How to Insulate Your Windows Before Winter
If you live in the Midwest or on the East Coast, you know how fierce the winter weather can be, and if you live in an older home, you also know how easily the cold air can leak through windows. Chilly drafts can really put a damper on cozying up indoors, but fortunately, there are few things you can try to insulate your windows before Old Man Winter shows up.
Window Insulation Kit
A quick and inexpensive fix to insulate your windows comes in a neat little package that you can order online or pick up at your local home improvement store. It’s a window insulation kit, designed to keep out the cold by sealing the inside of your window.
Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the kit. You’ll hold the wrap in place on the inside of your clean window and spray a mist of water on the edges of the wrap. The water will create a seal that will allow the wrap to cling to the edges of the window. Other kits may be applied with the help of heat, which you can use a hair dryer to create the seal.
Although this method is arguably the easiest and kindest on the pocket book, it isn’t exactly easy on the eyes. However, the plastic wrap seal will do the job in temporarily keeping out the winter cold by sealing the window and stopping the draft.
Believe it or not, adding thick curtains to your windows can help insulate them in preparation for the cold weather. Thermal curtains have thicker lining created to hold warm air inside the house during the winter, but they also help block the heat during the summer, making them useful all year-round. Thermal curtains also reduce noise thanks to their material, as well as block out bright light.
You can find thermal curtains in all sorts of designs and colors. Both online retailers and department stores carry thermal curtains.
Using rope caulk presents a similar solution to the window insulation kit. It’s a temporary fix that isn’t quite aesthetically pleasing, but rope caulk is cheap and easy to use. Rope caulk is a lot like Silly Putty, packaged in long lengths that can be pulled apart and is malleable enough to be applied in all sorts of cracks and crevices.
Rope caulk is sold online or at hardware stores. Once you remove the caulking from the packaging, follow the manufacturer’s instructions by pressing the caulk along the edges of the window where the draft is originating. For ground floor windows that require insulating, you can apply the rope caulk on both the inside and the outside windowpane.
Caulking and weather stripping should be done to your windows and doors periodically, regardless of their age. Check to make sure the caulking and weather stripping is in good condition each season, and that it’s not deteriorating or damaged.
Foam is a staple solution when it comes to various house projects. It’s a catchall solution that insulates and fills unsightly gaps and crevices of all shapes and sizes. Because expanding foam is so malleable, it’s a perfect fix for drafty, older windows.
Pick up expanding foam at places like Lowes or Home Depot, or you can purchase it online. You’ll also need a foam shooter gun to apply the foam. Try a test spot before you use the foam all the way around the window first. The foam will expand once it’s applied from the gun, so before getting started, apply a small amount in the window’s corner to see how much the foam will spread.
The foam creates an air seal around the window, stopping cold air from creating drafts. If you don’t want to use expanding foam, you can purchase rubber weather sealing strips with adhesive backing to stick around the frame instead.
If your windows only have a draft at the base, try the draft-stopper method. Home improvement stores sell stuffed foam or fabric tubes that are meant to fit horizontally along the window’s base. The insulated tube is designed to mitigate cold air drafts. You can also make your own draft stopper with long tube socks stuffed with materials like sand, rice, or dried beans.
The most assured way to completely stop drafts this winter and future cold seasons to come is to replace your drafty windows. Although you can get away with using temporary fixes to stop drafts, window replacements are an investment that will work year after year.
Replacing your older windows may seem like a large price to pay, but the benefits will outweigh the initial cost. Not only will you have a more comfortable home during the winter, but you’ll also notice significant savings on your energy bills. New windows boost your curb appeal and resale value, so although it seems like an expensive solution, it will undoubtedly pay off soon enough.