Living in a classic 90 years old house is not bad at all. It's a standard, equal to living in a monument. One that is nine decades short of modernity though.
So, very quickly, old rugged windows will be part of the reason you are paying ridiculously high energy bills. Hence, despite your need to keep the house authentic, air sipping in and out of every nook and cranny be too much.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, loss related to windows values to nearly 25% of the air conditioning costs in an average American home.
If your home is less than 30 years old, chances are the company that built your home cut costs by using inferior windows. If your home is more than 30 years old, your windows probably don’t have any of the energy-saving solutions of modern window technology.
Generally there are two remedies to this, One, choose to tear down your windows and replace them with the energy efficient kind or two go hammer and tongs on repairs.
While both approaches will eventually reduce your utility bill, it makes more sense to go with the more cost-effective approach, in this case, repairs.
Consider this as your guide for when you decide to repair your windows.
Should I Repair or Replace My Windows? Quick Cost Analysis
Replacing windows should save thousands of dollars compared to replacement. If you want to repair you can expect to save as much as 50-70 percent off the replacement cost.
...when windows are repaired correctly it's hard to distinguish them from the best windows in your local area. The average cost of repairing windows come to about $130 while a good replacement window fully installed will start at about $500 up to $1500 dollars per window.
Although new windows can save you up to 25 percent of energy bills and up to $27 per year the installations costs are evidently expensive.
In approximation, Single hung windows will set you back $175-$300 per window, double hung $300-$800, sliding windows $325-$1200 while casement windows will cost 275-$750 per window.
Energy star qualified products will save you between $120-$465 per year depending on how many windows you replace but, in turn, cost you $150-$1000 per replacement.
I guess, its clear given these numbers the more cost-effective approach will be repairing old windows, which will still leak some air and lose heat than new ones but for little to no cost.
If your windows are in relatively good shape, that doesn't warrant full overhaul repairs have shorter payback periods.
However the cost of window replacement is relative and will vary depending on your location and design. Use this window replacement calcultor to get a rough estimate of your windows replacement cost.
Now,Lets Focus on Your Rickety- Drafty Windows
Old rickety windows have ages old glazing patty; brittle and falling. This leaves panes barely in place and rattling to days on end. Gradually winter gets colder as chill air leaks under drafty windows. In turn, you will need to run your heaters longer to escalating utility bills.
So, How Do You Tell Whether Your Windows are Drafty.
By now you know drafty windows let in cold air, to find out if your windows are actually drafty you will need to perform a visual or smoke inspection, if not contracting a professional to do the inspection.
Conducting a Visual Inspection
Lookout for gaps or cracks on the interior and exterior parts of your window.
On the outside sight areas where old caulk has failed revealing gaps between the window and frames.
Also lookout for glazing on the hard putty that holds individual panes in place.
From the inside inspect spots where daylight sips through the window structure other than the panes. This is particularly evident twilights; sunrise and sunset, where narrow rays of lights shine through cracks and gaps on the windows.
On rainy days you might see moisture of the inside window sills or frames while on a windy day curtains might move slightly even with the windows fully closed.
Finally you can wet two fingers and move them along the edges of the window if there any leaks you will feel the air slipping through cracks.
Do a Smoke Test
Most air leaks are not visually identifiable, hence a smoke test is necessary. To do this you will need to close all windows and doors in your house and turn off any combustion appliances.
Turn on the kitchen and bathroom exhaust to create a negative pressure front in your house, letting outside air slip through cracks and openings.
Hold a lit incense stick close to the window edges and look out for changes in the smoke made by the lit incense stick. If there are air leaks the smoke will waiver and draw inwards.
If there is no outside air leaking the smoke will remain undisturbed and you can assume there are no air leaks in that area.
Aged patty is however not the only reason your windows are drafty. Anyone or all of the following reason could make Halloween downright eerie, Winters chilly and Summers sizzling from draft cold spots.
Warping in Old Windows
Through the years weathering and water damage, cause windows to warp and slowly slide out of place. This forms large gaps through which air sips in and out negatively affecting your home's energy efficiency.
Wooden and single pane windows are particularly susceptible to warping, which bends and deforms the general structure of the window.
Moisture mostly contribute to warping with wooden structures absorbing rainwater which rot the window structure gradually. The process is hastened by perpetual shrinking and expansion given a range of varying weather conditions such as airflow, sunlight, and outside air temperature.
Here are a few common types of warping to watch out for:
- Bow: Bends along the face of the window.
- Crook: Bends along the edge of the window.
- Kink: Weakness in specific areas of the sash.
- Cup: Inward or outward warp of the window structure.
- Twist: Twisting on the window edges.
How to Easily Fix to Warping Windows
Although fixing waring windows is a temporary solution and which will most likely not reduce your utility bill as much, it's important to generally improve their image and reduce the rattling.
- Loosen the hinges: Warped window shrink and expand frequently that they with time fail to fit in the opening. Loosening hinges create more flexibility hence the window can expand and shrink easily.
- Adjust the windows: Warping can make windows shift from their design position. Loosen the hinges with a screwdriver and manually adjust windows back to place.
- Weatherstripping: Close and lock your window then inspect look out for gas along the window edges. Once you've identified areas where the air is sipping through, use appropriate weather stripping material to fix the spaces
Weather stripping refers to the material or process used to seal air leaks through cracks, gaps, and joints that are less than a quarter inch wide. Unlike caulk which is used in stationary parts, weatherstripping is used in movable building components like operable doors, windows and attic access.
Weatherstripping used in the window sash accommodate the sliding opening and closing of panes but seal small gaps when the window is closed. However, the sealing material is susceptible to general wear depending on the operating conditions and type of seal used.
Sealing on old installations, slowly lose the initial integrity eventually cracking and let air leak through inadequately sealed gaps and cracks.
Weather stripping deteriorates due to age, friction, and exposure to the elements. It also can be damaged by people, pets, and pests. At least once each year, inspect your windows and doors to check for air leaks that indicate your weather stripping is damaged.
- Rubber and vinyl weather stripping becomes dry, brittle, and cracked. Over time, it can also lose its shape and effectiveness.One advantage with vinyl stripping is they perform better in areas with high moisutre
- Self-adhesive form tape gradually lose resilience and grip and over time can no longer spring up to fill gaps. The weatherstripping also pull away from the window frame letting air leak.
- Spring-metal V-shaped weather stripping bends out of shape, cracks in spots, and comes loose thanks to missing nails.However metal stipping - bronze, copper, stainless steel, aluminum- are affordable, durable and fit in older houses where vinyl stipping look out of place.
Quick Step-by-Step to Seal Drafty Windows
- Remove old caulk from the frame joints, carefully cut or scrap the old caulk using a utility knife, scrapper or caulk remover tool.
- Wipe away any debris or loss material then wipe the area with clean water and soap to remove any dust, dirt or grease.
- Rub the place with rubbing alcohol to remove remaining residue, making sure the area is clean and dry for adequate adhesion.
- If the depth of the joint is more than one and a half inch, insert form backer rod before applying. Use painters tape to create a straight edge on the side of the joint before sealing
- To begin applying sealant cut the nozzle of the caulk tube at a 45 degrees angle to the desired size. Place the tube in the caulk gun are you are ready to seal your window
- Hold the caulk at a 45 degrees angle and start squeezing the trigger with steady pressure to applying in even consistency.
- Once done smooth the caulk with a caulk finishing tool or your finger dipped in water.
- Remove the masking tape and let the window dry after cleaning any excess seal.