5 Ways to Prevent Drafty Windows and Stop the Cold

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.

Window Caulking

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.

Storm Windows

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.

5 Things to Look For in a New Home in Minnesota

If you’re thinking about buying a new house in Minnesota this year, now is a perfect time. The housing market, which was so hot last year that homes were selling almost immediately and often over asking price, has slowed a little. At the end of 2017, Zillow noted that 7.3 percent of Minnesota homes for sale were listed at reduced asking prices. Prices and inventory have both fallen since summer, too, giving buyers a little more power now than when the market was at its peak.

But no matter how good the market is, don’t be so delighted by the current prices that you forget the tips for buying a new home. Here are five things to look for in a new home in Minnesota, to make sure that you’re getting as good of a deal as you hope.

Signs of deferred maintenance

Some essential things to look for when buying a new home are signs that a seller has been putting off important maintenance of their home. Look for signs that minor maintenance has been left undone, and check behind pictures and furniture to make sure the seller isn’t hiding anything.

Signs of foundational issues

Small cracks in the foundation are okay, but gaping cracks might spell trouble. Other signs of problems include water damage in the basement, sticking windows and doors, and window and door frames that are no longer level or square.

Signs of water damage or mold

Does the house smell earthy or musty when you walk in, or is there an overpowering fragrance that could be hiding something? Be sure to check floors, drywall, window frames, and other places for signs of water damage.

Poorly maintained exterior

Make sure you or your inspector takes a look at the roof and siding to find out what kind of condition they’re in. Damaged roofing shingles and siding can be replaced, but you’ll want to make sure they haven’t been leaking for a while and causing damage that can’t easily be fixed.

Outdated electrical circuits

Turn on the lights one by one, or turn on the appliances one by one, and make sure that adding more of a load to the system doesn’t cause the lights to dim. If they do, it may indicate that the wiring needs to be updated.

While it’s important to know what to look for when buying a new house, remember that no home is going to be perfect. Before you start your search decide how much work you’re willing to put into your new home. Repairs can always be done, but identifying potential problems will give you bargaining power. Once you’re ready to start remodeling, contact All Exteriors and we’ll replace your roof, siding, and help with any other repairs needed.

Feature image: Syda Productions/Shutterstock