Fall is here, and in Minnesota, that means winter isn’t far behind. With temperatures on a sharp decline, cold spots resulting from leaky windows and doors quickly become more noticeable. While it may be easier to ignore in the summer, the last thing you want is to head into winter with a draft—not only for the sake of you and your family’s comfort but also for the sake of your energy bill.




How to Identify Drafts




Leaky doors and windows have a multitude of causes: warping from old age or water damage, gaps in the caulking, poorly-functioning locks, and so on. Whatever the cause, there are a few methods to spot drafts in your home.




Some drafts can be spotted with a simple visual inspection. Outside your house, look for breaks in the caulking. If your windows are older, check for damaged glazing; if it’s not visually obvious, tap on the glass—if the pane rattles, that may be a sign of outdated glazing. Inside your house, inspect for damaged weather stripping or daylight shining through gaps in the threshold of your door.




If you’re not sure, the candle test is another easy way to identify a draft. Light a candle, and hold it close to the seams of your windows and doors, pausing every so often. A bending or flickering flame indicates a drafty spot.




Now What?




If the draft is fairly minor, you may be able to repair it yourself with new weather stripping, gap filler, or temporary caulking, all of which can be found at your local hardware store. Draft snakes are another quick fix, which can be used along with other methods to provide an extra layer of protection.




At the very least, these methods should be able to keep your home cozy until the spring, when you can consider if a replacement for your door or window is the right option.




How to Tell if a Replacement is Needed




Quality windows should last 15-20 years, and a properly insulated front door should last even longer, though it’s recommended you replace weather stripping after five to eight years.




When considering replacement, there are other factors to examine beyond just drafts. If you have trouble opening and closing your windows or doors, it may be time for a replacement. Look for soft, water-damaged frames, which can cause sagging if not addressed. Condensation between double panes of glass indicates a broken seal, and if your window is cracked, broken, or missing a pane, it’s best not to apply a band-aid fix; replacement will save you money in the long run.




With so many different materials and styles, it can be overwhelming to choose new windows or a fresh front door. If you know what you’re looking for, request a quote today, or contact us, and the experts at Minnesota Home Improvement would be happy to help you make the right decision for your home.