Home>Discussions>DOORS & WINDOWS>Remedies for Leaky Windows ---> Ideas anyone??
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Remedies for Leaky Windows ---> Ideas anyone??


Approximately 6 years ago, we built the "house from hell." While I could entertain you for hours with humerous stories from our construction experience, one problem that, with high energy costs, has become especially onerous is the leaky Simonton/Owens-Corning windows. In the winter, we often get 40-50 mph winds in our area, and the windward side of the house has many windows. On a gusty day, you can actually feel the air move across the room! You can also hear the air whistling through the window, and it's a very disconcerting sound when you're trying to sleep on a cold winter's night. We have noticed that, on days when it is as cold as 10 degrees (F), that the furnace runs about twice as much when it is windy as when it is not!

Anyway, the problem can be isolated by taping toilet paper to the window to isolate the leak. While the vinyl is a good conductor of heat to the outside, the problem stems from the humongous grooved channel on the side of the window where the window's supports slide up and down when the window is opened. If this is unclear, try this. Put your hand on a window's latch and slide your hand over to the side until it hits the wall or window casing. The groove, in our case, about 1/2 inch square runs down the window. Air blows up the channel and into the room.

A Simonton representative came out and installed "kits" (apparently this is not an isolated problem!), which are little styrofoam cubes that screw into the side of the window frame to take up some of the empty space. Alas, they don't work. Cotton balls stuffed into the channel also don't work.

I know the problem could easily be solved with a caulk gun and an hour's worth of work, but it would make the windows fixed, and we wouldn't be able to open them. Storm windows would also work, but my parents have resisted the idea.

I'm looking for (in)genius solutions--besides caulk, replacing the windows outright, and cotton balls. I'm not looking for "should have" answers, as I already know that we should have paid for better windows at the time the house was built, or put in casement windows that actually have good all-around seals.

Anybody have any good ideas? Thank you so much in advance for your help!

Walter Yund

Re: Remedies for Leaky Windows ---> Ideas anyone??
wyundiv wrote:

I know the problem could easily be solved with a caulk gun and an hour's worth of work, but it would make the windows fixed, and we wouldn't be able to open them.

Alas, I have no truly magic solutions at the ready.

However, I will offer up this notion...which refers back to the caulk gun approach. Instead of using a conventional caulk, consider using a temp caulk designed for just this sort of purpose. Temp/seasonal caulks such as Seal & Peel, Season Seal, & Zip Away are clear caulks that can be easily removed when desired. (You have to leave them cure for about ten days or so to allow them to achieve "rubber" type consistency before attempting a removal.) Once cured, you can stick the end of a brad awl or similar in the caulk and it will come out like a rubberband, so to speak.

I have not tried these caulks against vinyl yet, so if your windows have vinyl interiors...proceed with some caution. Try a very small area first to see if the contained solvents (lacquer thinner or similar) have a detrimental effect on the vinyl. I don't think so, but better careful than sorry.

While this may not be an ideal solution, using this material during the winter months may provide a workable resolution. You could remove it during the summer months when the temperature differentials aren't as great as during the winter months when you're trying to heat the house.

PS- Don't leave this type of caulk in place for more than about 2 years without removing and renewing. The material changes consistency over time, losing its easily removed rubberband characteristics...and becomes gummy instead. It can still be removed ...with the aid of some *original* Goo Gone (not the gel product), but it's far simpler & easier to renew the caulk in a timely fashion.

Gray Watson
Re: Remedies for Leaky Windows ---> Ideas anyone??

Not a solution but perhaps one of those 3Ms inside storm kits might help while you look for a solution.

Re: Remedies for Leaky Windows ---> Ideas anyone??

Perhaps if you placeda bit of 1/4 round moulding along the outsisde of the sill ,it might prevent the wind from entering. I would use plastic to keep it from swelling and shrinking from weather changes

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