Inspecting Windows to Eliminate Water Leaks and Drafts

March 18, 2016

You need to protect your home from the outside elements. Inspecting windows on a regular basis is an important step to eliminate water leaks and drafts. Both can create costly issues if left unattended. Water leaks can lead to very expensive repairs if the surrounding structure or the wood window frames themselves are rotted. Excessive air leaks will hit you in the pocket-book every month with higher heating and cooling charges.

Be proactive and perform regular inspections of your entire home. Look closely at all windows, doors, skylights and surrounding trim. Look for gaps, unpainted wood, and preliminary signs of rot. Follow the tips below:

Inspecting Windows for Problems

Air leaks adjacent to windows can be a source for water entry as well. Moisture can infiltrate through gaps around the window assemblies. The gaps could be the result of rotted wood, caulking that has deteriorated, broken glass, or simply a lower sash that won’t fully close properly. A thorough inspection is needed to locate the source so you can fix the problem.

  • Check for Broken Glass: Look at every window pane and replace any broken glass.
  • Inspect Latches: Make sure that all the lower sashes fully close and the latches can be engaged.
  • Check for Gaps: Inspect the entire perimeter of the window assembly both inside and outside the home looking for gaps. Don’t miss the hard-to-reach places. Seal up any openings you find with high-quality caulking.
  • The Shake Test: While this is not a common problem, some older window assemblies that have not been maintained may be in such a state of disrepair that they will actually rattle when you give them a good shake. These will need to re-caulked 100 percent around the perimeter, both inside & out.

The Leak Test

Once you think you have sealed up all the obvious gaps after inspecting windows and doors; take it one step further and do a quick leak test:

  • Close all windows and doors to seal the home for the test
  • Close all fireplace dampers and cover any vents
  • Turn on all exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen
  • Using an incense stick to create smoke, pass the stick slowly (and carefully) around the perimeter of all windows and doors to see if there are any drafts

Inspecting Doors

  • Inspect the entire perimeter of the doors for gaps and replace the caulking as needed
  • Inspect the swipe seal on the bottom of the door and replace if needed

Contact Us:

Thinking about purchasing an older home? Let the Window Repair Guy inspect it for you before you make an offer to avoid any unforeseen expenses. Contact One Source Renovation, LLC at or give us a call at (815)-634-8922.