A CLOSER LOOK: Energy savings, new features may be worth it
By ROB PARKER, Special to QMI Agency
Last Updated: April 21, 2012 12:00am
With spring officially here, many homeowners are starting to look at those jobs that aren't so appealing or practical during the winter.
Two areas that come to mind are windows and exterior doors that are subject to wear and tear stemming from constant use and exposure to the elements.
There are a number of factors to consider before making the decision about whether your windows or doors need to be replaced or repaired.
Some important things to consider include:
Though increased house air tightness can improve energy efficiency, in may also lead to a greater need for mechanical ventilation. A sufficient air supply also may be needed to prevent combustion appliances from back drafting.
Your existing windows and doors may not fit the style of your house or give you the features you want.
The components of windows and doors wear out over time. Failed seals on thermal pane window units, poorly operating windows or doors, damaged screens or hardware and air leaks are common problems. Older door and window hardware may not offer much protection against forced entry.
There may be structural problems affecting the operation of doors and windows. Installation of larger units or units in new locations will probably also require structural changes.
Windows and doors often deteriorate because of moisture problems that will not necessarily go away if you install new units. In fact, moisture may get worse because of reduced air leakage.
The glass area of windows and doors accounts for a high degree of heat loss at night or during the winter months, and heat gain when the sun is shining especially during the summer months. Though energy-efficient glazing can reduce heat loss, heating system modifications or some type of shading may be needed to improve comfort near large windows.
In my opinion, the best installation method for replacing windows and doors is the rough opening (R/O) method. With an R/O installation, the entire window or door, including the frame, is removed right down to the framework of the house.
This type of installation allows for complete sealing and alignment of the window or door to ensure optimum performance of the new unit. You should also make sure the windows or doors are Energy Star rated, come with a good warranty, and that the company you're dealing with is insured and has been installing windows and doors for some time.
Windows come in many different opening styles such as single hung, double hung, casement, sliding, awning and fixed. Most windows today are made with a vinyl frame, aluminum or stainless steel hardware and thermopane glass.
The glass can be coated to reflect heat. This is generally call E glass and space between the layers of glass filled with a gas such as argon creating the thermopane. In most cases, whatever style of window you choose can be installed in the existing window opening.
Over time, weather-stripping, hardware and door and frame materials can deteriorate or fail. Windows and doors are a part of the interactive system that makes up your house, so they should be constantly monitored to ensure they're supporting the other components of the system, including the structure, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.
That said, it's a known fact that tighter and more energy-efficient windows and doors will reduce the heating and air-conditioning load on your home.
Though repairs can be inexpensive, they may not give good long-term results; on the other hand, replacement is generally costly, but may provide savings in energy use, making your house more comfortable and adding to its resale value.
As with any home repair or installation of equipment where you're relying on the product or service and workmanship of a company or contractor, you should seek out at least three estimates plus ask for references and check them out before signing any agreement.
Rob Parker is a registered home inspector with the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors and certified master inspector with the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors who does home inspections in the London area. Call him at ThameSpec Home Inspection Services at 519-857-7101, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.thamespec-inspections.com.
This entry was posted on May 21, 2016 by Jim and Iris
“Thank you for the memorable sales and closing experience of finding the cottage of our dreams. A perfect fit for our needs.”I & E – Lake Muskoka cottage buyers
“Jim and Iris Gardiner were both amazing to deal with. A truly professional team. They shared a great deal of knowledge with us and really shed important light regarding potential Island Cottage ownership – all the pros and cons. Not only did they sell our existing cottage in 24 hours for much higher than our asking price they helped us find our new slice of paradise on Lake Muskoka in a very tight market. We are thrilled with our new cottage and love being on Eilean Gowan Island! We would highly recommend either Jim or Iris for any of your Real Estate needs!”J & D – Sold on Echo Lake and bought on Lake Muskoka
Mike Taylor was a great find for us. Mike was accessible and flexible with showings, visits, the house inspection and all of the steps involved in closing a sale. Following our closing Mike has continued to be a valuable source of information providing us with contacts for insurance, plumbing and electricians among other things.S & D – Muskoka River, Port Sydney
Jim did me a favor 20 years ago and I wanted to return the favor – I approached him and Iris at the cottage show and, even though I already had a real estate agent, he recommended a cottage property that I purchased and enjoyed for those 20 years. I therefore, tracked him down and had him be our agent in selling that property. Our priority was to find new owners that would be friendly and fit in well with the neighbors and Jim and Iris found the perfect couple Jim and Iris made the entire sale most enjoyable. The experience was so smooth and enjoyable that the sellers, the buyers and the real estate agents all got together for supper the following summer at our old cottage!K & L – Lake Muskoka
As first time cottage buyers but no strangers to purchasing property, we were fortunate to find Mike Taylor. We purchased through him in 2016 and would gladly again. Honest, great local knowledge and mindful of the nuances of financing, our experience with this agent was golden. Hardworking and always available, Mike made our experience of this purchase so much easier. A great job and comes with the highest recommendation” Thank you AgainS & C – Buck Lake, Huntsville