Posts

How Manufacturers Prevent Air Leaks Around Window Panes

We get some wonderful questions from our customers, who often want to know more about the latest improvements in windows and window manufacturing. Recently, we received this great question regarding the steps manufacturers are taking to prevent air leaks around window panes—a common concern for any homeowner.


Dear Todd & Tod,

I know that double hung windows are only as good as the seals around them to prevent drafts and air leaks. What improvements have manufacturers made lately to create better seals and prevent air leaks around window panes?

–Edward


First of all, we want to thank Edward for this excellent question! Here in Wisconsin, air infiltration around windows in your home is a big problem, especially in cold weather.

At Weather Tight, we have over 30 years of experience battling these cold winter months. During that time, we’ve seen many changes and improvements in window manufacturing. Here’s how manufacturers are designing better seals to prevent air leaks around window panes.

 

 

 

What’s So Bad About Air Leaks Around Window Panes?

We all know windows are designed to keep the warm air inside and to keep the cold air out during the winter time. Without proper sealing solutions, the windows become less effective. Cold air seeps into your home and can greatly impact your comfort and wellbeing.

Air leaks are a huge worry and expense for homeowners. Much of the heat loss in your home stems from drafty windows (as well as through a roof that may need a replacement) and as the heat goes out and cold comes in, your energy bill continues to skyrocket. This not only means extra blankets and socks when you’re watching a movie on the couch, but it means spending extra money to heat your home as you turn up the thermostat.

Here in the Midwest, we often see homeowners getting out the plastic and tape to prevent dreaded window drafts in the winter. There are a number of reasons why plastic on the windows isn’t an effective or long-term solution. If you can feel the cold air leaking around your window panes, chances are you need window replacement, not plastic and tape!

Of course, the question on every homeowner’s mind is: are new windows really worth the investment? If manufacturers aren’t taking steps to improve the seals and design of the windows, are you doomed to replace them every decade as the seals wear out?

The good news is that over the last decade, window manufacturers have made huge improvements in airtight features of their windows. Today, windows hold up to cold weather and keep your house safe and comfortable for years to come. Here’s what manufacturers are doing to ensure your new windows will prevent air leaks around window panes.

Improvement in Modern Window Seals and Design

There is a great deal of new technology used in window seals and design. Even in the last 10-15 years, great strides have been made to prevent air loss around window panes. Older homes and even homes built in the last few decades may need window replacement, especially if the original window panes were made with materials like aluminum, wood, or steel.

With these improved window sealing and design features, you can rest assured that your new windows will remain tightly sealed for years and years to come. Here are the best features in new windows to prevent air leaks around window panes.

Quality Weatherstripping

If you’re concerned about air leaks around your current windows, the first step is to check the weather-stripping. The stripping should be in good condition, not folded down or damaged.  Stripping should run all the way around the perimeter of the window, as well as across the center.

Double weatherstripping is the most effective way to keep windows sealed tight

Most weatherstripping features a raised point or “fin” in the middle of the strip. This is called the Mylar fin. It makes the stripping stand up stronger and taller as it compresses against the window frame. This Mylar fin is key in helping to prevent air leaks around window panes, keeping the window airtight.

The mylar fin makes window weatherstripping stronger, ensuring a tighter seal

These days, window manufacturers are using double and even triple weather-stripping for the lowest air infiltration rates. Weather Tight replacement windows, such as our full-frame windows, feature this unsurpassed air leak prevention. The more weather stripping the manufacturers use, the better off your window will be in terms of air leaks and air infiltration.

Bottom of the Window Sealing

If you look along the bottom of most new windows, you’ll see what’s called a bulb seal. This is a rounded rubber seal that keeps the window tightly sealed and prevents air leakage. This seal should also be in excellent condition—free of cracks or damage. If your bulb seal isn’t in good shape, this can often be the source of window air leakage.

Bulb seals help prevent air leakage and should be kept in good condition

Think of the window’s bulb seal as being similar to the seal around your refrigerator and freezer door. It keeps cold air from leaking out of the fridge and ensures your food stays a consistent temperature. Similarly, the bulb seal keeps your home at a consistent temperature and prevents air from getting in and out under the window.

Many new windows now feature a double seal. While one seal is good, two is, of course, better. When you close your window, the cold air is completely sealed out, allowing almost nothing in across the bottom and side of the window. This keeps your home warm and comfortable in the cold months when your windows are closed.

Special Tapered Locks

Older homes may feature windows with simple metal locks and even clamps, screw-in, and squeeze-locks that keep the window shut and locked.

While these locks are an important security feature that prevents the window from being opened from the outside, they don’t effectively seal the window and prevent air leaks around window panes. They can also be difficult to open in an emergency situation (or for simply cleaning the window).

Newer windows, however, feature special tapered locks. When you close the window and lock it, the window sashes are tightly squeezed together. This tight closure holds the weather stripping exactly where it needs to be to stop air leaks and cold air from sneaking through.

Strong Fiberglass Frames

We think of windows as solid structures that don’t move at all. The truth is, when the wind blows hard against window frames, they can bow and move. This is called deflection and it happens in almost all homes.

When this occurs, the movement and pressure alters the window frame, which can eventually become loose. The weather stripping will then no longer create an effective seal against the window and window pane and unfortunately, you will start to see some air infiltration.

Newer replacement windows remedy this problem by using a number of reinforcement materials. Some are made of wood, aluminum, or steel. None of these materials are nearly as effective as fiberglass, which has the tensile strength of steel but is a non-conductive material (which is why fiberglass is also used in home insulation).

With non-conductive fiberglass, the cold won’t seep in through the window frame and get into your home. Fiberglass also prevents the sash from misshaping and stays strong in all types of weather. This is a cutting-edge solution for strong, airtight windows.

So, if you’re experiencing air infiltration with your windows, take the plastic off your winter prep list. Chances are, it’s time to look at installing replacement windows to prevent air leaks around window panes.

If you’re ready to install new windows and improve the comfort, livability, and look of your home, Weather Tight is here to help! Contact us today and we’ll talk you through the process. We’re happy to visit your home and assess the effectiveness of your windows. Call us today to learn how affordable new windows can be. You’ll save the discomfort and high energy bills that come with leaky windows in the winter.

 

 

Why is a Gutter Protection System Important?

Foundation work can be expensive. As a homeowner in Wisconsin, you’re likely familiar with our extreme weather patterns, which means you’re probably aware that structural damage — especially to older homes — is common. Foundation damage is a regular issue here in the Midwest, but the best preventative measure is as simple as installing a gutter protection system.  Weather Tight offers gutter protection systems to customers who have Weather Tight gutters installed on their homes.

You can prevent foundation damage by investing in simple, cost-effective, preventative measures. One of the easiest (and most affordable) ways to prevent damage to your foundation is by keeping your gutters flowing and moving running water away from your home.

Winter is inevitable. Water, rain, leaves, and dirt can’t be avoided. That’s why a solid gutter protection system is vital to protecting your home (and for added safety – it keeps you off the ladder, cleaning out gutters).

Get Off the Ladder with a Gutter Protection System

The primary need for a gutter system is to ensure that water properly drains away from the foundation of a building. Gutters work well when they are maintained, properly pitched, and perhaps, most importantly, kept clear of debris. Without proper gutter drainage, water will back up in the gutter and overflow. This excess water creates major structural problems by weakening and eventually destroying the concrete foundation of your home.

If your current gutter system is correctly installed and pitched so that water runoff flows effectively, we’d bet that clearing gutter-clogging build up is responsible for at least one annual headache. Debris, leaves, and dirt collect in your gutters and the inevitable removal process is both time consuming and dangerous. Anyone who’s spent hours on a ladder knows the hazards all too well. Unfortunately, if you ignore clean up, your gutters simply won’t function properly.

Gutter cleanup isn’t a one-time fix, either. This is a dirty job many homeowners must undertake multiple times per year. In the spring, you perch perilously on a ladder as you clear the gutters of winter debris in anticipation of April showers.

In the summer, your backed-up gutters become a breeding ground for mosquitos due to the standing water pooling in the system.

In the fall, you’re facing falling leaves and sticks that must be cleared to prepare for winter precipitation. Clogged gutters in the snowy months lead to excessive water runoff, damage to your roof, icy buildup on sidewalks, and many more hazards. Worst case scenario, improper drainage leads to structural damage.

Without clear gutters, it’s only a matter of time before water damages your house. Save yourself the hazards and the dangerous trips up and down the ladder. Install a proper gutter protection system and you’ll also save money from pesky foundation repairs in the future.

What Are Gutter Protection Systems?

There are a lot of gutter protection options available on the market today, but it’s important to understand, not all gutter protection methods are created equal. Here’s how the different systems measure up (including our recommendation, below).

ALL gutter protection systems must meet certain criteria:

  • Support the weight of ice and snow in the wintertime. Wisconsin winters are particularly harsh, so this is especially important. You don’t want gutters caving-in or breaking due to the weight of ice.
  • Prevent large debris from clogging the flow of water by protecting the top of the gutter. Trees create a lot of falling sticks and leaves that easily collect in your gutters. As the debris builds up, it mildews, molds, and creates an unpleasant sludge–this is often what people think of removing when they’re tasked with cleaning gutters. Yuck!
  • Allow small debris (broken twigs, seeds, etc.) to wash away with water flow and avoid clogs. Small pieces of debris easily build up to create water flow barriers, especially if there are larger sticks and leaves already stuck in the gutters. This results in gutter overflow and water damage to your home.

Gutter Protection System Types

Aluminum Dome System
One of the most common solutions, this gutter protection system clips onto your gutter and gets its name from the screen mesh dome running along the top of your gutter when installed. Available at many local stores and hardware centers, the main issue with this style of gutter protection system is that the holes in the wire mesh easily become clogged.

Because the mesh design captures debris so easily, it builds up over time and blocks the holes. Once these holes are blocked, the gutter protection system no longer works. As a result, you still end up on a ladder, cleaning debris from mesh wire instead of from the gutter itself.

Vinyl Material
Another mesh weave gutter protection system, the vinyl material is easy to install and lays flat over the gutter. This gutter protection system creates the same problem as the aluminum dome system: the small mesh holes are easily clogged with twigs, leaves, and branches.

In addition, these vinyl material inserts don’t stand up well to the bitter cold, wet, and icy Wisconsin winters. They don’t support the weight of ice and snow, and in a few seasons, the vinyl becomes brittle and breaks due to exposure. Once again, you’re on the ladder every year cleaning gutter clogs out of holes — this time in vinyl.

Bullnose (Aluminum)
This is a much better option than the dome or vinyl systems, but the bullnose design is still flawed. The bullnose shape allows water to flow into the gutter while enabling large debris to fall right over the gutter to the ground below.

Nearly every bullnose solution is built with a slotted design. These slots are part of the system support structure, and while able to stand up well to the elements during any season, the slots still become clogged. The smaller the slot, the faster they get clogged.

Like the other solutions mentioned above, rubble, leaves, and sticks build up, block water, and force you to climb back up on the ladder.

The Weather Tight Advantage — Efficiently Clean Gutters!

Gutter Protection Milwaukee, WI
Weather Tight is proud to offer the patented E-Z HydroClean Gutter Protection System to customers who have Weather Tight gutters installed on their home. Our custom bracket system improves upon the classic bullnose design by eliminating the slot entirely.  Weather Tight’s bracket design hooks onto the gutter wall, creating wide gaps for water to flow while providing strong support for the system.

Like the bullnose gutter protection system design, water drains over the top of our system and into the gutter, while large debris falls to the ground below. Because there are no slots in the Weather Tight system, small bits of refuse wash into the gutter and are pushed out with the water flow. This gutter protection system keeps water flowing efficiently inside gutters and away from the foundation of your home.

Installing our Weather Tight gutter protection system is fast and easy too! Our installation specialist first loosens the shingles along the edge of your roof and installs the brackets for the gutter protection system. Then, by sliding the gutter protection panels underneath the loosened shingles, the specialist connects the panels to fit tightly to the new brackets.

Next, the panels of the gutter protection system are screwed down to the roof beneath the shingles. Finally, the panels are screwed down where they overlap with specialized screws — and that’s it! Your new gutter protection system is ready to keep your home safe for years to come.

Learn more by watching our review and install demo on YouTube, here.

 

The Weather Tight E-Z HydroClean Gutter Protection System

  • Compatible with most common gutter sizes (5” or 6”).
  • Available in 13 color combinations to compliment virtually any roof.
  • Protects your foundation from structural damage.
  • Saves you money on expensive future repair work.
  • Prevents the need to clean your gutters (and keeps you off the ladder)!
  • Can only be installed with Weather Tight gutters.

The Weather Tight E-Z HydroClean Gutter Protection System is an elegant solution to gutter protection, preventing gutter blockages while directing water away from your foundation. It’s sturdy enough to stand up to anything Mother Nature throws at it — especially our hard Wisconsin winters.

Here at Weather Tight, we understand the importance of protecting your home. We’ve installed countless gutter systems for over 30 years, and we stand behind our work.

Give us a call or chat here with one of our reps for a free in-home estimate today!

Weather Tight $25k Home Makeover Sweepstakes- A Winner Every Month!

But did you know that in addition to entering our yearly sweepstakes – you are also signed up to be in the running to be selected as a monthly winner? Well, just in case you didn’t, let me tell you how it works!

The Truth is..

Oh, I almost forgot- in case you didn’t know- EACH month we select a winner for $1,000 Weather Tight Cash, good towards your money off your next purchase! Don’t worry- if you are not the lucky monthly winner, your name goes right back in for the yearly sweepstakes drawing! If you haven’t entered your name yet this year- you can do so by clicking HERE!

Waukesha County Fair- Celebrating 175 years of fair tradition!

Weather Tight Corporation has teamed up with the Waukesha County Fair to offer free admission to all seniors on Thursday, July 20th- as well as $5 Adult Entry on Sunday, July 23rd! Plus, don’t miss out on our daily prize give-away’ s. We are giving away 2 State Fair tickets & a flat screen TV every day!

Should you invest in Diamond Kote® siding? Indubitably! Let us tell you why.

It is spring in Wisconsin.. well.. sort of. I am starting to think Mother Nature went AWOL. However- we know that in due time the grass will start to brighten, displaying lush hues of striking emerald. We will find ourselves able to enjoy those lazy sun-drenched afternoons – accompanied by the unambiguous aroma of a charcoal barbecue. Everything that winter left barren & achromatic will come alive & I think we all deserve to catch up on our depleted levels of vitamin D! :)

WANTED! WEATHER TIGHT IS HIRING!

If you are looking for an enriching job with great pay and the benefits to boot, then WE are the place for YOU! Share this with your friends, tell them about it, email it, or simply share it. But, do it fast because these positions will not last long! :)

You can apply right there.. just click that link.. yes, that one!

Pocket Install VS. Full Frame Install- Know the difference, know the benefits.

Many homeowners understand that there is a lot of time and research that goes into shopping for new windows. However- the most difficult question might not be which company you go with, but rather which window installation type benefits you the best? How do you know which one is the better option & do you even know that there are various options available? There are many factors that can determine the type of window installation to go with. To determine which installation option is best for you & your project needs, it is important to know the difference between pocket (insert) install vs full frame installation – so that you can decide which is best for your project. There are many pros with both install types, but knowing when you need to go with one or the other is sometimes the bigger task at hand!

Replacing your Windows? Know your Options First!

Traditionally there has only been one way to install a vinyl window. Weather Tight is pioneering a new cutting edge installation technique that is far superior.

Traditional replacement windows are installed inside of the existing window opening. The new window is made in a new frame, but is inserted into the existing wood jamb.

 Pros:

  • In most cases, you can keep the existing interior casings– if they are in good shape
  • The installation is faster, and is a little less expensive than the new method.

Cons:

  • By installing a frame within a frame, you lose out on glass space.
  • Because the casings are never removed, there is no way to tell if the gap between the jamb and the stud is properly insulated. If it isn’t you can get a new window that’s still drafty around the edges!

The new Full-Frame replacement windows are installed by removing the entire window – including the original wood jamb to the rough openings (or studs).

Pros:

  • By removing the wood jambs, you won’t lose glass space and in most cases you gain glass space.
  • The window comes with new exterior vinyl brick mould. This allows for more architecturally correct contours than is usually found on the aluminum bent on-site for the traditional replacement window installation.
  • New casings are pre-stained and pre-assembled to give an updated appearance to the entire window opening. The only thing you have to do after the installation is to enjoy the view.
  • There is no need to have a carpenter in your home, saving considerable installation time and reducing the hassle that comes with it for you as a customer.

Cons:

  • A little bit more expensive than the traditional installation.
  • Your neighbors will be jealous

To learn more, watch Tod & Todd’s video about the full frame replacement and compare for yourself! http://youtu.be/ir1-wuCCw5Q

Which method would you prefer in your home?