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How Well Do Your Windows Protect from Winter Cold?

The mid-Atlantic area experiences four distinct seasons throughout the year.  During the winter months, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC all get their fair share of cold temperatures and the occasional nor’easter snow storm.  When the temperatures drop and snow is in the forecast, how well will your windows insulate your home?

When the outside air is cold and dry and the air inside your home is warm with more moisture, you may develop problems if you have older, inefficient windows.  If your windows have worn or broken seals, it’s common to have fogging or moisture build-up in between the glass panes of double pane windows.  The problem is worsened when there is a significant difference in the outdoor and indoor air temperature.


Today’s replacement windows use modern glazing techniques and often include a gas fill in between the panes of glass on double pane windows.  Older windows don’t have these treatments which lead to temperature differences, further compounding the problems with condensation between the glass panes, fogging, and glass discoloration.  Condensation issues are worse with single pane windows because there is no insulating barrier between inside and outside temperatures like there is with double pane windows.


If your windows are older and not energy efficient, consider upgrading them to new double pane vinyl replacement windows.  New windows will provide better protection from the cold outside in a number of ways.  With the gas fill in between the two panes of glass, a thermal barrier is created that helps insulate the window.  New windows also have a lower U-factor – this number indicates a window’s resistance to heat flow. A lower U-value means the window is better insulated, keeping the temperature of the inside window surface warmer and making your home more comfortable.


Upgrading your windows provides other benefits as well.  When your windows are leaky and drafty, your heating system has to work longer and harder at keeping your home warm.  This leads to increased wear on your HVAC system and causing potential mechanical problems or failure.  Inefficient windows also lead to higher energy bills.  Replacing your windows will decrease the strain on your heating system while saving you money.