Illinois has cold winters that cause many problems to your home, including your windows. Over time, cold and moisture, along with the changing of the seasons, will break down even the best windows. It could take decades, but it will happen!
When you know the dangers, you can take steps to prevent cold weather damage to your windows and make them last longer. Here are four ways cold weather can damage your windows this winter, and what to look for so that you can make your window installation last.
If you remember back to science classes in school, heat makes things expand and cold makes them shrink. This expansion and contraction cracks roads, foundations, and even windows, given enough time. Vinyl windows are especially vulnerable to these forces.
The glass probably won’t fail, but the seals holding your window panes might. Each season adds a little more stress to these. Once you see condensation between the panes, that’s when you know it’s time to replace your window. The R-value of a window goes down sharply when those seals fail.
If the glass fails due to stress fractures from heat and cold, you probably have a low-quality window or an old single-pane window. It can also happen because of improper installation or when the frame materials warp over time.
Unlike most materials, water expands when it freezes into ice. This is the biggest culprit in window damage. If water gets into openings and freezes, it will create damage to the window frame and seals. Moist weatherstripping can also crack if the water freezes, and it is possible for windows to freeze shut.
Another hazard of ice happens if it falls against the window. The weight could crack or shatter it. If you’re in a place where ice builds up on your roof and siding, you’ll need to take measures to remove it before it gets too heavy.
The way to prevent most ice damage is to check the caulking around your windows each year. If it’s cracked or missing, you’ll need to replace it before water gets into the cracks and freezes. If you have an older home, you could get ice on the inside of your windows if you have high humidity inside and freezing temperatures outside.
Even if it’s not cold enough to freeze, cold weather usually brings rain. Over time, this can stain or rot your walls, frame, and windows. Wood windows are the worst about this because wood warps so easily when exposed to the elements.
Water infiltration is the first step to bringing rot and mold into your home, and the window is the easiest place for it to get in. Just like with ice, you’ll need to check your weatherstripping and caulking each year for any flaws and fix them before the rain, snow, and cold come to your home.
Do not ignore a water leak! Even a tiny one can cause significant damage to your home. If you’re not sure how well your windows are doing, you can call us for a window repair inspection and we’ll point out any problems we can find.
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We all know the cliché story of someone throwing a baseball through a window to break it, but did you know the same thing could happen with a snowball? Get enough ice in the mix, or hide a rock in it, and it could be powerful enough to break a window.
Besides mischievous kids throwing snowballs, storms can also throw objects against your windows. Broken branches in storms shatter windows all the time. A hard Illinois blizzard combined with the weight of snow and ice can snap branches and fling them into your windows.
Keeping your trees pruned away from windows and clearing dead ones away protects your windows and will make your yard prettier. If a tree appears dead, call a tree service to get it removed as soon as possible. It could rot from the inside out and fall into your house.
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If you can control these four things, you can slow down damage to your windows from cold weather. A yearly window inspection and a bit of caulk can make your next window upgrade one that you want to make, not one you have to make. If you haven’t had a window inspection in a while, contact us.
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