As necessary as they are to an enjoyable home, windows can also be one of the biggest energy wasters.
You may need window insulation to prevent the air leakage and heat transfer through glass that’s so common with older and/or single-pane windows. Glass has virtually no insulating value and if there are air leaks, the air you’ve paid to condition is either leaving your home or outdoor air is coming inside.
All you have to do to find out if your windows lack thermal insulation is to put your hand on them on a chilly morning or evening. If they’re cold, they’re losing heat through the glass.
Air infiltration is harder to pinpoint, which is why some homeowners use an energy auditor to find and identify the source of the leaks. Minus a professional audit, you can move a lighted stick of incense around the window frames on a windy day and watch for smoke that wavers, indicating a leak. It’s more likely that the exterior window frames will have air leaks than the inside frames. The caulk used to install them dries out over time, especially from solar exposure.
New Energy Star or thermal-rated windows will solve the window insulation issues, but if they’re not in your plans, make the existing windows more energy efficient by:
- Sealing the spaces between the frames and the exterior with acrylic caulk. Silicone caulk works well, but it’s permanent and difficult to remove once set. Paint won’t adhere to silicone.
- Insulating the windows by hanging thermal window coverings over the windows or apply plastic window films to add a layer of protection. You can also hang specially treated window films to block heat from moving inside and out.Such film gives you year-round protection from heat movement without blocking your view outside. The films also provide privacy from the street, since the films block visibility from the outside. Besides energy savings and privacy, this film makes window glass stronger.
If you’d like more information window insulation and saving energy, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing HVAC services for Orlando-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).