Keep your home warm this winter by Finding and fixing drafty windows Drafts, be gone! Find them, seal them and banish them for good in 3 steps. The weather is cooling down, can you feel it? Rather than wait around for the temperature to plummet, take steps now to ensure that your home remains warm and cozy through the coldest months of the year. In addition to proper insulation and heater & air maintenance, we recommend taking a close look at your windows. Windows are notorious for air leaks, they can not only admit cold air but also allow heated air to escape. There are many ways to seal drafty window, but first you’ve got to find the drafts.
Locate the draft
Here is one of the quickest and easiest ways to test the seal on your windows. First, go through the house and close all the windows as tightly as possible. Next, light a candle. Hold the flame near each window, inches from the glass, slowly moving the candlestick around the seam between the window and its frame. If the flame bends or flickers while the candle is still, then there’s most likely an air leak. Mark the spot where the potential problem exists with a sticky note so you can return to repair it later. Test every window in the house, marking each area where a potential draft may be present. You can always hire a professional to perform an energy audit of your home to get a more accurate diagnosis of the problem. Many local utility companies offer such services either for free or for a small fee. Check with your electric company for more information. It’s certainly worth looking into, since what professional energy auditors do is a lot more sophisticated than the candle method. They conduct thorough room-by-room assessments, not only for window drafts but also for any other instances of energy inefficiency.
Address the cause
Having located the drafts in the windows of your house, the next step is to seal them all up.
There are multiple ways to get the job done. Some methods are inexpensive, temporary and manageable for DIYers. Other more expensive and permanent options can be quite expensive and best left to contractors. Choose the option that best fits your needs and budget:
Easily affordable, with a cost of only a few dollars per window, weatherstripping proves itself to be and easy installation for a DIYer. Purchase the product in your chosen material, felt, foam, plastic or metal are readily available in hardware stores and home centers. Trim the strips to size and use them to fill the gaps between a window frame and jamb.
You will caulk windows in two places, whether you’re working inside or outside: this is where the window meets the surrounding frame, and where the frame meets the surrounding wall (inside) or siding material or stucco (outside).
Tubes of caulk are easy to use with a little practice, and relatively inexpensive. If you’ve caulked your windows in the past, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook, caulking tends to deteriorate over time. It may be time to remove the old caulk and start over.
You have probably seen or maybe even used a draft snake in the past. Draft snakes are stuffed tubes, placed on a windowsill or under a door, as a simple measure of keeping out the cold and keeping in the warmth. Purchase one at low cost or make your own at a very low cost. If you go the DIY route, you can use virtually any fabric, including extra towels or socks. Fill the middle with batting, rice, potpourri or anything similar you have on hand. Despite being makeshift, draft snakes work really well in a pinch.
The bad news: It can be cost be very costly to replace the windows in your home. The good news: Upon resale, the average homeowner recoups approximately 80 percent of what they invested in the replacement windows.
This is not a simple case of out with the old, in with the new! When properly installed, today’s energy efficient windows reduce drafts and create an overall air tight seal. In fact, Energy Star-rated windows can lower your energy bills by as much as 10-15 percent monthly.
Every layer helps, when it comes down to it! If you do nothing else to remedy the problem, why not at least hang curtains? You have the opportunity to gain not only greater comfort but also genuine savings on your monthly heating bills. Don’t let yourself get left out in the cold!