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Inspecting Your Windows: Checking Window Seals

Inspecting window seals in your home

To keep comfortable and reduce your utility bills, periodically check the window seals in your home.

Any time there is an opening in the exterior surface of your home, there is a chance for leaks to develop. This includes openings for windows, doors, vents, electrical and plumbing fixtures. To prevent drafts and leaks, the seals around these openings must be properly maintained. The following tips will help you to check the window seals in your home.

Types of Window Seals

Seals on windows are constantly exposed to the destructive forces of heat, cold, moisture, wind, UV rays, and the wear-and-tear caused by repeatedly opening and closing the sashes. Eventually, older seals will fail and lead to drafts and leaks. By taking the time to periodically inspect these seals, you can discover issues and ensure that they are operating as intended.

Modern windows have three types of seals that affect their insulating properties. The first type are the seals between the frame and the walls of your home. These seals are created when the windows are installed, and are usually made with a flexible caulk.

The second type of seal is formed between the window frame and the sash. These seals are usually put in place at the factory when the window is assembled from its component parts.

The third type is used to seal the space between the double or triple panes of glass in insulated windows. These seals are created at the factory during assembly, when the space between the panes is typically filled with an inert gas.

Check your Window Seals

To make sure your seals are working as they should, make it a habit to inspect them at least once a year.

The first and easiest step is to do a visual inspection of your windows. Look at the points where your window meets the wall and the sash meets the frame. If you can see gaps or light coming in, there is a good chance your seals have failed.

Other visible indications include cracked, discolored, loose or missing sealants. Look at the surrounding walls for indications of water intrusion such as cracking and peeling paint or signs of mold. Lastly, inspect double and triple panes of glass for signs of moisture.

The next step is to feel how securely your window and its components are installed. Sashes should open and close smoothly, without excessive movement or noise. Tap on each glass pane in your windows to see if they rattle or move. In some cases, you can feel drafts by holding a damp hand near the seals of your window.

To identify drafts from hidden issues, use a lit candle or incense stick. On a day when the wind is blowing, hold the candle or incense stick near the seals. Look for bending of flame or movement of the smoke to indicate a draft that is letting air in or out of your home.

Lee’s Glass Pro Tip: While checking your windows for drafts, go ahead and inspect other potential sources for leaks as well. Doors, electrical outlets, switches, fans and vents are all potential spots for leaks.

Call the Professionals

To make a big dent in your utility bills, reach out to Gulf Power for a free Energy Checkup. They perform a whole-home energy audit that looks at your HVAC, insulation and all the factors that affect your energy usage. In addition, certain customers may qualify for Gulf Power’s EarthCents incentives to help offset the cost of new, energy efficient windows. If you have identified a window in need of replacement, call Lee’s Glass and Window Works for a free estimate.

"Greg and I love our new windows and doors from Lee's. Not only do we have a more energy efficient home, it also has a more appealing look to it. We experienced friendly professional service that comes with a quality locally owned family business. "
- Margaret W.