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Windows & Doors

Heating a home in Manitoba's climate can be expensive, and exterior doors and windows that are in poor condition can add to your home's heating bills.

If you retrofit your home's doors and windows properly, you can:

  • increase comfort - keep out cold winter drafts and make your home more comfortable;
  • save money - exterior doors and windows that are in poor condition can add needlessly to your home's heating bills.

In addition to these benefits, a well-executed door and window retrofit can improve the appearance and value of your home, reduce the potential for a condensation problem, reduce outside noise, and reduce fading of furniture and carpets due to UV rays.

If you are looking to upgrade windows, doors, or skylights, choose ENERGY STAR® qualified products that are appropriate for your climate zone as defined by Natural Resources Canada.

Windows

Check the condition of your windows to determine if they should be upgraded or replaced. They should open and close easily. Check the condition of the panes of glass, look for excessive warpage or rot, faulty hardware, and draftiness. Some windows may only need minor upgrades or air sealing while others may need to be replaced entirely.

To improve the energy efficiency of existing windows:

  • repair defective hardware and replace ineffective sash locks to reduce air leakage;
  • caulk all gaps between the trim and wall as well as the trim and the window frame to reduce heat loss;
  • ensure weatherstripping is flexible and properly located with full contact between the sash and frame to reduce air leakage in operable windows;
  • install storm windows to create an insulated air space that reduces air leakage, heat loss or gain, condensation, and prolongs the life of the main window;
  • replace the existing glazing with energy efficient glazing.

When replacing windows, consider:

  • window type: while fixed windows have lower air leakage and are less expensive, operable windows allow for ventilation and emergency exit;
  • options such as triple pane, low emissivity (low-e) coatings, and insulating spacers will minimize heat loss and condensation problems;
  • frame materials affect the insulation value, strength, maintenance requirements, and longevity of a window and can include wood, metal, fibreglass, or PVC;
  • overall window Energy Rating (ER) includes heat flow, air tightness, and solar gain; a higher ER is better;
  • "gas fills" with inert gases, such as argon or krypton, can be used to fill the space between the glass panes; heat does not conduct through inert gases as easily as air, making them better insulators;
  • spacers are the material that separates the panes when making a sealed glass unit; low-conductivity spacers keep the glass around the edges of the window warmer, reduce condensation, and improve energy performance;
  • warranties differ from supplier to supplier and window to window; compare before you purchase.

If you plan an extensive project of sealing, caulking, and weatherstripping ensure your home has an adequate ventilation system. Contact a professional HVAC contractor to accurately assess your ventilation system.

Skylights

Skylights can increase the amount of natural light that comes into a home. However, skylights must be fitted and installed correctly to prevent water and air leakage. Skylights may contribute to overheating, but that can be reduced by choosing light-reflective glass such as low-e, gas filled, insulated glazed units. The energy efficiency of a skylight is measured by U-value.

Doors

Inspect your doors for ease of operation, loose structural joints, loose panes of glass, excessive warpage or rot, and air leaks. If the door is in reasonable condition it may be more cost effective to repair any defects and seal the door against air leakage than it is to replace it. However, replacing doors can improve the appearance and security of your home.

To improve the energy efficiency of existing doors:

  • caulk all gaps between the trim and wall to reduce heat loss;
  • ensure weatherstripping is flexible and properly located to reduce air leakage;
  • install door bottom seals or sweeps on doors with no existing bottom weatherstripping.

When replacing doors consider:

  • an ENERGY STAR® qualified door;
  • a high Energy Rating or a low U-value;
  • wood, vinyl, fibreglass, or thermally broken metal frames;
  • good quality weatherstripping;
  • glazing with low-e and an inert gas fill.

For a list of ENERGY STAR® qualified windows, doors, and skylights visit the List of Models section of the Natural Resources Canada website.

For more information on improving the energy efficiency of your windows and doors, read our how-to booklets: