Have you recently noticed standing water on your window sill, or maybe mildew or mold growth around a window frame? If so, you may have a leaking window. When moisture comes through a window, it can cause the paint to peel from wooden frames and seals. This causes the wood to swell, which can lead to warping or cracks. It also creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew. Fixing the problem promptly can prevent a lot of damage and future repair headaches.
Check for Condensation
There are two main sources for window leaks – actual leaks or condensation build-up. If the problem is condensation that forms over the entire window or frame, it's a result of humidity indoors paired with cold exterior temperatures. The moist indoor air condensates on the cold windows, so condensation is truly a seasonal problem. You can control condensation by using interior vent fans or a dehumidifier. Upgrading to new insulated replacement windows can also minimize condensation issues.
If condensation occurs between the glass on double insulated windows, the seal on the glass has failed. In most cases, you will need to replace the window to solve the problem. Replacing a window with a failed seal with the help of professionals, like those at Beyers Window & Door Inc, will also improve the insulative qualities of the window.
Find the Leak
If the problem isn't condensation, then you have a leak to find. You can usually trace the path of the moisture to the leak location. Chances are, the leak will be along the bottom weatherstripping or in the caulk that holds the window pane or frame in place.
Make the Repair Decision
Usually it's well worth the effort to replace the bottom weatherstripping on a window, if the rest of the window is in relatively good repair. For most windows, the stripping slides into a narrow channel. Simply pull out the old strip, clean out the channel, and slide in a new strip.
Repairs to the caulking that seals the window frame within the wall requires a bit more skill and effort. You will need to scrape out the old caulk and replace it with a fresh bead of waterproof caulking. If the leak is between the glass panes and the frame, the windows need to be reglazed. This is usually best done professionally. If more than one window is suffering a glazing failure, then it's time to consider replacement windows.
Keeping your home dry is your main priority. If you can't repair or replace the windows right away, take the time to at least mitigate the damage. Wipe down everything regularly so moisture doesn't sit on the wood. If you notice any mildew growth, kill it quickly by cleaning it with a 10 percent bleach solution. This should prevent extensive wood damage while you prepare to perform the repairs.