How the Chicago Weather Affects Your Home’s Windows and Doors
You may have heard it before, but it bears repeating: Your home’s windows and doors are a major line of defense against the weather. In the Chicago area, known for its long, freezing winters and extreme temperature variations, properly sealed windows and doors are critical for both protecting the interior of the home from weather damage and maintaining its thermal comfort. But harsh weather and fluctuating temperatures do take a toll on windows and doors themselves. Like any structure exposed to the elements, doors and windows lose their aesthetic appeal over time, and even a measure of functionality, whether due to their regular expansion and contraction or moisture absorption.
So, how can you tell if your windows and doors have sustained weather damage? Here are a few common signs:
Warping, Shrinking & Bowing
Some materials, like wood, are more vulnerable to humidity and extreme temperatures, which can affect structural integrity. Wooden doors, door frames, and window frames that are not properly sealed tend to shrink when subjected to extreme cold, lots of moisture, or very dry conditions. When that happens, doors and window frames can bow or warp, losing their ability to resist heat transfer and preserve your indoor comfort. Before too long, bowing and warping can result in higher energy bills. To avoid this, you may want to consider replacing your deteriorating windows and doors with options engineered to resist distortion.
Warped or bowed doors and windows are notoriously drafty. But so are old doors and windows, or those that are poorly fitted, given that they are more susceptible to damage from severe weather than their newer and correctly installed counterparts. While weatherstripping can improve the insulation capability of old doors and windows, in many cases, it’s more cost-effective to replace them.
Condensation on window panes can be a sign of an energy-efficient home. That’s because condensation can occur when windows prevent warm air from escaping to the cooler outside environment. But if the condensation forms between the panes of your multi-pane windows, your windows may have a leak, in which case you should call a window professional as soon as possible to inspect the seals.
Ice buildup and cold-weather stress can damage latches, handles, hinges, and other mechanisms of windows and doors, causing infuriating jams. The complex operating mechanisms of awning and casement windows, for instance, make them more vulnerable to weather damage than sliding windows. But with regular cleaning and greasing, you can keep window and door components functioning well for longer.
Windows and Doors by Opal Enterprises
Opal Enterprises offers and installs windows and doors from some of the most trusted manufacturers in the industry, including ProVia®, Andersen, and Kolbe. Since 2003, we’ve proudly helped residents of the Chicago suburbs enhance the comfort, functionality, and appearance of their homes with durable and energy-efficient doors and windows that suit a range of budgets. When you partner with us, you can expect a wonderful remodeling experience, from concept through completion, with personalized service and tailored solutions. Contact us today to learn more.