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Common Signs That You Need to Replace Your Windows

There are many people who have no idea how old the windows in their home are, making it difficult to understand when they might need to be replaced or maintained. Windows can typically last up to 20 years before requiring replacement, though like other home maintenance issues, problems can arise at any time. While built to last, it’s important to be able to identify some of the most common signs that you might need to replace your windows.

In the process, it’s always a good idea to set aside some savings to make window replacement possible, much in the same way you would do for other important home maintenance projects like a roof replacement. Here are some of the most common ways to know if you need to replace your windows in the near future.

Drafts are the most common sign of a deteriorating window
Perhaps the most noticeable sign that you need to replace your windows is the presence of drafts around your windows. If you can feel cold air bleeding through around the window frame or hear the sound of wind whistling through the window, there’s a very good chance your window has a draft. While these issues can often be repaired by a window maintenance professional, significant drafts may require a full window replacement. Failure to address these issues will result in cold air leaking into your home during the winter months, causing your heating system to work overtime to keep your home comfortable, and in the process sending your utility bills spiraling out of control.

Single pane windows are long outdated
If your home still has single pane windows, it’s a good idea to replace them as soon as possible. Single pane windows have long been an outdated window type, providing little insulation and almost no soundproofing, meaning cold air and noise can almost freely enter into your home. Add in the fact that single pane windows have almost no energy efficiency, and it quickly becomes clear why so many homeowners have ditched these outdated windows. When it comes time to replace your windows, it’s highly recommended that you seek out double or triple-glazed windows for increased energy efficiency and soundproofing.

Increasing energy costs
While this isn’t a sign that you’ll notice physically, you’ll certainly notice it when your heating bill comes due. Increasing energy costs are often caused by drafty windows letting the cold air in and causing your furnace to work harder than usual to keep warm air inside your home. This also happens during the summer months with your air conditioning system. When you consider the amount of energy and money being wasted on high electricity and heating bills, it’s easy to see why you should redirect the money from your bills to replacing those old drafty windows.

Build up of condensation and moisture
Seeing condensation on your windows occasionally is a pretty common phenomenon, but frequently noticing large build ups of condensation, moisture, or frost on your windows means that there’s a significant issue. Usually, heavy and frequent build up means that your windows are in dire need of replacement, going far and beyond the normal condensation caused by the warm air from your home meeting the cold glass surface. Moisture means that the airtight seal found inside your windows is broken and that the window needs to be replaced. Unchecked moisture build up can cause problems with your home, affecting the window frame and the area around it and possibly even creating ideal conditions for mould growth.

Old and failing windows are a problem that should be addressed as soon as possible in order to avoid high utility bills and ensure your year-round comfort. Unfortunately, many cottages come with windows much older than 20 years. If you’re planning on using your cottage year-round or during the winter months, it’s highly recommended that you invest in new windows to make your stay more comfortable during any season.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the region’s leading provider of high quality windows and doors. For decades, our experienced team has worked closely with Muskoka cottage and home owners to determine the best course of action for window replacement, window and door maintenance, and new construction projects. To find out more about the wide range of energy efficient windows and doors found in our showroom and how they can transform your home or cottage, reach out to us today.

Hospice Muskoka – Providing Essential End-of-Life Services Locally

Since the emergence of COVID-19 in Canada, communities around the country have worked tirelessly to support small businesses and not-for-profit organizations like food banks and local charities through monetary donations, volunteering, and other means of support. As we quickly approach the one-year mark of the pandemic, it’s important to remember that without your support, these organizations can’t possibly continue to serve those who rely on them for essential services.

With your support, local charities and not-for-profit organizations can survive the duration of the pandemic and continue operating in a post-COVID world. The team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre is proud to have been able to lend support to a number of the region’s most important services and has been consistently impressed with the incredible support from our communities as a whole – the people of Muskoka have risen to the occasion to help those in need many times throughout the last year.

Hospice Muskoka – Providing essential end-of-life services for the people of Muskoka
We’re calling on you once again to support a local not-for-profit organization in need of your help. Hospice Muskoka has recently launched the Joy of Pets Photo Contest, offering you a great way to show off what makes your pet(s) so special while at the same time helping to provide comfort, joy, and companionship to those facing end-of-life and bereavement challenges.

Since 1995, Hospice Muskoka has been providing essential services to people throughout the region, caring for those with life-threatening illnesses and palliative prognoses, ensuring end-of-life comfort, and working with families to provide ongoing grief and caregiver support. The organization is volunteer-based and provides care to Muskokans of all ages and backgrounds. Many of Hospice Muskoka’s volunteers have been specially trained, allowing them to provide social, physical, spiritual, and emotional support in the hospital, nursing and retirement homes, and even in your own home.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is proud to have been a community supporter of Hospice Muskoka since 2005. Our team has supported the Hospice Muskoka Annual Butterfly Release since it’s inception over 5 years ago. Become a supporter of Hospice Muskoka today by making a donation.

Is Your Water Safe? Time to Get it Tested!

With the ice and snow finally melting and spring making its presence known all around the region, it’s time for Muskoka cottagers and homeowners to have their water tested. Cottage owners whose water is drawn from the lake or a private well should be regularly testing their drinking water to ensure that it’s safe to continue using. These water sources can be contaminated by a wide variety of things, and so having it tested regularly can prevent you, your family and your friends from accidentally drinking contaminated water.

Why you should be testing your water
No contaminated water is ever safe to drink, making it crucial that your water gets tested on a regular basis, especially when drawn from a lake or private well. This applies to a great deal of the area’s home and cottage owners, many of whom draw water from Muskoka’s lakes or private wells. Even if the water in question is only used for swimming and other recreational activities, it’s important that it gets tested.

Any body of water, whether a natural lake or a privately dug well, can be contaminated by humans, animals, and other sources including blue/green algae, naturally occurring chemicals and minerals like trihalomethanes (THM), arsenic, lead, uranium, and sodium, or water-borne illnesses and pathogens like E.coli, cryptosporidium and giardia, making it very important to make a habit of testing your drinking water.

This is especially true if it doesn’t come from a municipal water system, if you haven’t tested it in a while (or ever), or if you’ve recently noticed a change in smell, taste or appearance. Drinking contaminated water can lead to a wide variety of serious health problems and should be avoided at all costs. Water testing can identify contaminants, allowing you to directly address any problems before they can affect you or those closest to you.

How to test your drinking water
Testing your water is easier now than ever before thanks to Ontario’s push to have home and cottage owners test their private water sources often. If you draw water from a private well or other private drinking water system, you can have your water tested free of charge by the Ontario Public Health Laboratory. 

All you have to do is pick up a sampling kit from your local District Health Unit location and take a sample of your drinking water by collecting it in the provided sterilized bottle, and drop it off with the Health Unit. From there, an inspector will analyze your results and offer advice on how you should proceed with fixing any existing issues.

These free services cover bacterial contamination, but Public Health Ontario doesn’t cover chemical or other contaminants, meaning you may have to consult a private licensed laboratory in order to fully test your private drinking water, especially if you’re concerned about chemicals and minerals that may be harmful. 

The government of Ontario has provided a list of licensed laboratories in the province which can perform mineral and chemical contamination tests on your drinking water. Before you send a sample to one of these private labs, remember to first contact them to determine whether or not your sample will be accepted (based on their licence class) and how to properly submit a valid sample to ensure that it doesn’t get rejected.

Getting your water tested now will give you lots of time to put remedial measures in place if an issue is discovered, leaving you free to enjoy your summer without being concerned about your water quality. 

Muskoka home and cottage owners looking to have their private drinking water system tested should contact the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for more details.

Protect Your Cottage From Water Damage From Spring Thaw

Can you feel it? Spring is almost here, meaning we’re in the final stretch of the long and snowy winter season. People around the country can finally start their annual spring cleaning rituals, flowers will (eventually) start to bloom, migratory birds will soon return, and homeowners everywhere will begin to tear out their hair out of the many frustrations that come with the spring thaw. Quickly melting snow can cause major problems for home and cottage owners everywhere, bringing with it flooding and property damage that can be mostly avoided by taking the proper proactive precautions. Here’s what you can do to protect your home or cottage from water damage this spring.

Be proactive with snow removal
The most effective step you can take to avoid water damage to your home or cottage is to get proactive with snow removal. Some homes become flooded when the rapidly melting snow finds its way into your property. The best way to avoid this common problem is to simply ensure that there is less snow around your property’s foundation. Grab a shovel and head outside to clear away any of the snow sitting against and near your home’s foundation, which will allow the melting snow to drain further away from the foundation and minimize the risk of excess water finding its way into your property.

It’s also a good idea to clear snow away from your window wells for the same reasons, as these wells provide easy entry for snowmelt. While you’re outside clearing snow away, check to see that your home’s downspouts are clear and still connected, as they sometimes become dislodged during the winter season. Ideally, downspouts should extend at least two metres away from your home, and a path for the water to drain away from your home should be maintained until the snow melts away and obstructions are cleared.

Check your windows for signs of damage
The winter season can cause many problems for your home’s windows and doors, so it’s always a good idea to inspect these areas of your home’s interior and exterior to ensure that they’re in good working order. An exceptionally harsh winter season or two can do a number on your windows, especially the weather stripping as the cold weather can cause them to lose their flexibility and ultimately create opportunities for air leaks and water seepage. Windows can also be damaged by ice buildup and falling ice. Check out your windows and seals for signs of potential damage and have them addressed immediately by a window professional. If your window issues are resolved before next winter, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that your home will stay warm and dry for the foreseeable future.

Make sure your roof and eavestrough are in good working order
The roof can be another source of water damage during the spring thaw, so it’s always a good idea to make sure that it’s free of damage and functioning as it’s meant to. Ice dams can form on the edge of your roof, typically caused by heat leaks in your attic. If you notice that ice damming is taking place, it’s a good idea to hire an inspector to check your attic for leaks and repair it to ensure that warm air isn’t escaping through the attic.

While you’re at it, make sure that your eavestroughs are free of damage so they can continue redirecting snow melt from your roof away from your home. A clogged or damaged eavestrough can cause a buildup of water which may cause damage to your roof or leak into your home. That’s why it’s important to clean your eavestroughs every fall to clear it of debris. If you’re sick of cleaning them out, screen guards can be installed to stop debris from making its way into your eavestroughs.

If your windows or doors have been damaged from the spring thaw or you’re looking to get a headstart on spring home maintenance, you can count on Muskoka Window & Door Centre to guide you through your new window and door repair or replacement. Our experienced team can help you find the perfect doors or windows to keep your cottage comfortable and energy efficient all year round. To request a quote for your upcoming project, get in touch with Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.

Signs That Your Windows and Doors May Have Winter Weather Damage

With spring still quite a ways off and the blisteringly cold weather having finally reared its ugly head, you might be noticing that your windows and doors aren’t quite performing the way they used to, or that there are more quirks to them than you remember. These things could be signs that your doors and windows might have been damaged by the winter weather, and means that you could soon be considering door and window replacement.

While we haven’t seen heavy snowfall yet this winter, the cold weather can do more than enough to damage your windows and doors, creating drafts and air leaks into your home that lead to high energy bills and an overall less comfortable living environment. In older windows, freezing weather has been known to cause cracks in glass panes and can even warp materials and impact the overall integrity of windows and doors. Here are some of the signs that the windows and doors in your home or cottage might have been damaged by the cold winter weather.

How winter weather affects wood windows
While wood windows look beautiful, they typically experience more issues after long winters than other materials. If your home has old wood windows, it’s a good idea to look for signs of damage once the cold has faded and the snow has started to melt. Some of the most common issues with wood windows include sticking and swelling caused by winter weather, making it difficult to operate your windows. Chipped paint can be caused by winter weather, forcing you to paint once the weather has cleared up.

Perhaps the most subtle weather damage to wood windows is cracked or broken weather stripping, which can disrupt the seal around your window and make it easier for drafts and leaks to present themselves. Pay close attention to your windows, as damaged weather stripping can be more difficult to identify once the winter weather has departed. You may also notice that the frames are beginning to rot – if this is the case, it’s time for a window replacement due to the additional issues this can cause.

Vinyl windows can also be damaged by winter weather
While vinyl windows are perhaps the most durable type of window, they too can experience problems caused by harsh winter weather. The most common types of damage caused by winter weather will include things like noticing moisture between panes of glass, indicating that a condensation buildup exists between the panes. If this is the case, your vinyl window has lost some of its efficiency due to a failed or damaged seal, and will need to be repaired. Another common problem is that of excessive condensation. If you’ve begun to notice large amounts of condensation on your windows or mold growth around your windows, there could be a significant issue with them that should be addressed immediately.

As with other window types, vinyl windows are also prone to drafts caused by winter weather damage. This typically happens when the weather causes damage to the window frame (through ice build up, falling ice, freezing temperatures, or wear and tear), affecting the weather stripping and creating air leaks. Damaged window frames and weather stripping should be addressed immediately to ensure that you don’t overspend on utilities and can continue living comfortably inside your home or cottage.

Don’t forget to check on your doors for signs of weather damage
Your windows aren’t the only things affected by the cold weather – your doors can also be affected by the winter weather. While much of this damage is often cosmetic (things like peeling paint), doors can also become warped by the freezing weather, causing them to function much less efficiently. Like windows, your doors can also suffer from damaged sealing, which can cause drafts and air leaks to appear. When you’re checking for signs of damage to your windows, remember to check all around your doors for similar damage.

The team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre has seen it all, having spent dozens of seasons repairing and replacing windows and doors damaged by winter weather. If your doors or windows have been affected, you can count on us to fix them. In the event that the damage is too extensive for repair, our expert team can replace your doors and windows with durable and energy efficient units that will hold up to Muskoka winters for years to come. For more information about how the team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre can help, get in touch with us today.