Drafty windows do more than just cause you discomfort. They can also compromise the energy efficiency of your home, driving up utility costs. With winter weather on the way, the last thing you want to do is layer on the sweaters when you’re indoors. You want your home interior to remain warm and cozy when it’s snowing and blowing outside.
In addition, you’d probably prefer to lower your heating costs if at all possible. The best way to accomplish your goals is to adequately winterize your windows. With the right steps you can make your home more airtight, energy efficient, and comfortable through the long winter months, and you have a few options to explore. Here are some strategies to try if you want to draft-proof the windows in your home.
1. Update Weather Stripping
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to stop drafts around windows is with weather stripping, which can be found at any hardware store. Chances are your windows already come equipped with rubber strips around the edges to stop outside air from leaking in around the frame, but it can deteriorate over time, delivering waning performance and leaving you with a chill.
The good news is that updating weather stripping is relatively easy and inexpensive, depending on the products you pick. Some weather stripping materials come with an adhesive backing that makes products easy to add (and remove at a later date). Others have more permanent means of affixing them. Most homeowners can install weather stripping on their own, although you could also hire a handyman or a window specialist to do it for you if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
2. Reseal Glass Panes
Glass window panes are generally held in place within a frame with putty and caulking material, but over time, these fixatives can become deteriorated or damaged due to extreme temperatures, overzealous washing, or simple aging. When this happens, cracks in the seal could develop, leading to air leaks around the edges of the glass. If you have double- or triple-paned windows, you could also see condensation forming between the panes.
If your windows are still under warranty, you should contact the manufacturer about repairing or replacing damaged or defective panes. Otherwise, you can work on repairing them yourself with a bit of putty and caulk. You’ll find tutorials online pertaining to the type of windows you have, and you can always speak with window specialists for advice on how to proceed. When panes of glass are properly seated and sealed, you can avoid chilly drafts.
3. Add Storm Windows
One great way to prevent drafts and increase insulation is to add another layer between your home interior and the outside world. Storm windows may not offer the same level of performance as double- or triple-paned glass, for example, but the basic principle is the same.
By adding another window on the outside in place of summertime screens, you not only put another piece of glass between your home and the elements, but you also add a layer of air between the panes, which increases insulation and helps to seal out drafts. With double-paned windows, this space is filled with an inert gas like argon or krypton that maintains an insulated seal. You won’t get this with storm windows, but you could still increase the airtightness and energy efficiency of your home.
4. Upgrade Windows
The absolute best way to increase the energy efficiency of your home and drastically reduce heating (and cooling) costs is with replacement windows. If you’re tired of the drafts caused by single-paned windows, upgrading to double- or even triple-paned options can infer a number of desirable benefits.
First and foremost, you’ll put a stop to the drafts around windows that leave you reaching for sweaters and warm socks all winter. You’ll also save money when you upgrade to more energy-efficient windows. Yes, they will cost you some money up-front, but you’ll recoup your costs in the long run through energy savings.
A more airtight and efficient home will make it easier to regulate and maintain interior temperatures, and this, in turn, will lower your heating costs in the winter, as well as cooling costs in the summer if you run the AC. Other options like weather stripping and storm windows will do this to a lesser extent, but you get what you pay for, and upgrading your windows, while likely the most expensive option, will also deliver the greatest return on investment and keep your home the most comfortable in the process.