Solutions for Old, Drafty Windows


Do you have a hard time warming up while sitting near a window? Do you ever feel a cold chill when inside your home? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the heat lost via your windows can account for 10-25% of your home’s energy bill. When your windows aren’t tightly sealed and insulated, the outside air can sneak in and the heat inside can escape, forcing you to crank up the heat just to feel comfortable.

Solve drafty window problems and create a more energy efficient home by following these tips. There are several ways to deal with drafts simply by “covering up” the problem temporarily. But, there are great long-term solutions for you to consider if you want to make a permanent change in your home’s energy efficiency and comfort.

Quick Fixes for Dealing with Your Drafty Windows 

Caulking: On the outside of your windows, first remove any old caulk that may be in place, using a putty knife. Wipe and scrub away dirt and residue with warm, soapy water, and then dry the area thoroughly. Apply new caulk around the perimeter of the window between the window frame and your home's siding.

Weatherstripping: After you caulk around each window outside, you’ll want to weatherstrip inside the home, around the sashes. There are several different ways to weatherstrip your windows. V-seal, felt, adhesive-backed foam, and tubular rubber-gasket weatherstripping are several products and techniques that you may use. This post from Popular Mechanics defines each type in more detail.

Plastic Film: Apply plastic shrink film over your windows (inside your home) with double-sided tape (usually included in the packaging). Heat the clear plastic with a hair dryer so it shrinks and creates a tight seal over the window. When you want to open your windows again in the spring, simply use rubbing alcohol to remove the tape safely without damaging walls or paint. 

Draft Snakes: Adding a draft snake is a very simple way to block air leaking under the bottom of your window or door. Place it in front of your door on the floor or in your windowsill. They're available in many sizes, or learn to make your own for the most custom fit!

Shades or Drapes: Thick drapes are available specifically designed to keep out drafts. Shades can also assist in draft prevention. There are many styles and options from which to choose.

Long-Term Solutions for Drafty Windows

The seals on old windows gradually erode over time, making the windows much less energy efficient and unable to effectively keep out drafts. Wood framing around windows can also shrink over time, creating gaps that allow air to leak in and out. Wood can also rot or wear out, allowing glass panes to become loose and rattle -- another way for cold air to creep in. If you have windows showing any of these signs, it’s time to start looking into window replacement. 

Replace: Replace your old windows with new, energy efficient windows. Quality windows have low U-factors, high airflow resistance, and great insulation values. Many energy-efficient windows are even coated to reflect heat, create less condensation, provide protection from the sun, and reduce energy loss. If you do decide to upgrade, there are many rebates and savings that you might qualify for this year.

As with all home improvement projects, there are temporary solutions that take care of surface issues, and there are long-term solutions that deal with underlying problems. Make sure you consider all of your options, carefully weighing the pros and cons of every situation before making your decision on how to deal with your drafty windows.

It may be necessary for you to make these quick fixes for the time being, and then deal with the real problems with a long-term solution when you have the time and money.

Hedrick Construction has a lot to offer when it comes to window replacement in Ankeny, Huxley, or Ames. We offer several beautifully designed and efficient window brands to enhance and improve any style of home or business. Contact us to learn about our window installation services or check out our variety of window options on our website.

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