Mention a broken window, and it’s easy to picture a stray baseball flying accidentally into your home in the heat of summer to cause damage. But unfortunately, windows can get broken in all seasons—including the middle of winter when a quick fix is essential to protect your home from Chicago’s frigid temperatures and keep your family protected. If you’re dealing with a broken window mid-winter, it’s important to act fast and decisively.
Here’s what to do to address that damaged window and safeguard your home.
5 Steps for Temporarily Repairing a Broken Window
Windows can get damaged in winter for many reasons—including wind-blown debris during a storm, fallen tree limbs due to heavy snow and ice, an accident indoors or outdoors, or even an attempted break-in. Whatever the cause, deal with the damage as soon as you can to keep cold temperatures and moisture from making things worse, and eliminate the risk that your home won’t be safe and secure.
1. Clear Away the Broken Glass
A cracked or shattered window can leave shards of glass lying around the area. Put on heavy gloves and safety goggles to protect yourself, and then pick up and carefully discard any large pieces of glass you can find. If there is cracked glass still in the frame, and you don’t feel comfortable removing it, cover the area with duct tape to prevent further shattering.
Sweep up and vacuum inside to keep yourself, family, and pets from getting hurt. Outdoors, look around and gently remove any shards that are obvious and within easy reach to prevent pets and visitors (such as the mail deliverer) from injury.
2. Assess the Damage
Take a good look at your window and see how severe the problem is. Are you dealing with a small crack and a tiny hole? Or is the entire pane broken in pieces? Is the issue only with the glass itself, or is the window frame also harmed? Does it look like there are additional problems, such as a leak or termite infestation? Is the issue putting your home at risk of further damage—or is it posing a safety risk such as inviting a break-in?
These questions help you decide how quickly you need a window repair team to get out to your home. If the answer is, “I need them now,” then put it a call to get the ball rolling immediately.
3. Seal the Window as Best as You Can
While you’re waiting for repairs to be made by your window installation crew (like us!), it’s important to block off the space that was once insulated by the broken glass. Remember—if the pane is cracked, duct tape placed over the damage is a good temporary solution.
However, if the glass has shattered, leaving exposed areas, then you need to do more to keep out the cold air. Grab a plastic sheet or garbage bag, and tape it in place to cover the window entirely. Multiple layers are okay—in fact, they can help provide more insulation. A layer of bubble wrap over the plastic sheet/garbage bag is also a good way to stave off the cold while you wait for the window to be fixed.
4. Restrict Access to the Area
To further protect your home, install plywood over the outside of the window. This is especially useful if the damage is severe enough to put your home’s security at risk. And it prevents further breaks from occurring.
If the area inside or outside the window may still have glass shards, wood splinters, or other dangers, block it off further with caution tape. You might also set stakes in the ground, or take other measures to keep people away from the window until it can be addressed more thoroughly. If needed, you can even close off the room to keep pets and young children out.
5. Warm Things Up in Your Home
In addition to plastic and plywood, you can hang heavy insulating curtains to further add some protection against chilly drafts. If you don’t have such curtains handy, use a tarp, a spare comforter, heavy blankets, or several thick towels. The idea is to add as many layers as you can against the cold—just as you do when you go outdoors in Chicago’s frigid weather.
You’ll also want to set your heating unit to a warmer temperature. Yes, that means higher utility bills (temporarily), but it also helps to prevent compounding issues such as frozen pipes until the window can be repaired.
Call the Pros for Further Guidance
Once your window is initially tended to, you can look at a more long-term solution. And that’s where our team comes in! We’ll come out to your home, assess the situation, measure the window, and help you determine the best course—whether that’s a specific approach to repairs, or a whole new window installation.
Get Lasting Solutions for Your Windows from Our Local Team of Experts
Whether you have an emergency window situation or you’re looking for ways to keep a small problem from growing worse, Siding & Windows Group is here to assist you and give you peace of mind that your home is protected. We’ll explain your options and help you decide on what works best for your budget and preferences.
If it’s time for new windows, check out our Marvin replacement windows and see how these gorgeous, long-lasting products can give you years of high performance.