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What To Do About Drafty Windows: 5 Steps to Take

Energy-efficient windows can help eliminate the 25% to 30% of residential cooling and heating energy used as a result of poorly insulated windows. Unfortunately, most people only realize they have drafty windows at the most inconvenient time – during the winter.

Having more energy-efficient windows installed in your home seems like an easy solution, but if you don’t have the budget for window replacement or you’re renting and your landlord isn’t willing to spend the money, you may need to find another alternative.

The good news is that there are some quick fixes you can use to help improve your window insulation and to ensure you stay warm throughout the winter. But first, here are a few signs that might clue you into your insulation problem before it’s too late.

Signs That You Have a Window Insulation Problem

Several signs will let you know that you have a window insulation problem. If you have old windows or your house is too cold are just two of the more obvious signs. Here are some other signs you need to replace your window:

  • You have difficulty opening or closing your windows
  • You have to use a prop for them to stay open
  • You notice condensation on your windows
  • There’s decay or water damage
  • Poor workmanship

Having your windows replaced is a big investment. New windows can cost between $150 to $750 per window. However, they end up paying for themselves as they can last for 20 to 25 years.

5 Things You Can Use When You Have Drafty Windows

You may still not have the initial cash outlay to pay for new windows. So until you’re able to afford them, here are a few things you can use to make your home or apartment more comfortable during the cold winter months.

1. Thermal or Weighted Drapery

The special lining in thermal or weighted curtains can help keep warm air inside your home or apartment during the winter. It can also block out the heat during summer.

You can use them as blackout curtains to limit the amount of light that comes in through your windows and they reduce noise as well due to their thickness. Ensure the curtains completely cover your windows so that they can effectively insulate them.

2. Window Insulation Film

Window insulation film is also known as a window insulation kit. You apply the plastic shrink film using double-sided tape so it adheres to the inner window frame. It creates an insulated barrier between your inner window and the inside of your home or apartment.

You can remove wrinkles by heating the film with a hairdryer so that it shrinks. The film helps increase energy efficiency by up to 90%.

3. Rope Caulk

You can use rope caulk to seal cracks, gaps, or spaces along your window frame. It has the consistency of Silly Putty and is rolled up like a garden hose or rope. You pull it apart to use it by pushing it along the edges of the window to cover any gaps your windows may have.

If you live in a multi-level home or your apartment is on the ground floor, place the caulk on the outside of all the ground floor windows as well.

4. Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap won’t be aesthetically pleasing, but it is effective when it comes to insulating your windows. The window needs to be wet before placing the bubble wrap against it, so clean the window then spray a light mist of water over the pane.

Seal the edges of the bubble wrap with tape. Be careful when removing it as the tape may lift the paint off your window frames and walls.

5. Magnetic Window Insulation

Magnetic Window insulation is a removable solution that will allow you to open your windows if necessary. It uses a magnet to hold the insulated vinyl in place so it’s easily removable. You’ll need to:

  • Apply a few coats of magnetic paint to the trim of the window
  • Measure and then cut the vinyl so that it fits your window
  • Attach the tape to the vinyl.

It adheres firmly to the pain but is also easy to remove.

All of these options, although temporary fixes, provide very effective alternatives. 

Keep Energy Efficiency in Mind

When you are ready to change your windows, you should keep energy efficiency in mind. It’s a significant investment, so choose an option that not only provides proper insulation but can help you reduce costs as well. Here are some of the benefits of ensuring your new windows are energy efficient:

  • They reduce your heating and cooling costs 
  • They reduce fading of furniture, carpets, and the paint on your walls
  • They help to lower your HVAC costs
  • They increase the amount of light that comes into your home and give you a better view of the world outside
  • They will improve your comfort level, especially after experiencing the discomfort associated with drafty windows
  • They reduce condensation

Keeping Out the Cold

Windows that are properly cared for usually last a long time. But if you live in an older home or apartment, your windows may have just about outlived their 25-year life span.

You may be able to live with your old windows for a while – but if your house is too cold you may need to replace your drafty windows sooner rather than later. The temporary solutions above definitely work so use them in the interim to keep warm.

Read some of the other articles on our site for other practical lifestyle tips that can help you with everyday issues.

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