As the warm weather starts to die down, and the cold air of winter begins, homeowners start to find difficulty in preventing the cold from entering their homes. Frequently, this breach is caused by drafty windows. Like all parts of a house, windows age with time and replacements may be deemed necessary. In the meantime, however, there are several ways to help winterize windows and better reduce the effects of drafts.
Interior Design Solutions
Instead of addressing the drafty window itself, some homeowners opt for an interior design solution that helps block cold air from intruding too far into the home. One method is through the use of proper window treatments. Window treatments are easy to obtain and can be changed out according to the season. During warm months, simple window curtains can suffice. During the colder season, changing out lightweight window treatments for heavier drapery can help block cold air as it comes through the drafty window. For additional reinforcement and maximum benefits, choose specialized thermal drapes, double up on standard curtains, and/or use fasteners to draw drapes closer to the wall.
The cause of drafty windows can often be tied to air leakage around the trim. Therefore, finding a way to block airflow around the trim or between the frame is a quick way to lessen the breach. Window caulking is an easy way to fill in these types of gaps. Though it is a simple way to winterize windows, it will need to be repeated over time. Ideally, non-toxic latex caulk created for indoor application should be used, however, for older windows, it may be necessary to scrape out old caulking and thoroughly clean the area before any new product is applied.
Seals and Weatherstripping
Whether the window is old and the seal has worn out, or it is a newer vinyl or aluminum model that has begun to leak, adding new weatherstripping can help with winterizing preparations. Various types of weatherstripping are available, each with its own positive and negative aspects. The amount of installation expertise needed varies depending upon the stripping chosen. Some common options include:
- Felt stripping
- V-strips or tension seals
- Metal or vinyl stripping
Felt stripping is inexpensive and easily self-installed, but less efficient or durable than other options. Tension seals, or v-strips, are a type of plastic weather stripping that can fill in gaps by springing open. Metal, vinyl, or rubber stripping is commonly used as a weather stripping solution, due to the combination of effectiveness and cost.
The use of storm windows for increased energy efficiency is a popular and moderately priced option for homeowners seeking to keep out the cold. Storm windows are a year-round solution and also help reflect heat in warmer months. Although not as effective as double-pane window installation, storm windows can significantly reduce air leakage and provide solar control. Storm windows vary in type, from thin plastic sheets or film to thicker glass products. Many products can be installed either on the exterior or interior of the window providing a versatile option for the owner.
Repair or Replace
In spite of attempts to seal out the cold, older windows or windows in disrepair can sometimes not be salvaged. Though replacement windows are an investment, they are an investment often recuperated through energy efficiency savings and resale value. If the usefulness or safety of a window is in question and attempts to repair any damage have been unsuccessful, contact All Exteriors, LLC. We will provide the necessary resources for your window replacement, making the decision-making process that much easier.