Sometimes, life is a mixed bag. I loved the rain we got this winter. My trees had been wilting, but the rainwater perked them right up, back to looking green and healthy. But I have to admit, I was starting to feel a bit down after days of not seeing the sun. It was one of those times when I had to take the good with the bad.
Penryn, for instance, got 11.83 inches of precipitation this January, compared to the average 6.78. A friend who lives in the little town was saying how needed all this water was for our drought, and that he didn’t see a downside. He did, however, mention that one of his windows had started to leak. There it is, I told him. Windows might not show it, but they take a beating when it’s raining and windy. So much of a beating, in fact, that after too many storms, they often need to be replaced.
I suspect more than a few homeowners in Penryn may be in this situation after nearly double the amount of rain as a normal fell on their homes this year. Even if their windows don’t show any signs, they still took quite a battering. So let’s talk about wear and tear inflicted on windows, as well as the benefits of getting them replaced. Windows might seem simple—just glass to keep the elements at bay—but they’re important and complex, and a savvy homeowner should pay close attention to them after a season of storms.
Have you ever left your warm house, stepping straight out into the cold, pouring rain? Your windows do have to do this all the time, making a transition from warm and dry to wet and cold in a matter of minutes, especially on days when the weather shifts suddenly. And this year has been particularly harsh. In fact, windows in Penryn got as much rain this January as they did all of last winter.
There are probably dozens of homes in Penryn that started out in fall with well-sealed windows now in dire need of replacement. Here are a few examples of the storm damage they may be facing:
- The plastic tent: This seals out the cold and wet around the edges of the window, but is liable to crack when water pushes against it day after day. When this happens, moisture will seep into your home.
- The frame: Sudden increases in moisture also cause rot around the frames, which is unsightly and, if left unchecked, can cause health problems like coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and sinus irritations brought on by mold.
- The balance and sash: A spike in rain and cold means the balance and sash, or the metal or plastic parts that allow your windows to slide up and down, expand and contract rapidly, which ages them prematurely, often enough to create a malfunction that necessitates replacement.
Signs a Window’s Time Has Come
With enough inclement weather, even the best windows on the market need to be replaced. As a homeowner, you should know these common signs:
- Hairline cracks: It’s rare that a place like Penryn would get twice as much water as usual without an increase in wind, too. Weather services don’t keep stats on that, but my buddy said there were definitely nights he heard pounding on his windows. What my friend, and anyone else who lives there, should do, is to check for tiny hairline cracks. Not all damage is as simple as shattered glass. Smaller breaks also mean it’s time for replacement.
Rising energy bills: Cracks in windows may not always be visible. Breaks in the sealed areas around the glass also allow in cold air, lowering the temperature in your house and making it so your furnace has to work harder. You may not notice this as it’s happening, but you’ll see it on your energy bill, which will be surprisingly high.
Condensation on the inside: If you see condensation on the inside of the window, that’s a sure sign there’s a leak. Call a window professional immediately.
Weatherproof Window Replacement Options
There are a host of replacement window options designed to look great and minimize leaks, boosting energy efficiency. As I’ve talked about in the past, this sort of investment lowers your utility bill. Here are some upgrades to consider:
- Double or triple-pane windows: More panes means more insulation—and less air leakage.
- Better spacers: Spacers are pieces between panes that form an insulating area where gas can be added to prevent seepage and to protect against rainy winters like Penryn had this year.
- Proper frames: The window frame you pick also makes a difference. Better frames are less conducive to becoming heated, which means the pieces in your windows won’t expand and contract as much, prolonging their lives.
- Gas-filled windows: Gas-filled glass panes, generally filled with argon gas, drastically reduce the temperature transfer that happens between inside and outside air, also preventing expanding and contracting of the glass.
If you live in Penryn, or really anywhere in Northern California, I hope you’ve enjoyed all the good our wet winter has brought: the benefits for the environment, green vegetation, and quiet days spent reading at home. Now that winter’s ending and spring is around the corner, check your windows for winter damage that might mean it’s the season for new windows. Maybe you have older windows and heard quite a bit of rain and wind pounding them this year. I’d recommend having a trained professional out to get their seasoned window advice.
Windows, remember, are more than just the eyes of your home. They add enormous value, and do wonders for making your house energy-efficient, saving you money by lowering your utility bills. It could, of course, be years before Penryn has another winter as rainy as this one, but when the time comes, you’ll want to have windows that are ready to ward off the elements.
The extremely wet and windy winter is coming to an end. Contact Bell Brothers today to replace your worn out, storm damaged windows.