As outside temperatures plummet, it’s time to start thinking about how to reduce your heating bills. It is estimated that 25 percent of the heat in your home escapes through the windows, which means that protecting your windows is one of the best ways to save on energy.
Drafty windows will not only result in more heating costs, but they will also make the inside of your house feel frosty and uncomfortable. Furthermore, this could also subject windows to environmental stress that will completely destroy them, leaving your home exposed to severe weather conditions.
To completely eliminate drafts, the ideal solution would be to replace your old, leaky windows with new, energy-efficient ones and start the process of winter-proofing your home. But the costs involved can be prohibitive to many, plus replacing windows in a rented home does not make economical sense.
So, here are a few easy DIY fixes for winter windows that will improve your comfort level and reduce heating costs. Read on to learn more about sealing windows for winter!
If you have drafty windows, you should start by identifying the leaky spots. You can accomplish this by moving a lit candle around the window frames, preferably on windy days. Patch any drafty spots with weatherstripping to make your home feel warmer and save on energy bills.
2. Window Caulking
Window caulking is usually the first line of protection against cold air. Unfortunately, it can crack and form gaps over time. You can easily seal small cracks by simply adding a fresh layer of caulk or rope caulk that is moulded into the gaps. In case you have large cracks or gaps, you will need to remove the old caulk first so that you can replace it entirely.
3. Apply Plastic Film
You can apply the window insulation film using double-sided tape to your window panes, and then seal it with heat from a hairdryer. This inexpensive clear shrink film allows your rooms to retain up to 55 percent of the heat you generate internally. A good alternative to plastic film is bubble wrap, which is applied with the bubble side of the wrap placed against the glass and held in place using double-sided tape.
4. Draft Snakes
You can effectively stop cold air from entering and warm air from escaping through the windowsills by placing inexpensive window draft stoppers. You can buy draft snakes online or improvise by filling a fabric tube, such as an old knee sock, with dry rice.
5. Rigid Foam
For windows that don’t necessarily have to let in light or a view of the outside, like attic and basement windows, you can simply cover the panes using a piece of foam board attached to 3/8-inch drywall. Simply custom cut pieces that will fit snugly inside the frame, and place them with the foam side pressing against the glass. You can easily pop them out when you want day lighting. Keep in mind that basement and attic insulation can significantly help reduce heat loss.
6. Rubber Weather Sealing
You may also purchase strips of self-stick rubber weather sealing and then cut them into appropriate sizes that fit your window dimensions. Peel and stick the strips to the window frame to close any gaps that let in cold air or allow warm air to escape.
7. Install Honeycomb Cellular Shades
The unique design of honeycomb cellular shades allows them to prevent cold air and drafts from passing through the windows and window frames. Always remember to lower your shades at night when the temperatures are lowest and keep them open during the day to let the sun warm up your interior.
8. Install Layered Curtains
You may consider using layered curtains or placing heavy fabrics over the windows to keep cold drafts out. However, you will need to draw them during the day to let in some sunlight.
Keep in mind that the curtains should remain closed whenever you have the heating on. Ideally, the curtains should be closely woven and close-fitting, with a snug fit on all sides of the window to ensure that warm air does not move behind the curtain where it will be cooled. You can enhance the seal by using curtain tracks that allow the curtain to return to the wall, creating a seal.
9. Opt for Solid Barriers Above Curtain Rails
You might want to consider installing solid barriers or pelmets above the curtain rail or strategically positioning the curtain within the window space to also prevent heat loss through the windows. As with curtains or blinds, you can choose plain or decorative pelmets to match your home decor.
10. Replace the Glazing
If you notice gaps around the glass panes of drafty windows, you should consider replacing the glazing compound used to fix the glass to your windows. The glazing tends to harden with time, which in turn causes it to break easily and form gaps around the window frame.
Old glazing can be easily removed using a putty knife and replaced with fresh glazing. Use a glazing tool to smooth the compound evenly to create a neat seal. You should note that packed glazing material has a fairly short shelf life, so it is not advisable to use the compound that remained from the previous year or even save some for the next cold season.
11. Install Storm Windows
Storm windows are largely used to protect the main window from harsh forms of precipitation, though they also reduce heat loss by creating a dead-air space between the two windows.
For them to provide effective insulation, they should be tightly installed around the window frame to prevent air movement. However, you should leave a small weep hole to allow moisture vapour to escape. Loosely installed storm windows are ineffective insulators, plus they increase the risk of frost on the indoor window surface. Always ensure that the sashes are tight enough to keep frost from forming on the storm window.
Get Wonderful Windows That Are Winter-Ready
Proper window insulation is essential, especially during the cold winter season. If DIY won't cut it, and you prefer the help of professionals, Clera Windows & Doors has you covered!
Since 1978, we have built a reputation as one of Canada’s premier manufacturers and installers of custom windows and doors. We remain committed to making your dream home a reality. Get winter windows to keep your home warm and cozy indoors while the snow falls outside. Give us a call for a quote today!