Can You Fix Seals on Windows?

Written by april kohl
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Can You Fix Seals on Windows?
Broken window seals let warm air escape from your home in winter. (Window image by annalovisa from Fotolia.com)

Seals on windows come in several forms, but the purpose of each is the same. The seal forms an airtight guard against drafts, noise and heat transfer; keeping the building warmer, or cooler, than the outside. When a seal breaks or cannot form correctly, the result is often higher heating and air-conditioning bills as well as extra noise problems as loud noises come into the house, causing distractions. The solution is knowing how to fix seals on windows, so the problem can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

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Identification

A broken seal on a window will cause several problems. Heating costs will rise in cold weather due to heat loss through failed seals. Similarly, cooling costs for air-conditioning will rise due to the broken insulation allowing heat from the outside into the building. Because window seals reduce noise levels, a broken seal is identifiable through increased noise coming in when the window is closed.

Hinges

Sometimes, the seal around the window itself is not the problem. A broken or damaged hinge on the window can cause misalignment; preventing the window from closing properly. This, in turn, prevents the window seal from forming correctly, mimicking the effects of a broken seal. The solution is to replace the hinges on the window, allowing the seal to form properly.

Caulking

Caulking is the substance that fills in the space between the window frame and the wall the window is built into. Because windows are straight and walls are not always perfect, the spaces that are caulked can be large enough that a significant draft is formed when these seals break. The solution is to add more caulk to the areas where holes have formed, or remove the caulk entirely and replace it all.

Warning

Not all seals can be fixed in their entirety. Where broken seals on windows have resulted in water ingress, causing condensation on the inside surfaces of the window, there is nothing that can be done. Fixing the seal will not remove the water from inside the window, and the only method of fixing the window is to replace the glass.

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