Weekend Project: How to Fix Drafty Windows in Your Home

old drafty single pane windows


Winter weather is here, and you may be feeling the chill—inside your home as well as outside. One of the biggest ways that cold air enters your home (and warm air leaks out of it) is through old, poorly insulated and poorly sealed windows. Single-pane windows are notoriously poor at keeping heat in and cold air out. The long-term solution is to remove old, drafty windows and replace them with new ones, such as highly energy efficient double pane windows, but that can be expensive and particularly difficult during the icy, snowy winter weather. These fast, low-cost tricks can help you improve the comfort of your home before the weekend is over.


Window Snakes: DIY or Store Bought

Window “snakes” are simply tubes of fabric filled with insulating material that you place at the base of your windows where air sneaks in. These traditional solutions have been around for a long time for good reason—they're easy to use and do a pretty great job for very little cost. You can make your own from a sock or some old fabric filled with some beans, rice, sand, or kitty litter; this allows you to fit each of your windows perfectly. You can also purchase commercially-made snakes online or in stores in a variety of sizes.


Weather Stripping & Caulking

Once you’ve plugged the gap at the bottom of your windows, fill in any gaps and holes around the rest of the windows’ perimeters to stop air leaks both on the inside and outside of your house. Sealing gaps around doors and windows can make your home feel warmer and more comfortable, and it can save you 10 to 15 percent on your energy bills. First, use caulk, which is inexpensive and easy to apply around the seams and gaps. Then, apply weather stripping around the inside of your window sashes. There are several different types of weather stripping available in most home improvement stores, including “v strip” (tension seal), felt, tubular gasket, and adhesive-backed foam tape. Although it’s simple, weather stripping can be very effective!


Window Film

Another tried-and-true method to improve your home’s comfort and efficiency is to apply a layer of insulating window film over your windows. This adds an extra layer of protection between you and the elements outside, helping to decrease heat transfer. However, you cannot open your windows for ventilation once you apply the film, and it is not reusable from year to year. If you have a lot of windows, the cost can really add up. The adhesive used to apply it around your windows can also damage your walls or window frames if applied incorrectly or carelessly.


Curtains & Shades

The fastest (and most fashionable) way to combat drafts is to swap your light, summery cotton or linen curtains for heavier, insulating drapes in a thicker material, like velvet, for the winter. Some drapes and shades are even insulated and designed to keep out drafts and seal in heat during the colder months, such as honeycomb (cellular) shades. Layering windows with thick hanging drapes and insulating shades can dramatically improve your home’s comfort—and style.


Window Replacement Services in Ankeny, Huxley, and Ames

If your windows are letting in too much of the winter chill, think about replacing your old windows this spring or summer. If you live in or near Polk County or Story County, contact Hedrick Construction! We carry a wide variety of commercial and residential window styles and offer professional installation services for all of our windows. Contact us today for a free estimate on replacing your windows or any other home improvement project on your “honey do” list! Now is a great time to book your remodeling services for spring.