A windowless Tucson home is not a home that most people would want to live in. As important as windows are to your home’s beauty and livability, they can cause problems when it comes to energy-efficiency. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to improve your windows so that you don’t have to worry about wasting energy. Whether you want to spend a lot or a little, these tips from Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Tucson, AZ, can help get you on the path toward reducing your home’s energy usage.
1. Make Sure Your Windows Are the Problem
If you’re experiencing odd fluctuations in the temperature of your home, we at Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing encourage you to complete an energy audit of your home before you do anything else. An energy audit finds the specific areas where the air is entering and exiting your home by using a fan that pulls air from your home. When you complete this process, you may find that your windows aren’t the problem at all or that they’re only a small part of the problem. If your windows are leaky, though, there’s plenty more you can do.
2. Replace Your Windows
Although it’s drastic and somewhat costly, replacing your windows is the best way to ensure that your energy-efficiency issues are taken care of. New windows have two or three panes of glass with a special insulating gas between the panes. Plus, they feature tilt-in panels so that you can easily clean the outside of your windows to maintain a perfect view. In some cases, you may not need to replace all of your windows at once, meaning that you can perform the task as you have extra money available.
3. Protect Your Windows From the Sun
Although shutters on homes are largely decorative these days, that doesn’t mean that usable shutters don’t exist. In fact, working shutters are a smart addition to your home’s exterior because they can both prevent sunlight from heating up your home and protect your windows during severe weather. You can even find electric shutters that can open and close automatically. This allows you to adjust the shutter settings throughout the day to block as much sunlight as possible.
4. Add an Invisible Layer
For a cost-saving solution that’s a little less drastic than shutters, window film makes a good alternative. You can easily install window film on your windows by using a hairdryer to heat the window film so that it adheres to the surface of the window. Embedded in the film are various compounds that reflect solar energy to help keep your home’s interior cool. In the winter, we at Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing recommend a different type of window film that goes over the entire window casing to prevent cold air from entering your home.
5. Check for Busted Seals
One common problem that many Tucson homeowners face is windows with busted seals. This means that the seal between the pane of glass and the window frame has deteriorated to the point that air can move between the interior and exterior of your home. The easiest way to check for a busted seal is to look for condensation between the panes of glass in your window.
Since the air that is directly against one pane of glass is different than the temperature of the air that is against the other pane of glass, there will always be one pane of glass that is cool enough to condense the moisture in the air. In many cases, homeowners choose to replace windows with busted seals. However, if the window is still in good condition overall, the pros at Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing recommend repairing the individual window panel instead.
6. Add Some Caulk
Another common problem area that contributes to window inefficiency is the location where the window meets the window frame. To ensure a tight seal, caulk needs to be applied to this area when a new window is installed. Over time, though, the caulk can begin to break down, leading to gaps around your home’s windows that allow a lot of air to leak out of your home.
The good news is that replacing the caulk around your windows is a simple task. First, you will need to remove the old caulk with a utility knife or caulk removal tool. After that, clean the area around your window so that the caulk can adhere properly. Finally, using a caulk gun, apply a thin bead of caulk around each window, smoothing it out with your finger as you go. You will want to repeat this process for both the interior and exterior seals. If you would prefer to have someone else take this project on, the pros at Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing stand ready to help.
7. Fill Large Gaps
Sometimes, gaps around windows are much larger than what caulk can fill. This may be due to changes in the window frame’s size due to settling or simply an undersized window. In any event, you will want to fill these gaps before applying any caulk or other weatherproofing materials. The easiest product to use is spray foam. This product starts as a liquid that quickly expands to efficiently fill large gaps. Once the spray foam dries, you can cut it to size to create a perfect fit.
You can also use foam blocks or tubes to fill in gaps. This works well if the gap is too small to work well with spray foam but too large for caulk to be useful. By mixing and matching various types of weatherproofing materials, you will be able to see big improvements in energy efficiency.
8. Treat Your Windows Well
Another great solution to energy loss is to add window treatments to the windows in your home. Blinds and curtains can help control how much sunlight a certain room receives and help block air from exiting a room through an inefficient window. Black-out curtains, specifically, allow you to tightly control the amount of light that enters a room.
Since sunlight can cause significant temperature gain when it strikes interior surfaces, curtains can be a powerful tool in your energy-saving arsenal. The best part is that your window treatments, unlike some of the other solutions on this list, help beautify your home in addition to helping you save money.
Your Home Efficiency Experts
At Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we are proud to provide unique solutions to help our customers save money. If you need an energy audit to determine why your home is losing conditioned air, we can take care of that for you. We can also maintain, repair, and install furnaces and air conditioners to help improve your home’s comfort. In addition, we can install water heaters, clean drains, repair plumbing fixtures, clean ducts, and much more. Proud winners of an Angie’s List Super Service Award, you can be sure that our technicians can take care of you when you are having a problem with your home’s mechanical systems. To learn more about upgrading your windows, contact us at Rite Way Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today.