In the Mid Atlantic, winters can be brutal. Lots of cold blowing air, snow, and ice. For homeowners, keeping that cold air outside during the snowy months can be a real challenge, especially homes with lots of windows.
The reason? In-efficient, damaged or aging windows account for a high percentage of heat loss in the home. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, inefficient windows can account for up to 30 percent of heat loss. Yikes!
The best solution: Window replacement. Replacing old or damaged windows can help to insulate the home and prevent a lot of this heat loss.
Beyond replacement, homeowners have numerous cost-effective options for winterizing windows. What are your best options? Try these five window winterization strategies to reduce drafts and prevent heat loss:
- Repair Cracks and Reseal Windows
Cracks and gaps around the window, whether from faulty joint seals, damaged frames, or cracked/missing glass are the No. 1 cause of window inefficiency. That’s why window maintenance is so necessary.
Do you suspect damage or damaged joints may be the sources of your heat loss?
If so, inspect all of your home’s windows inside and out. Specifically, look for damaged frames, cracked caulking, and cracked glass. All of these issues can typically be remedied quickly and affordable. Old, broken caulking can be removed, for example, and resealed. Unfortunately, for wood frames with significant rot damage, window replacement is typically the best option.
- Weather Stripping Your Windows
Weather stripping sounds like a technical term, but it’s relatively easy to understand. Essentially, weather stripping refers to placing strips of insulating material at the joints of the window.
There are tiny gaps at every joint in the window, including at the window channel and the bottom and top of sashes. Applying weather stripping to these joints helps to insulate and better seal these tiny gaps. This helps to prevent leaks and creates a more efficient barrier to keep that cold air out.
- Install Storm Windows
Storm windows act as a wind and cold air block for your home’s windows but don’t add insulation. They’re especially useful for homes with old single pane windows. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, storm windows can reduce heat loss by 25-50 percent.
Storm windows come in a range of types and styles. There are low-cost plastic sheets, for instance, that are designed to last a single season, but most are designed for permanent installation. Replacement windows, on the other hand, are costlier but do offer much greater insulation and long-term performance.
- Choose Winter Drapes
You might think drapes wouldn’t have a noticeable effect on reducing heat loss. But the truth is: They can help, and are especially useful for adding a barrier that helps keep warm air inside and those cold drafts out.
In particular, look for drapes that can sit carefully on the wall. For example, Roman shades work well, because when they’re down, they lie tightly to the wall. This creates an effective seal. Another option: Consider thermal drapes, which feature additional foam insulation. Thermal curtains are effective at reducing drafts and preventing heat loss.
- Window Films
You’ve likely seen those shrink-wrap window films that can be fitted around your windows. Those are a low-cost, albeit temporary, winterization solution. But window films are a bit different. Window films are sheets of plastic that are attached to individual panes. The benefit? Most feature Low-E coatings. This means they reflect radiant heat energy. In winter, this helps to reveal some of that interior heat into your home, away from the window, which helps to improve efficiency.
Looking to winterize your home’s windows? These five tips offer some energy-saving benefits for homeowners in the Mid Atlantic. Start by repairing seals and gaps, and then move to the insulation measures.
WeatherMaster Window offers custom replacement windows, window repair, and maintenance. For more information or to schedule an appointment, email us or call 1-866-427-9796