Energy consumption is an increasingly heavy concern for many homeowners and landlords in the UK, particularly in a post-lockdown world still struggling to find its feet again after months in hibernation.
Having a smart metre installed is a good start but one of the most practical things you can do today to reduce heat and energy loss is to sort out your windows!
It’s estimated that as much as 25% of all energy loss in a home could be through its windows. So, whilst having new windows installed might seem like a significant initial cost, it could save you a small fortune in the long run if those windows need replacing.
But what signs should you be looking for and what questions should you be asking to help you understand whether or not your windows are not energy efficient enough and need to be replaced?
Do they open and close properly?
Let’s start with the most obvious sign. If your windows are stiff and difficult to open and close effectively then it might be a problem a squirt of WD40 can’t solve and if you’re struggling to close your windows then you’re going to be losing a lot of energy.
Your windows could be stiff for several reasons – the hinges could have rusted over time, the changes in weather over time might have caused materials to expand resulting in ‘sticky’ windows or the structure of the house itself might have been damaged.
Where’s that noise coming from?
Single glazed windows are not only less energy efficient than their double or triple glazed counterparts, they also let in more noise.
Are you noticing the traffic outside more than you should or is your neighbour’s lawn mower giving you grief even with all windows closed?This might be a sign that you need to upgrade to double or triple glazing.
Is there a draft?
Naturally, some rooms in your home will be colder than others. But in the rooms where it is particularly frosty, even when the heating is on, do yourself a favour and place your hands next to the windows in the room.
If you can feel a draft coming through even when the windows are fully closed then it could be a sign that either the windows or weatherstripping are damaged.
In the latter case, it could be a case of simply removing and replacing the old peeling cracked, discoloured weatherstripping. In the former case, however, it is likely to be a more fundamental problem.
Is there moisture and mould buildup?
Old windows will show their age eventually by discolouration and by a buildup of water between the panels. This happens because older windows lose the ability to prevent moisture.
This water buildup will eventually lead to mould and once you’ve spotted your first trace of mould, it’s pretty much game over for your windows!
What do your monthly energy bills look like?
We’re not saying that your old windows will be the sole source of your sky-high energy bills but if any of the above factors apply to you then they are bound to be having an impact.
Try comparing your monthly energy bills with those of your neighbours or your previous year’s bills. If you haven’t significantly upped your energy usage then your windows could be playing a major part in your home’s inefficiency.