Home>Discussions>DOORS & WINDOWS>Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!
12 posts / 0 new
Last post
Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

We recently replaced all of our leaky Double Hung windows with "Renewal by Andersen" Double Hung.

The installers removed the old sashes and stops and inserted the replacement unit in the hole, and

centered the window unit in the opening. I saw them plumb & shim the sides of the window directly behind

the pre-drilled screw holes in the jamb. (actually they didn't use the middle screw hole.)

The team was being very frugal with the foam insulation between the units frame and rough opening, they

only insulated the top and sides, leaving the area between the sill and the bottom of the replacement

window totally open. Once they completed the installation; the only thing blocking the air flow

underneath is the outside metal flashing and the wooden Stool on the inside.

I was very concerned by the incomplete foaming job but they assured me that they HAD to do it that way to

prevent condensation. In their own literature it mentions improper installation can occur if the

installer does not insulate fully between the window and the rough opening!

Now that it is below freezing our house is cold and drafty. Tonight its 32 degrees outside and using my

infrared thermometer the walls and frame around the middle of the window is 64 degrees... But the window

Stool measures 50 degrees. Some windows are even colder, you can feel a draft, I've even held a lit

candle close to the window seams and the flame bent at the draft.

Is it ever correct to leave the entire bottom uninsulated?

MLB Construction
Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

the only possible reasons i can come up with for not insulating under the window or fully around the window are the following.

1. poor workmanship
2. laziness
3. cheapness on the installers part

Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

It sounds like you had installers who didn't know what they were doing. Many of the window replacement companies use subcontracted crews for their installations and their standards can be low.

The window needs to be properly insulated all around to prevent air infiltration. There is no good reason not to do this.

Get them to reinstall the windows with a different crew. If that doesn't work, report them to Angies LIst and the BBB

Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

Thanks for the info so far, I can post a photos of the lower sections tonight.
They did use professional low expansion foam in a cartridge gun.

I thought they were wrong leaving the entire underside wide open.
ON the outside they bent metal and inserted on side on the slot on the replacements frame and caulked down the other side that touches the cedar window wrap. There is a 1x1 trim that sits on the stool against the new window and its cold to the touch. I feel cold air blowing in under the curtains.

The inside comfort level (at the same thermostat setting) from our leaky 22-year old peachtree windows is about the same as I'm dealing with now.

I do have a photo I took while i was hanging Christmas lights. To my horror this is how I found the top section of a second floor window (sorry I'm new here and cant link the photo, but if you cut and paste it into a browser you can see)


Was the guy too lazy to go back down the ladder and cut a top section that was the correct size?

Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

This may or may not work. If you bought these windows from an authorized Anderson dealer, then contact Anderson windows directly and speak to a Customer Service Representative. They may apply pressure on the dealer to get this job done correctly.

If you bought the windows from a big box store and used one of their contractors to install the windows, then contact the customer service at the store you bought them at, again, they may want to police their subcontractors.

Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

I have been debating on calling the HQ or the local office. The team really pushed us to rate them a '10' and begged us to call the local office directly if there are problems.

My issue is the supervisor was the one that refused to put any sort of insulation under the windows... I pushed the workers to do it and they had the super come out and he ultimately said no. I am concerned that all the installations in this area are compromised if that is how they do them all.

Another Thing:
Although all of the windows are cold, around the bottom, I've noticed a few of the replacement frames were installed are skewed, instead of a perfect 90 degree rectangle, some were installed as a parallelogram, so when the window is closed and locked the one side is raised 1/4" and the wind blows in. I have to put painters tape on the gap so my toes don't freeze.

Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

Go straight to HQ.

Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

not caulking the nailing behind the sil of the window on the outside is done so condensation can run out.. not foaming is just plain lazy.

i can see an installer running a thin run of foam initially when the window is set so that the foam doesnt cause the window frame to bow which can cause the window to not operate properly.. i do this, once the first pass sets up about 40 minutes later i go around the window again.. its very common for window and door installers to over do it with foam.. a week later they have to come back and service the operator because it wont open or close properly

Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

You have to insulate everything; there are no ways about it! It doesn’t seem like a top-notch professional installation. I’d suggest you call Anderson or the guys who installed everything for you and speak to the customer service guys right away! Improper insulation will raise your cooling and heating bills, so get it done at the earliest. Even we had drafty old windows that needed to be replaced. Got our new windows from Champion Windows Dallas. So far, no complaints!

Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

Call the company that hired the installers and tell them what your explaining to us. If you get no where with them call the local Anderson rep. Im guessing you had them done through Home Depot because Lowes isnt an Anderson supplier.

Re: Brand new replacement windows leak cold air!

These installers stink. New windows should be set square and stay that way plus there should not be any air moving past them period. You have to insulate all the way around inside and caulked on the exterior to do this job correctly. Any Anderson factory Rep will tell you this. Calling Anderson will probably net you a free page from them detailing their installation instructions and you can use this for 'leverage' with the installation outfit.

One thing often missed when doing replacement windows (and this is usually not the installers responsibility) is to insulate under the existing sill. If you have air leakage only from the bottom of the window area this might be where it is coming from! Pull the apron molding from under the interior stool (the 'ledge part') and if you don't see insulation then it needs it. Painters rarely caulk this molding at the bottom since you can't see it which leaves it unsealed as well as uninsulated- a lot of outside air can get through there!

In my area, most replacement window outfits are staffed by yea-hoos that can hardly rake leaves properly, let alone install windows. Sounds like you got the same- especially with them leaving the middle screw out! Unless they are installed properly Anderson will not honor their warranty (which you probably won't need but you should have it anyway) so thus needs to be redone.

Were I you, I'd be getting that page from Anderson ASAP and comparing it to what was done. If it didn't match their work exactly then I'd be
calling the installation company, and if I didn't get their immediate agreement to do a complete re-install just as Anderson recommends I would be calling my lawyer. A letter from him will get action.

This is your home and both you and it deserve to have that investment protected with all work done properly. Never hesitate to ask that improperly done work be rectified- you should get what you're paying for!



Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.