characteristics. Many window frames are available—all with varying degrees of energy efficiency. Some of the more common window frames are fixed-pane, casement, double- and single-hung, horizontal sliding, hopper, and awning.
When properly installed, fixed-pane windows are airtight and inexpensive and can be custom designed for a wide variety of applications. But, because they cannot be opened, fixed-pane windows are unsuitable in places where ventilation is required.
Casement, awning, and hopper windows with compression seals are moderately airtight and provide good ventilation when opened. Casement windows open sideways with hand cranks. Awning windows are similar to casement windows except that their hinges are located at the tops of the windows instead of at the sides.
Hopper windows are inverted versions of awning windows with their hinges located at the bottom. Windows with compression seals allow about half as much air leakage as double-hung and horizontal sliding windows with sliding seals.
Double-hung windows have top and bottom sashes (the sliding sections of the window) and can be opened by pulling up the lower sashes or pulling down the upper sash. Although they are among the most popular type of window, double-hung windows can be inefficient because they are often leaky.
Single-hung windows are somewhat better because only one sash moves.
Horizontal sliding windows are like double-hung windows except that the sashes are located on the left and right edges rather than on the tops and bottoms. Horizontal sliding windows open on the side and are especially suitable for spaces that require a long, narrow view. These windows, however, usually provide minimal ventilation and, like double-hung windows, can be quite leaky.
Reducing Heat Loss and Condensation
Manufacturers usually represent the energy efficiency of windows in terms of their U-values (conductance of heat) or their R-values (resistance to heat flow). If a window's R-value is high, it will lose less heat than one with a lower R-value.
Conversely, if a window's U-value is low, it will lose less heat than one with a higher U-value. In other words, U-values are the reciprocals of R-values Most window manufacturers use R-values in rating their windows.
Usually, window R-values range from 0.9 to 3.0 (U-values range from 1.1 to 0.3), but some highly energy-efficient exceptions also exist. When comparing different windows, you should ensure that all U-or R-values listed by manufacturers:
(1) Figures are based on current standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
(2) They are calculated for the entire window, including the frame, and not just for the center of the glass
(3) They represent the same size and style of window.
The following factors affect the R-value of a window.
1.) Types of Glazing Materials
Traditionally, clear glass has been the primary material available for windowpanes in homes. However, in recent years, the market for glazing—or cutting and fitting windowpanes into frames—has changed significantly. Now several types of special glazing are available that can help control heat loss and condensation.
If you are new to painting here are some terms you will find useful when discussing your project with your hardware or home center worker.
Layers of Glass and Air Spaces
Standard single-pane glass has very little insulating value (approximately R-1). It provides only a thin barrier to the outside and can account for considerable heat loss and gain. Traditionally, the approach to improve a window's energy efficiency has been to increase the number of glass panes in the unit, because multiple layers of glass increase the window's ability to resist heat flow.
Double- or triple-pane windows have insulating air- or gas-filled spaces between each pane. Each layer of glass and the air spaces resist heat flow. The width of the air spaces between the panes is important, because air spaces that are too wide (more than 5/8 inch or 1.6 centimeters) or too narrow (less than 1/2 inch or 1.3 centimeters) have lower R-values (i.e., they allow too much heat transfer).
Advanced, multi-pane windows are now manufactured with inert gases (argon or krypton) in the spaces between the panes because these gases transfer less heat than does air. Multi-pane windows are considerably more expensive than single-pane windows and limit framing options because of their increased weight.
Frame and Spacer Materials
Window frames are available in a variety of materials including aluminum, wood, vinyl, and fiberglass. Frames may be primarily composed of one material, or they may be a combination of different materials such as wood clad with vinyl or aluminum-clad wood. Each frame material has its advantages and disadvantages.
Though ideal for strength and customized window design, aluminum frames conduct heat and therefore lose heat faster and are prone to condensation. Through anodizing or coating, the corrosion and Electro-galvanic deterioration of aluminum frames can be avoided. Additionally, the thermal resistance of aluminum frames can be significantly improved by placing continuous insulating plastic strips between the interior and exterior of the frame.
Wood frames have higher R-values, are not affected by temperature extremes, and do not generally promote condensation. Wood frames do require considerable maintenance in the form of periodic painting or staining. If not properly protected, wood frames can swell, which leads to rot, warping, and sticking.
Vinyl window frames, which are made primarily from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), offer many advantages. Available in a wide range of styles and shapes, vinyl frames have moderate to high R-values, are easily customized, are competitively priced, and require very low maintenance. While vinyl frames do not possess the inherent strength of metal or wood, larger-sized windows are often strengthened with aluminum or steel reinforcing bars.
Fiberglass frames are relatively new and are not yet widely available. With some of the highest R-values, fiberglass frames are excellent for insulating and will not warp, shrink, swell, rot, or corrode. Unprotected fiberglass does not hold up to the weather and therefore is always painted. Some fiberglass frames are hollow, while others are filled with fiberglass insulation.
Spacers are used to separate multiple panes of glass within the windows. Although metal (usually aluminum) spacers are commonly installed to separate glass in multi-pane windows, they conduct heat. During cold weather, the thermal resistance around the edge of a window is lower than that in the center; thus, heat can escape, and condensation can occur along the edges. To alleviate these problems, one manufacturer has developed a multi-pane window using a 1/8-inch-wide (0.32 centimeters-wide) PVC foam separator placed along the edges of the frame. Like other multi-pane windows, these use metal spacers for support, but because the foam separator is secured on top of the spacer between the panes, heat loss and condensation are reduced. Several window manufacturers now sandwich foam separators, nylon spacers, and insulation materials such as polystyrene and rockwool between the glass inside their windows.
We hope these tips will help keep you warm through the long winter nights and cool on those hot summer evenings.