Frustrated w/ Drafty Windows
I purchased a new home in Spring of '07 (brand new, was just completed late that Winter) and was pretty satisfied with it until that Winter. My heating bills were pretty high, and I was keeping at 60-62 in the house all Winter long. I came to the conclusion that the windows seal very poorly, and quite a bit of air gets through them. I used a stick of incense and towards the bottom of the windows, the smoke was blowing parallel to the ground.
So, I got the builder out to look at them, and he acted like there was nothing wrong with them. He got someone from the window company, MI Windows and Doors to come out and look at them. They said there was nothing wrong with them either, but he brought with him some bulb seal weatherstripping. All the weatherstripping used on the windows were the polypile type. So, he removed the lowest strip of polypile (the strip on the outer bottom front of the sash) and replaced it with the bulb seal (which actually seals it on the very bottom of the sash, rather than bottom front). He said this ought to help a lot. Needless to say, cold weather is here again, and if anything, the windows are leaking air even worse.
I could never find out which brand the windows are (although I believe they are Capitol), because there is nothing on any of the windows, anywhere, except for one! It was a sticker and it said that these were the 8500 series windows. They are single hung vinyl windows, and they don't appear to have any any glazing on them, and I seriously doubt they're argon filled. So, it looks like the builder chose the crappiest, cheapest windows possible. Their U-Value is 0.49. I was able to pull up an ANSI/AAMA/NWWDA 101/I.S.2-97 Structural test report on them:
Needless to say, I'm pretty pissed to find out he installed such crappy windows, as this was not a cheap house. However, the one thing that stood out with the report in regards to my problem is that these windows have a decent air-infiltration value of 0.15 cfm/ft^2. This exceeds the performance level specified in ANSI/AAMA/NWWDA 101/I.S.2-97 for air infiltration - 0.30 cfm/ft^2. There is *NO WAY* these windows in my house have an air infiltration value that low.
So, today I went out and bought one of those shrink and seal window insulation kits and stuck it up around one of the windows. I hadn't got to the part where you use a dryer to smooth all of the wrinkles out, but I noticed that the plastic sheet was already bowing out and there was quite a bit of air that had filled up the space between it and the window. I had just sealed it literally a minute or two before that. I shouldn't even be having to use these damn things on windows in a brand new house.
Sorry for the long-winded post, but I have a few questions for you guys on this forum (I usually hang out in the GW Lawn Care forum). What gives with all of the air infiltration? Does it sound like these windows were just installed incorrectly, or what? I did noticed that every window has weird notches cut out in the frame which is obviously not helping with sealing. What should my next steps be in this whole ordeal? I've got some pictures of a few and can post them up if that'd help.