When it comes to lowering your carbon footprint and reducing your energy bills, purchasing a high-efficiency heating system for your San Diego, California home is a good start. However, even a high-efficiency heater can’t perform optimally if you’ve got leaky windows. The heat loss from leaky windows can wind up costing you money in more ways than one. Read on to find out why.
Leaky Windows Cause Constant Heat Loss
If your home has leaky windows, it causes furnaces, boilers, and heat pumps to constantly fight against the cold temperatures outside. On cooler days, these heating systems run non-stop. This is due to a process known as conduction in which the warm air inside of a home is attracted to the cold air outdoors. Window leaks cause much of the heat that your heating system produces to pass right through the panes.
This is especially common in older homes with single-pane windows, but it is also an issue for many newer homes that have multi-pane windows with leaky seals. Until you upgrade your windows, you’ll be spending money to send heat outdoors.
Expect Longer Heating Cycles and More of Them
Inside efficient and well-sealed homes, heaters turn on and run for a moderate amount of time. It doesn’t take long for these units to create the indoor temperatures that residents have set using their thermostats. However, in homes with constant air leaks, it takes far longer for the building interior to warm up. Longer heating cycles are necessary for offsetting the constant heat loss that’s occurring.
Leaky windows also mean that your building’s interior will cool down more quickly. Within minutes of a heating cycle reaching its end, your indoor temperatures will drop and a new heating cycle will begin. This can cause your energy bill to skyrocket. Worse still, if you’ve had window leaks for quite some time, you may be paying excessive heating costs without even realizing it.
Expect More Heater Repairs and Higher Repair Costs
The extra work that heaters are subjected to when heat loss is constant causes them to wear down quickly. Even if you have a relatively new heater in your home, you can expect it to malfunction on a regular basis. Excess wear also leads to shorter lifespans for home heating systems. Homeowners that have leaky windows and don’t get them fixed in a timely fashion often have to pay for heater replacements long before the end of their heating systems’ estimated lifespans have been reached.
You’ll Deal With Cold, Drafty Areas All of the Time
Certain areas of your home are guaranteed to feel cold and drafty nearly all of the time. When crisp, winter temperatures set in, your home’s perimeter walls will feel noticeably cold to the touch. Given that heat rises, if you have hardwood, tile, or natural stone floors, these surfaces will feel cold and drafty too. Even when your heater is on and much of your home feels warm and toasty, you’ll find yourself pining away for warm socks or slippers whenever you pass through these areas.
Your HVAC System May Be Exposed to Indoor Mold
Window leaks can result in:
- The loss of heated or conditioned air
- Condensation on your windows and window panes
- Moisture-related building damages
- The ingress of actual precipitation
Constant heat loss isn’t the only problem that leaky windows cause. If these features aren’t repaired or replaced, they can leave their frames, the surrounding drywall, all nearby baseboards, and the underlying flooring looking far worse for the wear. The moisture that leaky windows collect and the moisture that they let into the home can undermine the integrity of building materials and set the stage for mold growth.
When it comes to treating mold, the very first step is to eliminate its source. Although you can spray moldy window sills with homemade treatments that include white vinegar or bleach, visible mold will always return. The mold that grows on or around leaky windows will establish roots in every porous surface that it settles on. Until all window leaks are sealed and a proper mold treatment is performed, your indoor air quality will decline and the health of every building resident might suffer.
Mold development at leaky windows can be especially problematic for HVAC systems. Once these mold spores become airborne, they’ll enter your HVAC equipment and flourish there. They’ll travel into your HVAC ductwork, and these spores will be recirculated throughout your home indefinitely. Moreover, getting rid of mold in HVAC systems is both challenging and costly.
What Are Leaky Windows?
Leaky windows can mean many different things. Old, improperly installed, and badly damaged windows can let outdoor moisture in. However, some leaky windows don’t look like they’re in bad shape at all. They aren’t constantly covered in condensation and they aren’t surrounded by mold. As windows age, the chemical components in their sealant start to break down. Although excess moisture will eventually serve as a visual clue of problems, you might not see much more than slight discoloration along a leaky window’s sealant line. Notwithstanding this fact, a window with deteriorated sealant won’t keep heat trapped in your home, even if it isn’t yet letting moisture in.
What Causes Windows to Leak?
Window leaks have four common causes. These are:
- Normal age-related wear
- Installation issues
- Damaged hardware that prevents windows from completely closing
- Design flaws
If you have leaky, multi-pane windows, repairs aren’t a likely option. You’ll have to replace these features instead. Fortunately, most multi-pane windows are under warranty. Check the guarantee that you received when having your windows installed. Damaged seals and other design or installation flaws could be covered by the window manufacturer or the window installer.
How to Protect Your Heating System From Damages Caused By Window Leaks
Take a minute to assess the windows throughout your home. If the perimeter walls or floors by your windows feel cold or damp, you likely have window leaks. Look for evidence of mold, condensation, and discolored window seals. If any of these issues exist, have the affected windows inspected and repaired or replaced right away.
Next, check and change your HVAC air filter. Home heating systems that are forced to work harder than normal due to leaky windows need a little extra care. If you haven’t done so recently, schedule a heater inspection and tune-up service. Let your HVAC technician know that you’ve just identified and resolved one or more window leaks. Your provider can check for excess wear and other signs of distress and resolve them.
It won’t hurt to have more insulation added to your home. You can also have a home energy audit performed. Energy auditors can help you find other areas of air and heat loss and correct them. The more steps that you take to improve the efficiency of your home, the easier it will be for your heating equipment to do its job.
Tarpy Plumbing, Heating & Air proudly serves residents of San Diego, California and the surrounding areas. We provide heating, cooling, plumbing, and indoor air quality services. If your home heating system has been subjected to excessive wear due to leaky windows, we can help. Contact Tarpy Plumbing, Heating & Air today.