Snow days conjure up images of cozy blankets, mugs of hot chocolates and a pretty white landscape to look out into. You’re definitely imagining curling up against a window reading a book. But imagine having to do that while shivering cold because a draft is letting frigid cold wind blow directly in your face. To protect you from such disappointments, it’s important to make sure that your doors and windows are in top shape to face the coming chill. Here are a few ways that the cold wind and heavy snow can affect your doors and windows as well as a few tips from Toronto Doors and Windows on preparing for the winter months that can not only keep your home comfortable but also help you save on a good bit of money.
Problems Your Doors and Windows May Face in the Toronto Winter
The cold Toronto winters will assault your home in all manner of different ways. For your doors and windows however, these are the things that the homeowner should take their time to look out for.
How Temperatures affects your Windows and Doors
Rapid temperature changes and moisture levels can deal a significant amount of damage to a lot of materials in your home. For materials like wood, which are usually what comprises the frames of Toronto homes, During the humid months, moisture can accumulate within the wood and cause it to expand. This is was normally causes sticky doors during the summer. In the cold winter days, however, the cold, dry air carries little moisture and can actually cause the wood to shrink and compress. Repeat this process for a number of years and it leads to the frame your windows and doors to warp. When this happens, it can invite a whole host of other problems.
The first, most significant problem this leads are drafts. Leaving gaps exposed to the elements invites the frigid cold air, the cold air coming in not only makes your home overall colder, but will also ratchet up heating bills because your thermostat will need to work overtime to keep your heaters on longer and maintain a comfortable living temperature. Installing weatherstripping around the edges of your doors and windows is a cost-effective must for homes in Toronto so that you can combat this however, weatherstripping is also affected by the cold in significant ways.
Dealing With Moisture During the Winter
Between the frame of the home and the window installed, there’s just a little bit of space that can let warm air from the inside of your home to the outside. In the winter, this moisture will freeze in place. This makes it harder for you to open your windows and doors because your door is frozen tight to the frame. Forcing your window open like this will lead to the vinyl weatherstripping sealing your door frame to crack, requiring replacement. But keeping it shut will invite ice to form even further. This problem can also be make warped frames worse, as ice expands, pushing the window and frame further apart bit by bit.
The freezing cold temperature can also cause latches and handles to fail. This can be for any number of reasons. First of which is that moisture freezes over and causes the mechanisms to jam. Another reason is that cold temperatures can cause metals to contract, which can lead to stiffer operation of those latches if they’re old or misaligned. Normally a bit of lubrication is enough to fix this issue for the winter, but sometimes replacement latches are needed.
For double or triple paned windows, moisture can be an issue. While normally, misty windows means that your home is sufficiently heated so that the warm air in your home condenses on the glass which was made cold by the outside winter temperatures. But moisture accumulation between the panes on window glass is a clear sign of a leak in your window installation. When you notice this, it’s very important that you speak to a door and window service company and have them take a look for necessary repairs or replacements.
Preparing Your Doors and Windows for the Toronto Winter
Now that you know about a few things that could happen to your windows and doors during the cold Toronto winters, you can prepare your home for the winter months. The following are things you can do during the fall:
Inspect your Doors and Windows
Knowing that these problems can exist in your doors and windows, it’s important that you inspect them during the fall so you can call on your local Toronto window and door service to come and perform repairs and replacements for you. A classic way to check for drafts in your home caused by enlarged gaps between the frame and windows is by taking a candle on a windy day and placing it by the windowsill. If you notice the flame moving around that means there’s a draft there and it’s probably time to fix it.
But not just your windows, make sure you take the time to inspect the hinges of your doors and see if they need lubrication. The cold temperature can cause these to stiffen up. Inspecting the railings for damage and debris should also be done, especially in the external rails so that you have ample time to replace parts like rusted or stiffening rollers.
During your inspection, take note of any damaged weatherstripping. Temperature and moisture changes can lead to weatherstripping becoming dry and brittle. It’s better to replace them during the fall when the weather is still good for doing these fixes rather than having to clear out snow and ice to replace them during the winter when they inevitably break.
Clean Your Windows and Doors
This should be something that you do fairly often throughout the year but this is perhaps more important as you prepare for the winter months. Take a vacuum and make sure to collect all the dust and debris that accumulated over the months of use. Leaving dust and debris in and around your doors and windows can lead to it getting stuck between the weatherstripping and the window and can lead to drafts. Not just that, when snow falls, it can pack down all that dust and debris into the railing and can lead to light discoloration that will be difficult to clean off in the future.
As for the glass of your windows itself, even during the winter, it’s a good idea to keep them clean. Make sure that the cloths you use to clean your doors and windows are lint-free as these will prevent smudges when you’re wiping away your washing solution. Lint-free cloths also don’t impart static onto the glass that can attract dust. Keeping your windows clean will also help let light in during the bright white winter days, helping you cut down on energy costs.
Consider Installing a Storm Door
A storm door is an external, secondary door that can be installed over your current front door. There are a number of advantages to installing one of these. In the winter, it can create a buffer area of air between the outside and your front door. This can keep your front door and thus the interior of your home a bit less cold, saving you money on heating. Furthermore, a storm door can also protect your front door from snow and sleet, which can cause significant damage to the lacquering, paintwork and detailing common for most front doors. It’s a relatively inexpensive way of keeping your front door looking pristine for as long as possible.
Thicker Curtains and Drapes
Another good way of saving up on heating bills is to install some thicker curtains and drapery for the winter months. Thicker fabrics provide insulation, preventing heat loss and can save you a good amount on heating bills. They can also provide some much needed shade in case the winter days become too bright. They also add a nice cozy look to your home, something that can accentuate the look of your rooms during the cold months.
You don’t have to keep them up all year long either. Come spring time, you can take them down and stow them away for the next winter. Just make sure that your curtain rods are strong enough to support the heavier fabrics you’ll be using for winter.
If you ever find an issue with your doors or windows that needs immediate addressing; or are looking to be in the market for a new installation, feel free to contact Toronto Doors and Windows at 647-932-3667 and request for a free estimate. Our expert team will make sure your home will be in top shape and ready for the coming winter months!