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Do You Really Need New Windows?

23 February 2010

Oh, when these cold fronts move in and we all feel the chill in our drafty homes, there’s one phrase that springs to everyone’s lips – “I need new windows.”  Especially in older homes, it’s easy to become very aware of the air leaks coming through old windows and dream about replacing them.  However, replacing windows often does not fix the source of those air leaks or improve comfort as much as you may think it will. Getting new windows obviously look great and improve the curb appeal of your home, but if you are looking to make a big comfort improvement, absolutely nothing will beat sealing your attic bypasses.

Here’s the thing – air leaks into your house because it has a way to get out. If you have open pathways between your heated house and your cold attic around recessed lights, plumbing, chimneys or electrical pathways, then thanks to physics that hot air will rise out of your house and into your attic, creating a pressure in your home that pulls in more cold air from outside.  This causes all sorts of bad news bears for your energy use and comfort, including ice dams and drafty rooms.

This means, that if you replace your windows without first sealing attic bypasses, you might be sealing off some of the leaks, but you’re not getting to the root of the issue. Seal those bypasses first (for which you can get an Energy Saver Rebate) and then marvel at how comfortable your house becomes!

Visit the Energy Challenge for a step-by-step guide to sealing your attic bypasses.

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