5 Winterization Tips for Drafty Windows

5 Winterization Tips for Drafty WindowsLet’s set the scene: You have recently purchased an older home, perhaps even a home with historic classification. You have spent the past few months spending money to address many of the planned and unplanned repairs that arise when purchasing an older or historic home.  Winter is fast approaching and the temperature is dropping. Just when you think you are all set, your first winter heating bill arrives and you ask yourself, “How can it possibly be this high?”

Drafty windows are a significant, and often overlooked, contributor to home heat loss. Although older and historic homes are most prone to draft windows, even recently constructed homes can fall prey to heat loss and increased heating bills due to drafty windows. If you suspect that drafty windows may be contributing to your home’s high heating bills and you aren’t sure how to address the issue, keep reading to discover five winterization tips for drafty windows.

  1. Ensure Proper Caulking and Sealing
    Run your hand around the perimeter of your windows. Do you feel cold air pushing through? If so, your windows are likely in need of new caulking. Interior and exterior caulk provides a weatherproof seal on even the smallest gaps. While caulking is a standard practice during home construction, over time the caulk dries, cracks, and loses its overall effectiveness.Use a putty knife to remove the older caulk before applying fresh caulk. For the caulking compound to settle properly, the temperature should be above 45 degrees and humidity should be low. Therefore, it is best to inspect and address exterior caulking needs in the fall, before it gets too cold.
  2. Install New Weatherstripping
    Like caulk, weather stripping is a way to ensure that small gaps around doors and windows are adequately sealed to prevent heat loss. Weather stripping comes in many different forms and materials including felt, foam, metal, and vinyl. The complexity of installation depends on the material used. Felt and foam weatherstripping tends to be easier to install than metal or vinyl weatherstripping, but is also less permanent and may require more frequent updating.Keep in mind that while felt weatherstripping tends to be cheaper and easier to install, it is not moisture resistant. Moisture should be considered public enemy number one for homeowners, and therefore a moisture resistant form of weatherstripping such as foam, metal, or vinyl is likely a better choice in many situations.
  3. Consider Storm Windows
    Although storm windows don’t provide insulation, they do prevent air from moving through the window (provided the window is in good condition). The composition of storm windows can vary from plastic sheets that are designed for single seasons, to more permanent plastic and glass panels. The cost of various storm windows varies with their material composition, durability, and complexity of installation.  Homeowners should keep in mind that if their budget allows for the purchase of energy-efficient glass storm windows, they may consider directing those funds towards the purchase of new windows instead.
  4. Install Thermal Window Shades
    Many homeowners have purchased the plastic window coverings that use double-sided tape to seal their windows for a season, only to experience an unseasonably warm week where they would love to open their windows but can’t do so without having to completely replace the thin plastic film. If this has happened to you, consider thermal window shades. These stylish options are marginally more costly than the plastic sheets, but provide all the benefits while also allowing you to open them as needed. Many thermal window shades are easily removed, allowing homeowners the ability to swap them for a lighter material for spring and summer.
  5. Put up Window Film
    Many homeowners fail to consider the heat loss that occurs because of the warm air inside their home coming into contact with the cold glass window panes. Window film provides a way to prevent this heat loss by absorbing the radiant heat inside your home and preventing it from escaping outside. The cost of this option is relative to the number of windows in your home, as it is typically calculated by the square foot. If you live in an area where heavy storms are common, consider upgrading to a shatter-proof window film that can help keep your windows safe and secure as well as insulated.

At Towne & Country, we provide expert home and building inspection services to home buyers and sellers throughout the Milwaukee area. We specialize in historic homes and enjoy helping home buyers navigate the exciting and complex process of purchasing and maintaining an older property. Give us a call with questions or to schedule your inspection today.