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By Brian Shaw

Heating costs in homes continue to increase, usually because the price of heating fuel and power is increasing. You might be surprised to learn that you are increasing your heating costs when your windows are old and draughty. You can reduce your carbon foot print with sash window draught proofing this winter. Heating the air in your rooms and maintaining the comfort level is one thing; using your energy dollars to try to stay ahead of a cold draught.

As the wood in the windows ages, it can develop cracks in the wood and splits. Air might come through these splits. Caulking can dry out and develop deep crack. It may even cause the glazing to break up and drop away. When air comes through the area, sealant can be broken away.

You can get air leaks when the wind blows because of gaps in the sealant where the glass meets the wood. When new sealing compound is applied, the air leaks disappear. Also, you don't get the rattles and whistling sound from the wind pushing against the glass and moving the frames against the casements.

Leaks of air can appear if the wood window frame dries out and shrinks. Another problem with dry wood is that it will stick when you try to open or close the window. The wood doesn't dry uniformly. You may get the window to move correctly, but it might squeak. You might see splinters of dry wood break away from the body of the frame. When you sand the wood smooth and refinish it, the windows are tightened up and the draughts disappear.

A draught is movement of cold air in the room. The air is less heated than the regular room air so you tend to notice it more readily. When there is a draught, you feel cold so you put on a robe, wrap up in a blanket or don a sweater. Or, if you are like most people, you will turn up the thermostat a little.

Since most homes use some sort of carbon based fuel to provide energy for heating, you should make the best possible use of that energy. Don't waste the fuel sources of Planet Earth. Make the sash windows that you use weather tight and you will feel warmer without turning up the heat.

Every time you use fuel or energy sources in this way, you are wasting the natural resources of the planet. Instead of turning up the heat to try to feel warm this winter, why not take another path to comfort? You can reduce your carbon foot print with sash window draught proofing this winter.

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