vetter window and air leak help!!!!

Old 01-26-05, 05:08 PM
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Red face vetter window and air leak help!!!!

Hi, I'm hoping someone might be able to answer a few questions for me regarding our vetter windows. We purchased the model home in a developement this summer. The home is 2 1/2 years old. The builder or sub-contractor installed double hung, wood, double glazed vetter windows. I have found, now with the cold new england weather here, that 98% of my windows have some sort of air leak to them, mainly across the bottom of the windows and in the corners. I have done the paper test and can pull it out with out tearing the paper. I have also done the ribbon test. I am positive some sort of adjustment is necessary. I spoke with the company the builder got the windows from and they are suspose to be sending a tech out to check out the windows. I also checked outside around the windows and front door (which also has issues) and I wasn't able to see any caulking. My questions are should there be caulk outside around the windows and doors? Should there be any type of air leak with this kind of window? Are these just really bad quality windows and/or poor installation? I was debating getting a blown door test. We have 4 1/2 months left on our home warranty and I want to make sure that things get taken care of. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Katie
Old 01-26-05, 08:57 PM
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One easy thing for you to check is the "square" of the window. Open it up halfway, then slowly bring it down until you can just barely see light out the bottom of the window. This is called the "reveal". It should be straight all the way across. If there is no gap on one side, and 1/4" gap on the other side, that is your problem. Check the bottom sash as well as the top sash. If the reveals are straight, it is likely that the window is square, and that is not the source of your problem.

Next, are your windows locked? I know, its a silly question, but to tell you the truth, I've driven 100 miles round trip to "fix a drafty window" and when I arrived, the window wasn't even shut! Your windows will only seal properly when they are locked.

Third, light an incense stick, (the ones that smoke), and hold it next to your drafty sills. If there is really an air leak, you will see the smoke sail into the room. If it simply drifts down and away from your window, it may just be the cold air falling off of the window glass. (it is normal for your glass to be cold (50F or so in the middle, sometimes colder near the glass edge) when it's bitterly cold outside.)

It is wise of you to get things checked out before your warantee expires. Regarding the caulking outside, I think that depends on what sort of siding you have. Caulking around windows is sometimes done purely for cosmetic purposes (which is kind of a laugh, because often, workers do such a terrible job of caulking that it looks WORSE after the caulk than it did before! Plus many types of caulk attract dirt.) Your windows likely have nailing fins (under the siding) so caulking on the surface really will not keep air from going around the nailing fin. Plus, if you are sure that air is coming around your sash, caulking would not help you there. The main question is: Is it going to leak , and get behind the siding if it is not caulked? That is what you need to ask your builder.

You also need to realize that no window is 100% air tight. Windows and doors are wall penetrations, and when the wind is howling, there is going to be "some" air infiltration. For instance. If your window is a "grade 40" window, it is only suppose to allow X amount of air (CFM) into your home. As a homeowner, your concern rightly is... is it allowing MORE air into my home than what it should.

Just trying to give you both sides of the issue.
Old 01-27-05, 06:18 AM
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Red face

Xsleeper thank you for the advice, I will try both suggestions. The last thing I would want to do is have someone make a trip for nothing. To answer the questions all the windows are locked. I have felt air even when the wind outside is next to nothing. I have had blinds move on a couple of windows when there are some pretty good gust and over the weekend with the blizzard could feel a small amount of snow come in in the corner where the top window meets the bottom window. I did realize that there would be some air leak but just wasn't sure with the new windows what would be normal, our previous house had old drafty windows. If I find the reveals to be straight what type of problem could I be looking at? Thank you again for your help, I want to do all my homework so I know what I'm talking about when dealing with the builder and technician when he comes. Katie

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