How Does Winter Impact My Windows and Doors?

Snowball fights, skiing, skating and hot chocolate – winter has officially arrived. As great as these winter activities may be, the cold weather has an undeniable impact on your home’s windows and doors. From swelling and warping to condensation and drafts, here are the most common window and door issues that you may experience due to the cold weather:

1. Shrinking and Warping

Certain materials, especially wood, both temperature and humidity can wreak havoc on their structural purity. Wooden window frames, doors and door frames can shrink in extreme cold, and in extreme humidity, they can begin to warp or bow significantly. The same can be said for most builder-grade PVC windows and doors. A key indicator of inferior PVC windows is having glass / thermal pane cracking. The same can be said for poorly maintained wood products. Quality PVC windows allow far less structural movement which eliminates these types of issues.

2. Ice Build-up

The main reason weatherstripping must be adequately maintained or frequently replaced is because ice tends to form in gaps in an around doors and windows and their frames. When warm, moisture-rich air escapes through these openings, it freezes upon contact with the cold air leaking in. This often makes it difficult to open a window without damaging the weather stripping, which will only lead to more ice being created. This can also make it difficult to open and close your door(s).

3. Hardware Failure

Almost all doors and windows have latches, handles, hinges and other operating hardware that makes them function properly each of which can become damaged or jammed by ice or cold weather shifting/movement.

4. Condensation

A confusing thing about condensation is it’s not always as bad as it may seem. In fact, condensation on the interior of your windows during the winter months can often be a sign that your windows have a good level of energy efficiency. Condensation generally occurs when the warm and humid air in your home is unable to escape through your windows which is exactly how a good window is designed to perform. If the condensation appears to be excessive, you may want to reduce the humidity in your home using a dehumidifier. Using a bathroom fan during showering can also help. Ensuring your home is adequately ventilated and that you are using your HRV system properly will also help. If you find condensation developing between the panes of a double- or triple-paned window, then you likely have a problem with the glass and perhaps the window itself. If so, call Scheel and we will send one of our experienced experts out to inspect at your convenience.

5. Drafts

Windows and doors that are old, poorly fitted or poorly insulated most often cause of drafts within the home. Replacing or adding weather stripping can sometimes help, but in most cases, a new door or window will likely be needed to eliminate the problem.

Now that you have an idea what to look for, what may be causing some of the issues you and some potential remedies you should be better prepared for what the winter weather throws at you.

Should you think a new window or door is in order you can trust the professionals at Scheel Window & Door.