Feel a Draft? 7 Common Causes of Drafty Windows

You keep your home at a comfortable temperature with your heating system. But when you walk past certain windows, you feel a distinct chill. This pocket of cold air is likely a draft coming from a specific window. Drafts usually occur due to a problem with a window’s weatherstripping or seal. This defect can appear around the outside edge of the frame, where the frame and the glass meet, or anywhere that panes of glass overlap, open, or move. For example, if you have a gliding window, the sash is vulnerable to developing a draft. In this blog, we list seven of the conditions that can lead to drafty windows.

1. Advanced Wear and Tear

While most high-quality windows can last decades, normal wear and tear does take its toll. As you use your windows, the weatherstripping can become compacted, twisted, or worn away. Even a small patch of worn-out weatherstripping could result in a cold spot in your home.

2. Aging Window and/or Frame

Even if you do not frequently open or close a window, the pane and frame may still be affected by age. For example, over time wooden frames can crack or warp, leaving small gaps that can let in cold air. If your windows are over 20 years old or you do not know how old they are, have a professional assess their structural integrity to determine if age has made the window drafty.

3. Extreme Outdoor Temperature Changes

If your home has cheaper windows, especially if you have low-quality wood or vinyl frames, drafts can be caused by temperature changes. Certain materials expand when warm and contract when cold. The contraction of a cheap window frame during cold weather could let outside air into your home. If you live in an area with extreme seasonal temperatures, choose window materials specifically designed not to expand or contract, like aluminum or high-quality wood.

4. High Levels of Moisture

If you live in a humid climate or in an area with high amounts of rainfall, your windows take more of a beating. When your windows are exposed to more moisture, there’s a higher chance that water will seep under the seal and break it, letting in moisture and cold air. Whenever you notice condensation on your windows, wipe it away with a dry cloth to minimize the risk of water damage.

5. Inadequate or Incorrect Maintenance

Most weatherstripping requires minimal maintenance beyond wiping it down to keep it dry. However, neglecting to clean weatherstripping properly when you clean your windows or exposing your weathestripping to corrosive chemicals can cause issues. Follow all instructions from your window contractor and manufacturer to ensure that your windows are properly maintained.
6. Poor Installation
If your windows were not originally installed by a reputable professional, there may be weaknesses in the seal, especially around the outside of the frame. Always have window services handled by an experienced and trusted contractor to prevent issues like drafts.

7. Unaddressed Mold

If your seal or weatherstripping consists of rubber or a similar material, it is vulnerable to some varieties of mold. This organic growth can eat away at the rubber, changing its shape and reducing its effectiveness. If you notice minor mildew, clean the area with an alcohol-based solvent or with vinegar. If you notice mold, request professional help from a mold remediation specialist. Use this list of causes to prevent future drafts from threatening the comfort of your home. If you notice a persistent draft near a particular window, consult with an expert from Arch Design. In some cases, a draft can be fixed by replacing or repairing a window’s weatherstripping and seal. However, some advanced drafts require replacement. Need a replacement? Look through our beautiful window products to find yours.

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