How Do You Winterize Windows?

Winterize WindowsIt’s important to winterize windows before the cold weather hits. According to the US Department of Energy, up to 25% of your heating bill is due to losing heating in the winter, and cooling in the summer, through the windows of your home.

Check for Air Leaks

Many homes are losing plenty of heat through the cracks and miniature holes around their window’s frames. Not only are the cracks allowing heated air to escape, the cracks allow cool air to enter the home. If you dampen your hand and hold it close to the window’s frame, you’ll be able to feel whether cool air is entering the home.

Check all the windows in the home to see which ones are allowing heat to escape into the outdoors. These are the windows that will need to be caulked immediately. After caulking the windows, there can still be heat lost through the glass and other areas of the window.

Lock the Window

While windows should be locked for safety, many windows are not properly locked to keep cold air out of the home. The latch on the window helps to seal the window into place. Often, there is a small gap at the top of the window of which the homeowner doesn’t notice.

Every window latch should be secured in each room including the upper floors of the home. If there are windows in the attic or basement, those should be secured too. Take a walk through the home with a fresh eye. Don’t forget windows that might be in the laundry room or pantry space. From a security standpoint as well as energy savings, the home’s windows should be latched so they have the proper alignment.

Seal the Window

Old windows have a single pane of glass. The glass itself can become extremely cold, which leeches heat from the home. It allows the cold of the window to impact the warm air of the room and cool it considerably. Winterizing windows is especially important if you don’t have energy saving windows installed.

Insulating the window will go a long way toward improving the warmth of the home. There are plastic films available at many department or home improvement stores that can be attached to the window. It’s much like plastic wrap used for food storage. The film is attached to the frame of the window with tape. A dryer heats the plastic to create a seal. The seal will stay until you remove it in the spring.

Storm Windows

In older homes with single pane glass, the addition of storm windows is a necessity. The storm windows will create an extra barrier so the cold doesn’t intrude on the home. It’ll keep the interior window from letting heat out into the cold.

Before the start of winter, check the storm windows to be sure that none are cracked from being stored. Cracked windows are essentially useless. This is the time to add weather stripping to the window too. It’ll help keep the cold air from sliding into the home.

Energy Saving Windows

It’s not always possible to replace all the windows in the home with energy saving windows, but if possible, the worst windows in the home should be slowly replaced. The Department of Energy¬†recommends low-emissivity rated glazing on the windows. The low-e glazing helps control the heat that enters and leaves the home through the glass.

Double pane glass will reduce the air leakage rate too. They come in a variety of window operating types so you can find a window to fit any room in your home including casement, hopper and awning windows. The Department of Energy has a list of window types as well as information on the ratings.

Heavy Curtains

After sealing the frame around the window with caulking and placing the plastic film over the windows, it can be extremely unattractive. Heavy curtains will perform double duty as a cover for the unattractive plastic wrap and as a block for the window itself.

Sealing the window might not be enough of a deterrent for the cold air but with the addition of heavy curtains, it almost guarantees that the cool air won’t enter the home. The warm, heated air of the home won’t be able to penetrate the barrier of heavy drapes and plastic wrap either.

Related Resource: Install a Casement Window

It can be difficult to keep the home warm in the winter if your windows are allowing air to escape. The cold air is entering the home through the same space too. Repairing the cracks around the frame, adding plastic to the window itself and hanging heavy curtains are a great barrier to heat loss.