We often hear, “We just bought a brand-new house, and the windows are drafty! Help!”
Should new windows have a draft? As unbelievable as it sounds, we see windows fail in new construction almost as often as in older homes. You might have drafty windows in a new house for several reasons. Here’s what you need to know.
New Homes are Not Always Built Weather Tight
Here in Wisconsin, particularly in the Milwaukee suburbs like Waukesha, Wauwatosa, Mequon, Menomonee Falls, and surrounding areas, we see a lot of new construction. Families are growing and building houses throughout our region!
When a family buys a newly constructed home, they expect that the builder selected the best materials and did everything on the up-and-up. But of course, many builders cut corners, and one place they often cut corners is with windows.
Often, the windows in new homes are cheaply made and purchased in mass quantities, especially in planned subdivisions and multi-home construction projects. Contractors and builders get a significant discount, and it’s an area that many homebuyers might not notice until a few years down the road when they feel a draft.
Older homes typically face deterioration in the seals around the windows. Over time, the windows might become loose in the frame and start to rattle and allow air infiltration. Most homeowners are aware of this issue when considering buying an older home—windows are a common area of concern. But with new homes, buyers are caught unaware, not realizing that their windows aren’t the highest quality until several years have passed.
Even if the windows are of decent quality, it’s not uncommon for contractors to fail to tuck insulation around the windows. We’ve done many full-frame replacements to discover little or no insulation around the window frame. What’s more, sometimes, in their haste to build a large number of homes, they might skip or overlook steps like ensuring proper sealing and flashing around the windows.
So, what do homeowners need to know about their windows, even in newer homes? How can you tell if a drafty window is a problem?
Letting Out the Heat
The biggest concern with drafty windows is temperature consistency in your home. If you have drafty windows in the winter, heat is going out, and cold air is seeping in. This air infiltration leads us to turn up the thermostat.
Unfortunately, it can raise energy bills. So, in the long run, it ends up costing homeowners quite a bit more per year to have drafty windows.
What’s harder to quantify is the loss of comfort in your home. If you are constantly reaching for an extra pair of socks, a sweater, or a blanket in your house, then you might need to address the drafts. We’ve met many customers who have spent years avoiding certain rooms in their homes because they get drafty during the cold Wisconsin winters.
Let’s face it—underutilizing part of your home is no way to live! Neither is wearing layers indoors and constantly feeling uncomfortable. When it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, or you find yourself huddled under a blanket on your couch, your drafty windows are impacting your quality of life.
We’ve been called to look at windows that are less than a decade old because homeowners have noticed and become fed up with the increase in their heating bills and the decrease in their comfort.
Watch this Tod & Todd’s Home Improvement Tips video to see if it’s time to consider replacing your drafty windows:
Drafty Windows Lead to More Issues
When a window is drafty, you might find yourself running to the nearest big box store for window-covering plastic in the fall. It’s a common undertaking in Wisconsin—homeowners wrestle with tape as they shrink plastic with a blow dryer as soon as the cool of autumn settles in.
Not only is it an unsightly solution, but it’s one that’s a major pain to carry out. We all know that the tape rarely sticks properly; it rips off the paint and finish around the windows, and come the first warm spring day, you’ll be ready to tear off all those plastic sheets to let in some fresh air.
While we may think of tape and plastic as part of living in the Midwest, it’s not—especially in newer homes! So, if you have a newer home with drafty windows, don’t settle for plastic and tape.
If a window is drafty, it’s an indication that it’s not sealing properly. Unfortunately, that means water could also get in, especially when a late-winter rainstorm or April showers come about. If you’re grabbing a towel to sop up the water around your windowsill, you need to consider a replacement.
While it might not seem like a big deal to clean up a little leak during a rainstorm, that moisture can get into your walls, floor, and surrounding trim over time. It can lead to wood rot, mildew, pests, and other issues that can severely damage your home.
When you notice a window leaking, you may already have a big problem lurking underneath. Don’t wait. If you have a window that doesn’t properly seal, call Weather Tight today.
Drafty Windows in New Homes: A Frustrating Problem
Newer home buyers are rightfully frustrated when their windows don’t last as long as they’d like. When buying a home, there’s a lot of fine print to pour over. Many times, new windows with a 2-3-year warranty might seem like a reasonable component of the agreement at the time of purchase.
But 2-3 years isn’t long in the life of a well-made window. A well-crafted window shouldn’t be drafty. It should open easily, close securely, lock safely, and add to the comfort and enjoyment of your home. You should be able to clean and maintain your windows easily. They shouldn’t require much maintenance or upkeep and should add to your curb appeal.
If the drafty windows in your new home don’t meet your expectations, it’s time to look for a better solution.
How long should replacement windows last? At Weather Tight, most of our replacement windows are under warranty for as long as you own your home, and then transfer to the next owner. They’re custom-built for your particular home and made to match your style and aesthetic.
Our windows are safe and secure. They’re easy to open when you want, and they’re easy to close and secure. We work with homeowners to find a window that will fit and flatter your home. We have an array of designs, styles, and trims to choose from, so you’ll get a seamless match to your home’s interior and exterior.
At Weather Tight, we care about your satisfaction with your windows. We know that it makes a big difference in your comfort and enjoyment. Even if your home is new and the windows seem to be failing prematurely, don’t wait to explore your replacement window options. Reach out today for a free quote. We know you’ll be amazed at the difference that quality windows can make for your home.