Heating your home during the winter months is about more than just how well your furnace is working. Your doors and windows let in a lot of cold and let out a lot of heat during the winter. Even if your Olathe heating and cooling system is operating at peak efficiency, your doors and windows may be affecting your home heating bill more than you realize. Here are nine things every homeowner in the Kansas City area should know about their windows and doors during the cold winter months.
1. New doors and windows reveal their problems during the winter months. Even if your windows and doors are relatively new—as in, they were installed last summer—you may spot drafts and other problems that you never noticed before as the weather turns cold. Windows and doors are put through their toughest paces in a Kansas winter, and materials can contract or become exposed to precipitation, which can lead to leaks or drafts as your windows and doors subtly change shape. When the weather turns cold, you'll want to keep a close eye on the performance of even relatively new windows and doors!
2. If they're dirty, they may not close tightly. You'd be surprised at how little dirt or debris it can take to interfere with a proper seal on your door or window. If they aren't sealing properly, they let in drafts and let out heat. Wiping down sills and door jambs is important, but it's also a good idea to occasionally clean hinges and other moving parts with a dry paintbrush to get rid of bits of sand, dirt, or leaves.
3. Even your energy-efficient windows may not be all that efficient by current standards. Energy-efficient windows date all the way back to the 1920s. As you might imagine, a lot of advances have been made since then: insulated glass, double-glazing, the low-emissivity glass that was created in the 1980s, and so on. While the median age of a home in Olathe is only about 22 years, that's still plenty of time for newer energy-efficient window technology to have left older versions behind. Upgrading your home's old windows to new ENERGY STAR replacements will save you a bundle on your Olathe heating and cooling bill over even double-paned older windows.
4. Your thermal curtains may actually be having a negative effect. Thermal curtains work great during the summer, when they help to block out the sun's hot rays. Unfortunately, trying to get them to work the other way—closing the heat inside during the winter—can actually have the opposite effect. Even during the winter months, sunlight has a huge impact on temperatures, so keeping curtains open during the daylight hours to let in as much sunlight as possible will help keep your home warm and your utility bills low. Once the sun goes down, though, it's time to close those thermal curtains and bundle up tight!
5. Deadbolts and draft guards provide an inexpensive fix for drafty doors. Placing some of those weighted fabric draft guards at the bottom of even doors or windows that seal fairly well can help keep the cold outside, where it belongs. If your door has a deadbolt, throwing it helps to strengthen the seal and keep the door shut tight. You'd be surprised how much of a difference it can make, especially on a cold night.
6. Condensation may mean you need to lower your thermostat or get a dehumidifier. Warm air generally contains more moisture than cold air. Unfortunately, this can lead to condensation on the inside of your windows during the cold winter months. This can encourage mold growth or be absorbed into wooden windows, which may lead to warping or rotting of the windowpanes themselves. If you notice excess condensation, the solution may be as simple as lowering the temperature a few degrees, which can reduce the amount of moisture in the air. If that fails, you may need a dehumidifier to help pull the moisture from the room.
7. The main floor windows aren't the only ones you need to worry about. Windows on the ground floor of your house may be the first ones you think of when it comes to drafts or leaks, but heat and cold can come in and out through any door or window, no matter where it's located. Windows on the second floor lose just as much heat as ground floor windows do. Basement windows are especially egregious culprits. If your basement windows have wells, one great way to increase your home's energy efficiency is to cover those wells during the winter months—which has the added benefit of preventing moisture from seeping in.
8. You can install new windows and doors during the winter. Many homeowners worry that installing new windows or doors during cold weather will lead to problems with the seal or insulating foam. However, professional window installers know what they're doing. They use materials that are suitable to the environment, and they won't install doors or windows at times when they won't seal properly. In fact, it's possible to install windows and doors in Olathe when the temperatures are below freezing!
9. Drafty doors and windows are hard on your wallet AND your heating system! Drafty doors and windows work both ways: They let warm air out and cold air in. That means you'll see an increase in your heating costs, sure, but it also means that your furnace and HVAC system is working harder than it should to try to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the house. Did your dad ever tell you, "We're not heating the outside"? Well, if you have leaky doors and windows, that's exactly what you're doing, and your furnace wasn't designed for it. Unfortunately, this can even lead to system breakdowns during the coldest part of the winter, which is, of course, the worst possible time.
If you notice drafts or changes in temperature near your doors or windows, that might be a sign that your door or window needs to be re-sealed with caulking or weatherstripping or possibly even replaced. As for the health and well-being of your furnace? Davenport Service Company can make sure everything is running as it should with one of our heating system tune-ups. We'll even change the filters for you! Just give us a call at 913-441-2222 today!